Few cars have ever been more popular – or lent themselves more to tinkering than the original Volkswagen Beetle. And a half century ago, a popular pastime was converting the Bug into a dune buggy.
At the Detroit Motor Show, earlier this year, VW showed off what a modern sand-crawler might look like in the form of the Beetle Dune Concept which, the maker hinted, was “is a potential version of the design icon.”
That potential is about to turn into reality, it seems, VW confirming that it plans to build a version of the Beetle Dune, with a European launch scheduled for sometime in early 2016. What’s unclear is whether a U.S. version will follow, something that would seem a natural for the concept.
At the time of the concept car’s unveiling, VW declared, “Its name, raised ground clearance, and all-terrain look hark back to the VW Bugs that conquered beaches and dunes in times past. In the summer, simply swap the skis for a sandboard.”
(VW shows off its Extreme GTI Concept Gran Turismo. Click Here to check it out.)
A report from Britain’s Car magazine suggests the production model will get an extra two inches of ground clearance, as well as a 1.1-inch wider track from the production car, and likely will share some of the visual changes, such as the wider fenders.
In show car form, the Dune was powered by a 210-horsepower turbocharged TSI engine paired with a 6-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission borrowed from the Beetle R-edition, torque directed to the front wheels, though an XDS electronic locking differential would help improve traction on either sand or snow.
(Click Here to check out TDB’s review of the new VW Golf and GTI.)
According to a promotional video, it appears that there will be no AWD version of the Beetle Dune – though a convertible also is in the works, apparently minus the roof rack.
VW officials aren’t formally discussing plans for the Beetle Dune, especially anything related to the American market. But according to the Car magazine report, the European version will carry a 2,800 Euro – or $3,800 – premium over the comparable standard-issue Bug.
Tags: 2014 naias, auto news, beetle dune, beetle dune buggy, car news, dune buggy, dune concept, paul a. eisenstein, paul eisenstein, thedetroitbureau, volkswagen beetle dune, vw detroit auto show, vw dune, vw dune buggy, vw news