Volkswagen dove right into this year’s New York Auto Show with the Beetle Convertible Wave and three other concepts and a look at the all-wheel drive future of the Golf.
The German maker knows its customer base and listened when introduced the Golf SportWagen and it’s taking heed again with the new Alltrack version, which will hit showrooms next year as a 2017 model.
“We have heard from dealers and customers that they want to see a Golf SportWagen with the all-terrain capability that comes from all-wheel drive,” said Michael Horn, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “We are delighted to introduce the SportWagen Alltrack in 2016 in the U.S.”
The new Alltrack gets VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system, an inch more ground clearance, wheelarch moldings, new bumpers and a higher-end interior. The all-wheel drive system uses the latest generation Haldex-5 coupling, activated via an electro-hydraulic oil pump. In normal driving, the Alltrack acts like a front-wheel-drive car for better fuel economy, but as soon as the system detects wheel slip, up to 50% of the drive torque can be shipped to the rear wheels.
In addition to the Haldex coupling that acts longitudinally, electronic differential locks (EDL) at the front and rear axles act laterally in concert with the electronic stability control system. The system briefly brakes a wheel that is slipping, enabling uninterrupted and stable transfer of drive power to the wheel on the opposite side, VW notes.
While the Alltrack is the practical side of the display in New York this year, the Beetles are the fun side.
The Wave is an attention-getter with a Habenero Orange Metallic exterior accented with bright Tornado 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels and chromed mirrors. On the interior, a driver will find a mix of old and new with houndstooth seat inserts reminiscent of the ‘50s and ‘60s and a wood dashpad that looks like a surfboard matched with the modern technology that drivers expect.
VW says that while the Wave is a concept, it points out the Dune, which is comine to showrooms early next year, was also “just a concept” at the North American International Auto show last year. The Dune shows if consumers like something, VW will move quickly to ensure they can get it.
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In fact, any of the Beetle concepts are candidates to move into production if the public clamors for them. Additionally, there is the Beetle Pink Color Edition, painted entirely in Pink Metallic; the Beetle Convertible Denim concept car takes a cool approach to design with a denim-look soft top and a matching Stonewashed Blue Metallic body color; and the Beetle R-Line concept giving performance aficionados a Beetle of their own to gawk at during the show.
The Pink Color Edition is actually an ongoing test. VW officials claim there is a growing demand for pink Beetles in the U.S. as well as China. If the pink metallic Beetle draws enough rave reviews, it could be built as a coupe or a convertible.
For the concept car, the door mirror housings and side body moldings are painted in contrasting gray. The design of the Beetle Pink Color Edition also gets some drama from its striking R-Line front and rear bumper designs, VW said.
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The Convertible Denim is probably the least likely to find its way to dealer showrooms, but it’s an interesting study in blue jeans. And it’s not entirely impossible as the automaker did feature a “Jeans Bug” in the mid-1970s, which was followed by several iterations afterward.
Stonewashed Blue Metallic paint was developed specifically for the concept car, but nine other colors would also be available for a production version with exterior mirror caps, side skirts and body moldings finished in gray and 18-inch Disc aluminum-alloy wheels.
Naturally, the use of denim extends to the interior as well with sport seats in blue; the inner seating surfaces are upholstered in a light blue fabric, while the outer surfaces are designed in dark blue V-tex leatherette. The piping was executed in white and the usual small Beetle flags in red. The designers also integrated practical denim-look pockets on the backs and sides of the seats, the maker explained.
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However, if you’re looking for a Beetle to get the heart racing, it’s the R-Line with its 217-hp 2.0-liter TSI engine, which is nearly 40 hp more than the standard powerplant.
The Beetle R-Line concept is finished in Oryx White Pearl effect paint and has a customized exterior featuring aggressive bumpers that have large air vents at the front and wrap-around high-gloss black moldings that extend down the sides of the car. Other visual changes include a rear diffuser, painted black exterior mirror caps, a large rear spoiler and 20-inch Monterey aluminum-alloy wheels. The Beetle R-Line concept is 0.6 inches wider than the standard production car.