Volkswagen Beetle Dune concept surfs into Detroit
Last week, Volkswagen released a sketch of its 2014 Beetle Dune concept, which it promised to show "in the flesh" at the North American International Auto Show. Well, that event is now in progress, and we did indeed spot the car on the tradeshow floor in Detroit. Here are some more details on VW's one-off dune buggy version of the Beetle.
The "Arizona"-colored front wheel drive Dune is based on the existing Beetle R-Line, featuring that model's 210-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder TSI engine, six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission, XDS electronic differential lock, strut-type front and multilink rear suspension. It's half an inch (12 mm) longer, however, with custom wheel housings increasing its girth by a total of 2.2 inches (5.6 cm). Its body is also almost an inch taller, plus that body has been raised by 2 inches (5 cm).
It additionally features 19-inch spoked aluminum wheels, a chrome-plated underbody skidplate, and side trim strips that are described as being "reminiscent of the original Beetle’s running boards." The custom hood has a raised center section flanked by air vents, beneath which is a central air intake and ring-shaped LED fog lights/turn indicators.
In the rear, skis can be carried on the trunk lid by swiveling the outer portions of the spoiler out of the way, placing the skis beneath those portions, then swiveling them back to hold the skis in place. The tops of the skis are slid through a receptacle in the roof spoiler, and secured with a built-in belt. The trunk can still be opened with the skis on it.
Some of the highlights of the interior include a panoramic tilt/slide sunroof, black leather and Gobi sport fabric upholstery, aluminum dash accents, and a high-resolution 7.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen, which serves as the interface for the infotainment system.
Although there has been no announcement regarding possible production of the Dune, as noted in our previous article, it is described as looking "production ready."
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VWs made good dune buggies because the motor was in the back over the drive wheels - like a dune buggy - where the weight transfer rearwards helped adhesion with large tyres.
This wouldn't be cheap, wouldn't be lightweight, has a unibody design, a liquid cooled fuel injected engine, front wheel drive and a front engine. IOW, nothing in common except that little VW logo.
A triumph of marketing over engineering.