2014 Detroit Auto Show: Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept | Edmunds

2014 Detroit Auto Show: Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept (FAQ)

2014 Detroit Auto Show

What Is It?
Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept

What's New About This Model?
The Beetle Dune Concept is an all-new concept car based on the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line that shows the off-road direction Volkswagen could, but probably won't, take with the Beetle.

When Does It Go on Sale?
Never. Sorry.

Why Not?
The New Beetle was designed from the beginning to be a throwback to a time when Beetles weren't considered as cute and cuddly as they are today. In this regard, it's succeeded, as the new car has a cool stance and classic lines, but it still hasn't built up the type of enthusiast credibility that would convince Volkswagen that this niche product is a good idea. Still, it's incredibly cool.

How Much Does It Cost?
Quite a bit, as you'd have to buy it from Volkswagen's museum where it will likely end up.

What Kind of Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
- 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder, 210 horsepower, 184 lb-ft of torque
- Six-speed dual-clutch DSG automated manual
- Front-wheel drive

What Unique Features Does It Offer?
Compared with the Beetle R-Line on which it's based, the Dune Concept is 2.2 inches wider, half an inch longer and offers a full 2 inches more ground clearance. The Dune Concept also gets unique 19-inch wheels and tires with bigger sidewalls, a chrome-plated skidplate (to protect the bottom of the car from off-road damage), a new hood, LED foglights and a really cool built-in ski rack.

The interior is highlighted by a 7.7-inch Active Matrix Organic LED (AMOLED) HD display screen that may, in some way, make its way into a production car someday.

What The Heck Was a Baja Bug?
Like many quirky automotive fascinations, the Baja Bug originated in Southern California in the '60s car scene where dune buggies were, for some reason, popular. They were expensive, however, and Volkswagen Beetles were not. The Beetle was never made for off-road driving, but with a rear-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive and a reputation for being easy to fix, it wasn't long before people began hacking them to bits to make the Baja Bugs. They increased the ride height, added stiffer suspension and removed non-essential parts like bumpers and the engine cover.

It's one of the cool, quirky things people did with the original Beetle that helped make it the icon it is today.

What Models Will It Compete Against?
Subaru WRX: Though it's unlikely to hit production, the Beetle Dune Concept's biggest competitor would likely be the Subaru WRX and WRX STI. Both feature turbocharged powertrains and all-wheel drive, and are fast enough on dirt roads to be a hoot.

Volkswagen Golf R: Like the Subaru, the Golf R is all-wheel drive and turbocharged, but unlike these two, the Golf R's sportiness is limited to on-road endeavors.

Should You Wait for It?
Waiting for this one would be a waste of time. The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line is currently available with the same powertrain as the Dune Concept and, with some planning and a small bucket of money, could achieve the same goals. Or you could just buy a Beetle R-Line to drive every day and get a cheap original Baja Bug for the weekends.

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