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Frankfurt show: Beetle R set to go

Less flower, more power: The Beetle R is expected to be powered by the same 2.0-litre turbo as the Golf R.

Volkswagen presents hot turbo-powered Beetle in concept form

14 Sep 2011

THERE is no shortage of R badges going around the Volkswagen product development department these days and at the Frankfurt show the German car-maker introduced another in the form of a chrome-laden Beetle R in concept form.

Although Volkswagen did not reveal the exact technical specifications for the Beetle R, it did suggest it would run a similar turbocharged 2.0-litre engine to that in the $48,490 Golf R – which produces 188kW of power and 330Nm of torque in Australia.

This engine is also fitted to the Scirocco R, which will be launched in Australia in November priced from $47,500.

At Frankfurt, Volkswagen said “the letter R as an added identifier promises top-notch performance” and that the Beetle R Concept was the third variation of this sporty theme and, like the Golf R and Scirocco R, was created at its subsidiary Volkswagen R GmbH near Wolfsburg.

Without revealing performance figures because the Beetle R Concept is officially still only a design study, the company said the hot Beetle “could demonstrate a performance potential” similar to its Golf and Scirocco siblings, which means 0-100km/h acceleration of less than 6.0 seconds.

Volkswagen conceded that the show car is close to production ready, saying it provides “a glimpse of what a production version might look like” with its customised front and rear ends.

3 center imageLeft: Beetle R sketches. Below: Beetle Fender.

Based on the 2012 model and sitting on big chrome 20-inch “Talladega” alloy wheels with– the same style as those fitted to the Golf R (18-inch) and Scirocco R (19-inch) – the Beetle R Concept featured more bling to match its highly polished “Serious Grey” paintwork.

Visible through the five triple-spokes of each wheel are blue R design brake calipers that grab large ventilated discs at the front and solid rotors at the back.

High-gloss black paint and chrome feature throughout, including the roof, side sills, bootlid, door mirror housings and door handles.

Both the front and rear bumpers have been widened 30mm and the front unit contains three air intakes – one for the engine and two feeding the brakes – styled in contrasting high-gloss black paint.

A flat racing-style ‘splitter’ painted black with a chrome strip aids the flow of air into the engine, which is further aided by vents cut into both the left and right sides of the bonnet.

At the rear is a large boot-mounted ducktail-style spoiler with a black trailing edge and a diffuser integrated into the widened bumper, which also sports air exhaust vents.

The rear fenders have also been widened 15mm each side to cover the wider wheelsThe exhaust system exits with two sets of dual chrome tailpipes that VW promises is a “visual and acoustic highlight”.

Inside, the R treatment includes racing-style front shell seats with what are referred to as ‘Ergopads’ made of grey nubuck leather. The seats themselves are upholstered in black Nappa leather with blue seams and piping.

The blue theme continues with the fabric floor mats while the exterior high-gloss black extends to the dashboard accents and decorative elements around the gear shift grip.

R-specific instrumentation includes a tachometer in the middle of the central cluster, with the modified auxiliary instruments laid out above the centre console.

Another new Beetle concept on display at the Frankfurt show paid tribute to the famous American guitar company Fender, which also produces sound systems.

Although the Frankfurt car is a one-off, Volkswagen said the Beetle is the first car in Europe that can be ordered with a Fender sound system.

Painted black with red highlights and featuring chrome and aluminium throughout, the design of the Beetle Fender was apparently influenced by a Fender Telecaster electric guitar.

Sitting 30mm lower than a standard Beetle and riding on predominantly red 19-inch alloy wheels, the Beetle Fender also features a guitar pick decal on the bonnet and the original Fender signature (in chrome) located beneath the VW badge on the bootlid.

Interior features linking the car to Fender include a dash panel finished in “Starburst”, a two-tone wood design popular on electric guitars, amplifier-style control knobs and an auxiliary tube amplifier at the top of the dashboard that enables a guitar to be plugged in and played through the car’s boot-mounted subwoofer.

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