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VW Beetle Dune concept (2014) first official pictures

Mon, 13 Jan 2014 00:00:00 -0800

By Damion Smy

First Official Pictures

13 January 2014 18:31

Heard of sandboarding? The VW Beetle Dune has been revealed at the 2014 Detroit motor show in what VW says is a ‘concept with near-production car design’ (wink, wink) designed for those into this new sport.

The Dune was the name given to the rugged-looking version of the Polo, sold in the UK between 2004-2008, and this Beetle follows the same formula. It’s designed to at least look as if it can go where other Beetles can’t – off-roading, on mud, sand and snow – even of there’s not a great deal changed under its Arizona yellow body.

The Beetle Dune has been treated to the ‘all terrain’ look, according to the PR blurb. This spells laying on visual cues to say, ‘Hey, I’m ready to get dirty’ that include the mandatory wheel-arch cladding, ala VW Cross models such as the Cross Polo, currently not offered in the UK. Of course, how could a car go off-road without them? In the Dune’s case, there’s a mix of gloss and matt black extras, such as the retro door runners, with the cladding adding 48mm to its overall width.

Also part of the Dune’s out-of-towner look is a fresh set of bumpers and a new bonnet. The front apron’s been treated to brushed aluminium inserts, and shaper, more aggressive look with honeycomb mesh. Cast your eyes up over the Dune’s nose and beyond the bi-xenon headlights, and you’ll notice the black honeycomb bonnet vents and of course the black roof, which is finished with a gloss-black spoiler.

The Dune sits 50mm higher than Beetle regular, too, while it’s 12mm longer thanks to the ski-rack on the bootlid. The front and rear tracks are wider, too, with those 19in alloys, while the Dune logo reminds you that you’re in a car that harks back to Baja’s off-road spirit.

The standard Beetle cabin, which is design-centric in the first place to give the Beetle some retro charm, has been kitted out with sports seats covered in a special ‘Gobi’ material and leather combo, with yellow stitching. There’s a rubber floor under foot as well as a grab handle on the passenger side, replacing the ‘Beetle Box’, while aluminium accents, which see a Dune logo embossed as a ‘visual highlight’, give an impression strength. There’s a 7.7in high-res organic LED touchscreen in the centre, and while the instrument cluster remains analogue, the Arizona yellow hue on the show car’s outside has been laid on in place of the usual white dials.

No prizes for guessing that under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Making 207bhp, it’s the same engine on sale on the Beetle Sport, which has seen duty across the VW Group. Of course, being based on the Golf platform means that all-wheel drive is possible, as per the Golf R, but VW says the Dune is front-wheel drive. It does get the XDS electronic diff lock, though, helping it to a claimed 0-62mph time of 7.5sec, the same as the Beetle Sport, but with an extra 2mph for its top speed of 141mph.

The crossover segment is huge at the moment, and if you don’t have one, you’re not in the sales race. VW has its Tiguan, and the Cross range as well, but the Beetle Dune appeals to that increasingly popular adventurous ideal, a trend that is growing in China (where else). This widens the Beetle’s market, and, with the VW Group’s MQB platform underneath, the Dune could be made on the same production line as any other Beetle easily. Yet the change from Beetle regular to Beetle Dune is so meager, it seems that the car is a done-deal to join the range later in 2014 at, if VW’s previous Cross range pricing is anything to go by, a premium over the equivalent Beetle.

By Damion Smy