Volkswagen first explored the idea of a more rugged Beetle thirteen years ago when it introduced the New Beetle Dune Concept at the 2000 Los Angeles Auto Show. And now that the Wolfsburg-based automaker has launched the A5 Bettle, it has decided to revisit the idea of a more rugged variant by unveiling the 2014 Beetle Dune Concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
VW introduced the Dune alongside the MK7 Golf R in a striking shade of yellow-orange, which VW is referring to as “Arizona”.
Harkening back to the VW Bugs that drove on beaches and dunes in the past, the Beetle Dune concept serves as a potential variant “for a new production version of the sportiest Beetle ever”. The concept’s ground clearance was increased by two inches compared to the production-spec model, while larger fender flares, a more aggressive front fascia, as well as bigger and beefier tires round out the awesome-looking package. All in all the Dune is 2.2 inches wider, 0.5 inches longer and 0.8 inches taller than the standard Beetle. Designers also bolted a pair of skis to the roof (swappable for a sandboard in the summer) to demonstrate the Dune’s “go-anywhere intentions”.
Under all the ruggedized cladding, the Dune concept is essentially a Beetle R-Line. Delivering power to the front wheels is VW’s turbo-charged 2.0-liter TSI engine and ubiquitous six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. Surprisingly, VW released fuel economy figures for the Dune, uncommon protocol for a concept vehicle. VW says the Dune will return 23 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. Strut-type front and multilink rear suspension ensure the same lively driving characteristics of the Beetle, while the standard XDS electronic differential lock ensures adequate traction.
The 2014 Dune concept appears to be more production-ready than the 2000 Dune concept that came before it, which Volkswagen itself points out was not very realistic thanks to a removable roof and outlandish interior design. By comparison, the new Dune concept has a spot for a license plate and “is a lot more feasible”, according to the automaker. It will be interesting to see if this 21st century Baja bug ever sees production.