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VW's Dune Bug hatches in Detroit

2014-01-14 10:50

FROM BEETLE TO DUNE BUG: Volkswagen will gauge the reception of its VW Beetle Dune concept at the 2014 Detroit auto show. If crowds warm to it, we could see the new model headed for production. Image: VOLKSWAGEN

DETROIT, Michigan - Volkswagen's Beetle Dune concept made its debut at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Wheels24 prefers 'Dune Bug' - but then that's VW's problem....

Anyway, this the latest version of the iconic Beetle has a rugged off-road style and is as practical off the beaten track as it is on the highway - the body has been raised by 50mm.

IMAGE GALLERY: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle Dune concept
IMAGE GALLERY: 2014 Detroit show

A rear-mounted ski-rack like those fitted to classic Beetles comes with the package; it could also carry sand skis for when the car goes back to its roots.

BEETLE SOFT-ROADER

The car revisits an idea from 2000 when VW first revealed its New Beetle Dune concept in Los Angeles, California.

The new Dune is based on the current  model and uses the same 152kW turbocharged petrol engine to drive a six-speed DSG that sends power to the front wheels.

The Dune has two-part wheel-arch extensions: a 1.5mm-wide plastic blade separates the primary black extensions from the body to widen the body by 24mm to 1.8m  while the front and rear cladding lengthens the vehicle by 12mm to 4.2m. 

To complement the greater width the Dune’s track has been increased by 29mm to 1.6m at the front and 1.5m at the rear. It sports spoked 19" alloy rims with 255/45 tyres.

NEW DESIGN

The front bumper has been comprehensively redesigned to incorporate a large, black, honeycomb air intake with trapezoidal inserts which house circular LEDs. The Dune’s bonnet is more bulbous, with a raised central section and prominent air vents.

The rear bumper has been modified and the spoiler that doubles as a ski rack.

The interior is largely untouched save for the replacement of the characteristic glove box by a passenger grab handle (it can get tough in the dunes). The facia's centre is dominated by a high-resolution 20cm touchscreen.

VW will  gauge public and media reaction at the 2014 Detroit auto show to help decide about production.
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