The new Volkswagen Beetle Dune concept, of which a concept drawing was released a few days ago, has made its official debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
Based on the latest version of the iconic Volkswagen, the Beetle Dune adds a somewhat rugged off-road look, thanks to a body that has been raised by 50mm compared with a standard Beetle, and 19-inch wheels with large tyres.
The Beetle Dune concept revisits an idea from January 2000, when Volkswagen showed the New Beetle Dune concept in Los Angeles. But while that vehicle was far from a production possibility, the Beetle Dune is very much based on the current production model, using the same turbocharged petrol engine and six-speed DSG gearbox, providing power to the front wheels.
Under its shining ‘Arizona’ paint – a yellow-orange metallic – the Dune has two-part wheelarch extensions. A ‘blade’ of 1.5 mm-wide plastic separates the main matt black wheelarch extensions from the body. The matt wheelarch housings widen the body by 24mm each side, for a total width of 1856 mm, while the front and rear cladding lengthens the car overall by 12mm to 4290 mm.
To fit with the increased body width, the Beetle Dune’s track has also been increased by 29 mm, to 1607 mm at the front and 1573 mm at the rear. The five-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels wear 255/45 tyres.
Visually, the front and rear wheelarch extensions are joined by a brushed aluminium sill panel that runs between them, into which a chrome-plated underbody protection panel fits.
At the front, the bumper has been comprehensively redesigned to incorporate a large black honeycomb air intake, with trapezoidal inserts either side. In these inserts sit semi-circular LED fog lights, and above these is a slender horizontal LED turn indicator. The Dune’s bonnet, meanwhile, has been made more bulbous, with a raised central section and prominent air vents on either side.
At the rear, above the modified bumper, sits a large rear spoiler, which, together with another roof-mounted spoiler, serves a dual purpose as a ski rack.
The interior of the car is largely familiar from the production Beetle, but with the characteristic dash-mounted glovebox this time replaced with a passenger grab handle. The centre of the dash is dominated by a large high-resolution 7.7-inch touchscreen display.
Although a concept at this stage, Volkswagen is apparently keen to gauge reaction to the car from the public and media at the NAIAS. Will it hit production soon?