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The Volkswagen Beetle Goes Dune Buggy

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On: Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 4:26PM | By: Chris Weiss

The Volkswagen Beetle Goes Dune Buggy

The Volkswagen Beetle has a long, illustrious history in the dune buggy world, having served as the inspiration and mechanical base for some of the original and most important sand buggies of all time. The Meyers Manx, which recently became just the second vehicle on the National Historic Vehicle Register, was based on Beetle components. Volkswagen pays homage to this history with the 2014 Beetle Dune concept.

Volkswagen revealed the Beetle Dune at the Detroit auto show back in January. It recently took the model out on the streets of Sylt, Germany, and hints at a possible production version, saying, "While it remains a concept car, everything about it is feasible—it is practically a production vehicle." That's about as clear a hint as an automaker can give without saying, "It'll be in dealerships in a month."

Volkswagen says the concept is built for fun on any terrain, but we think drivers might want to be a little more selective than that—it ain't exactly a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon X. It does offer a 50-mm lift over the production Beetle, underbody protection, and 19-inch wheels in the centers of all-terrain tires. Under its bright "Arizona" orange paint job, it's based on the uprated Beetle R-Line spec with 210-hp TSI turbo four-cylinder. It has a six-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission and rides on strut-type front suspension and multi-link rear suspension.

The Dune enjoys some modifications over the stock R-Line, including a body that's widened by black wheel arch extensions underpinned by stretched tracks, a new vented hood, a new front apron, and aluminum components and trim.

The most noticeable change on the concept is its rear ski/snowboard rack. Such a rack might seem out of place on a concept car built for the sand, but Volkswagen imagines it finding use not only for snow skiing but also sandboarding. The slickly integrated rack relies on the trunklid and roof spoilers, rather than a separate tailgate or hitch system. The rear spoiler swivels out and clamps around the skis or boards, which are also secured by a belt in the roof spoiler. The trunk can still be opened freely with skis in place.

Whether or not the Dune becomes an actual model, it's a fun, historically rooted concept car.

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