It’s a long time coming considering that the first Beetle Dune concept debuted in Los Angeles in 2000, but Volkswagen will finally build a production off-road Volkswagen Beetle. Based on the Beetle Dune concept that bowed at the Detroit auto show earlier this year, the new Beetle Dune will arrive in 2016.
Volkswagen broke the news in a video in which the Beetle Dune concept gallivants around the island of Sylt in northern Germany. It is ostensibly identical in looks to the concept we saw in the Detroit, with higher and wider dimensions, 19-inch wheels, LED foglights, chrome-plated side skirts, a revised front fascia, and a rear spoiler that doubles as a ski rack. The concept had a 2 inches more ground clearance than the standard Volkswagen Beetle R-Line on which it was based, as well as a 2.2-inch wider body and 1.1-inch wider track in the front and rear. In a surprising development, there will also be a convertible variant of the Beetle Dune offered in addition to the hatchback seen here.
The goal is to bring the spirit of outdoors and off-roading to the Volkswagen Beetle, and the automaker is confident that “This car puts a smile on your face…just as the legendary Buggies did.”
Powertrain details for the Volkswagen Beetle Dune are still shrouded in mystery, although the concept had the standard Beetle R-Line’s 210-hp turbo-four and front-wheel drive. We’d love to see a little more power and a proper all-wheel-drive system so the Beetle Dune can be an off-roader in something other than just name.
Expect more details on the Volkswagen Beetle Dune to emerge over the coming years.