The Beetle Dune Concept has just made its debut in Detroit, and it’s not quite what we expected.
When the Beetle Dune was announced, it seemed like VW was trying to recreate a little of the magic you got from converted dune-blasted Baja Bugs in the ’70s. Those were cool, but what VW has come up with in Detroit is even better; the Beetle Dune is something you might actually want to own.
Like we explained in the teaser release, the Dune has been raised by two inches, comes with widened wheel housings, and bigger, 19-inch wheels. This hardly makes for a world beating off-roader, but it gives the little Beetle a lot more presence. Who would have thought that this friendly classic could look so aggressive?
Around back, VW has fitted a trick spoiler that is actually a ski-rack. The outer portions of the spoiler swivel outward to make room for your skis, which are then belted in place. VW says this is function following form, but my question is why does something called the Dune have a place for skis? Well, as VW has helpfully pointed out, this rack also holds sandboards. Unfortunately for me, I am neither cool – nor EXTREME enough – to really know what sanboarding is.
However, the Beetle Dune isn’t all extreme lifestyle gimmicks. Underneath, it’s got the engine and running gear from the Beetle R-Line, and that’s a very good thing. The 210 horsepower turbocharged TSI four-cylinder provides a lot of zip, and the short wheelbase makes for very nippy handling and quick direction changes.
In the end though, the Beetle Dune is a lifestyle car. As such it’s not really about practicality, it is about how it makes you feel. In that sense, all of the little changes to appearance and the addition of a ski-rack, even if it is never used, make this car interesting.
That’s the point of a lifestyle car, if you own one you may not be getting the most practical vehicle money can buy, but you have the pleasure of knowing you own something a bit special. If the Beetle Dune does go into production, that will be why.