Baja Bug revived: Volkswagen’s Beetle Dune confirmed for production – Updated

Baja Bug fans, rejoice! Volkswagen has quietly confirmed the Beetle Dune concept that was presented earlier this year at the Detroit Motor Show has been given the proverbial green light for production.

The Beetle Dune is based on the regular-production Beetle R-Line but it immediately stands out with a rugged body kit consisting of plastic cladding on the wheel arches and on the rocker panels as well as brushed aluminum trim on both bumper. All told, the Dune’s overall look is noticeably inspired by Audi’s allroad station wagons.

The interior is mostly standard Beetle fare save for model-specific seats and minor bits and pieces like a large grab handle mounted on the passenger side of the dashboard that pays homage to the original rear-engined Beetle. The seats might not make it to production but the retro-inspired handle will almost certainly be carried over from the concept.

Fully functional, the show car packs the Beetle’s range-topping 210-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The Beetle Dune will likely also be offered with the entry-level 170-horsepower 1.8-liter turbo four, but don’t expect the 21st century Baja Bug to be available with the Beetle’s TDI oil-burner.

Although the Beetle Dune remains front-wheel drive, its off-road chops increase slightly thanks to all-season tires and a suspension setup that has been jacked up by approximately two inches. Beefy skid plates that protect the underbody allow the car to go off the beaten path with confidence.

Volkswagen has announced the Beetle Dune will reach showrooms in 2016, meaning it will likely be unveiled at a major auto show next year. Interestingly, both the standard Beetle coupe and the Beetle Cabriolet will be eligible for the Dune look.

UPDATE: We added official details about the production-bound Dune.