Volkswagen plans to debut its off-road Dune concept at the upcoming North American International Auto Show.
Beetle Dune Concept. Photo:AFP
Although a show car, VW claims that the finished concept will demonstrate how much potential there is to take this theoretical vehicle and make it a rugged reality.
Standing two inches further off the ground than the standard car and with bigger wheels and bigger tires, it should make light work of negotiating snow in the winter and sand in the summer. It will even be on display with skis mounted to its roof. VW is quick to point out that they can be swapped for a sandboard or surfboard in the summer.
The concept car shares its running gear and other components with the R-Line Beetle -- so a 210 horsepower, turbocharged engine mated to a dual-clutch paddle-change gearbox. Meanwhile a special electronic differential takes care of potential traction problems.
Thanks to its rear-mounted air-cooled engine and rear-wheel drive, plus the fact that the car's wings were simply bolted on, the original Beetle was a great car for customization. Many that landed in the US were quickly converted into beach buggies. All that was needed was a spanner and some oversized wheels and the car was good to go.
The look became so popular that companies sprang up selling fiberglass kits. Simply strip the car down to a running chassis, fix the new fiberglass, open-top body to it and then drive towards the sea.
The new concept won't be the first time that VW has attempted to create an in-house dune buggy Beetle. In 2000 at the LA Auto Show it also revealed a Dune concept, but the company promises that its latest take on the idea is much more realistic and possible from a production standpoint.