Volkswagen may bring Beetle R to the US

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Volkswagen Beetle R

Volkswagen recently showed off the Beetle R concept, a sportier version of the already sporty 2012 Beetle. Photo Credit: Matti Blume/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

Part of Volkswagen’s showcase at the Los Angeles Auto Show has been the redesigned Volkswagen Beetle, which has been updated with sportier new looks. Volkswagen also showed off a high-performance R variant that may be in production soon.

Sporty new Beetle gets even sportier

Earlier this year, Volkswagen unveiled an updated version of the Beetle that was clearly aimed at challenging the popular notion of the Beetle as a “girl’s car.” The new Beetle is longer, lower, less globular and with its rear spoiler and strongly echoes both the original Beetle and the Porsche 911.

The 2012 Beetle, according to Volkswagen’s website, already has two available engine options, the sportier of which is the 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder also found in the GTI, producing about 200 horsepower. However, according to AutoBlog, Volkswagen is likely to bring an even sportier version of the Beetle to America sometime in the near future called the Beetle R, in line with the “R” variant of the Golf.

Beetle that brings the beef

The Beetle R, just like the Golf R, will have the race-tuned Volkswagen 2.0-liter T engine. The Golf R and the Scirocco R, which isn’t sold in the United States, both produce about 265 horsepower, according to AutoCar. The Beetle R concept that was at the Los Angeles Auto Show also has race seats and a bigger bumper that includes air intake vents for cooling the engine and the brakes.

It isn’t known whether the Beetle R will get Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system that comes in the Golf R, according to MotorTrend. If it doesn’t, it should be front-wheel-drive like the rest of the Beetle line.

Stiff competition

According to AutoCar, the last Beetle R was a convertible that was sold in Europe only and there were not many takers.

According to a review of the 2012 Beetle in the Boston Herald, the interior is fairly cramped with more than two adults, and there is not a lot of storage space. The new Beetle, according to Volkswagen, has 85.1 cubic feet of passenger space and 15.4 cubic feet of storage space, which can be expanded to 29.9 cubic feet when the rear seat is folded. The two-door Golf R has slightly less storage space but has 93.5 cubic feet of interior space and more legroom in front and back.

Assuming the Beetle R costs between the $23,395 2012 Beetle Turbo and the $33,990 two-door Golf R, other cars will give it a serious run for its money. At $27,695, the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart offers four-wheel-drive, comparable power, more interior room and four doors, as does the $25,595 base model Subaru Impreza WRX.

There are also upcoming domestic hot hatches, such as the Focus ST which, according to Motor Trend, will pack similar horsepower and, according to Ford’s website, have more interior room.



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