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Volkswagen Beetle R Concept Makes its North American Debut at the LA Auto Show - Web Exclusive

Design study shows the potential for an even sportier version of the Beetle

Les Bidrawn
Nov 28, 2011 SHARE
Epcp 1111 01 o+volkswagen beetle r concept north american debut+passenger side front view Photo 1/5   |   Volkswagen Beetle R Concept Makes its North American Debut at the LA Auto Show - Web Exclusive

Los Angeles - At the Frankfurt Auto Show, Volkswagen showed the dynamic Beetle R concept which, like the Golf R and Scirocco R, was created at Volkswagen subsidiary Volkswagen R GmbH, located near Wolfsburg, Germany. Just two months later, the super sporty Beetle is making its North American debut at the LA Auto Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center. At Volkswagen, the letter "R" stands for top-notch performance, a claim validated by the Golf R that goes on sale in January in the U.S.

The Beetle R Concept is still a design study. Those who are familiar with the Beetle Turbo (200 hp) know that the car could offer even more performance, similar to that of the Golf R and Scirocco R.

A Beetle with more juice

Visually, the Beetle R Concept, painted in "Serious Grey Metallic", offers a glimpse of what a production version might look like. The concept is equipped with striking and unique 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels-the same design used on the Golf R and Scirocco R, although those cars wear 18- and 19-inch rims. R-design blue brake calipers are easy to spot through the Beetle's wheels, which feature five triple spokes.

Epcp 1111 04 o+volkswagen beetle r concept north american debut+interior Photo 4/5   |   Volkswagen Beetle R Concept Makes its North American Debut at the LA Auto Show - Web Exclusive

The designers completely reworked the front and rear bumpers, which are widened by 1.2 inches. In front, the bumper essentially consists of three air intakes, which are highlighted in contrasting "Black High Gloss." The middle intake supplies the engine with air, while the outer two cool the brakes. The front spoiler, also painted in "Black High Gloss", is designed as a flat splitter (with a chrome strip), just like those used in motorsports. To maintain optimal engine temperatures, even under extreme conditions, vents are found on the right and left sides of the hood.

The rear bumper also has air exhaust vents that are integrated aerodynamically with a diffuser in the lower bumper area. Together with the rear spoiler-which is significantly larger than the Turbo's-the diffuser helps create optimal downforce at the rear. A visual and acoustic highlight is the exhaust system with its two sets of dual chrome tailpipes.

Epcp 1111 02 o+volkswagen beetle r concept north american debut+driver side rear quarter view Photo 3/5   |   Volkswagen Beetle R Concept Makes its North American Debut at the LA Auto Show - Web Exclusive

On each side, the bumpers transition into free-standing fenders that are also widened by 0.6 inches per side. The side sills are styled in "Black High Gloss"; a high-end chrome trim strip is incorporated here. Also painted in "Black High Gloss" are the roof, the upper part of the trunklid connecting to it, the door mirror housings, and the door handles.

Super sporty interior

As is usual on R models, the interior also makes an immediate impression. In the front, the driver and passenger sit in motorsport bucket seats that have inserts made of gray nubuck leather. The rest of the seats are upholstered in black Nappa leather. The R logo is embossed on the seats and the seat seams and piping are in "Space Blue".

Epcp 1111 04 o+volkswagen beetle r concept north american debut+interior Photo 4/5   |   Volkswagen Beetle R Concept Makes its North American Debut at the LA Auto Show - Web Exclusive

The"Black High Gloss" that was already used on the exterior is also found in the interior as well, used as a contrasting color for things such as the dashboard accents and decorative elements on the steering wheel. The interior designers also styled the instruments to be R-specific. The instrument cluster, with its central tach (like a sports car's), and the auxiliary instruments in a pod above the center console both feature different markings and blue pointers. The door sill plates are upgraded with the R logo. Meanwhile, brushed aluminum is used for all pedal caps. The fabric floor mats have blue-black double borders to match the blue-piped upholstery.

Epcp 1111 03 o+volkswagen beetle r concept north american debut+driver side profile Photo 5/5   |   Volkswagen Beetle R Concept Makes its North American Debut at the LA Auto Show - Web Exclusive
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By Les Bidrawn
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