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Beetle gets a scalping

Spyder bug: Dropping the roof height suits the curvy lines of the now 11-year-old New Beetle silhouette.

VW hints a production Ragster may come and reveals the 2006 Beetle facelift

2 Feb 2005

VOLKSWAGEN has tried to raise the youth (or is that Empty Nester?) appeal of its ageing New Beetle with a lowered roof/drop-top concept.

Dubbed Ragster and revealed at the Detroit motor show, it is a modern expression of a 1950s Porsche Speedster-like hot-rod design.

The existing New Beetle Convertible has had its A-pillars shortened by around 90mm, while a new U-shaped roof fixing has been incorporated into the car’s frame.

More importantly, it reveals what the Beetle facelift will look like, with new front guards, headlights, bumpers, tail-lights and alloy wheels, as well as a revised cabin featuring a new steering wheel, centre console and trim.

The Ragster Concept features a colour-coded leather 2+2 interior, bespoke instrumentation, fanciful 19-inch wheels and a chromed double exhaust. The overall car stands at 103mm lower than the standard article.

3 center image VW was hush on motivation, only saying that any number of petrol and diesel engines that can (presumably) fit within the 1997-2003 MK4 Golf platform are possible.

The Detroit show also marked the 11th anniversary of the original Concept 1 New Beetle debut, and seven years since the model produced at Pueblo, Mexico, came on stream.

Since then progress has been limited to only a wider variety of engines on offer and 2002’s soft top addition.

The word is that VW will not develop an all-new Beetle with the much more modern MK5 Golf underpinnings, and that the current car will live on beyond 2007 at least.

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