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Detroit show: VW takes to the beach with Beetle Dune

Dune buggy: Volkswagen says its 2014 Beetle Dune concept features a much more functional and realistic interior than its 2000 LA show concept.

Volkswagen to reveal near production ready Beetle Dune beach-basher at Detroit

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Volkswagen logo10 Jan 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

UPDATED WITH PICTURES: 14/01/2014VOLKSWAGEN is taking its iconic Beetle off road and onto the beach with the Dune concept, set to debut at the Detroit motor show next week.

The German car-maker said in a statement that the Dune is a “potential Cross version” of the Beetle, suggesting a jacked-up crossover variant could make it to production, depending on the response to the concept from show-goers.

Harking back to the days when Volkswagen beach buggies could be found on beaches the world over, the Dune has been designed with younger, active buyers in mind and the company says even though it is a concept, everything about the vehicle suggests that it is “practically a production vehicle”.

The ride-height of the Dune is jacked up by 50mm over the production Beetle, and it features 19-inch tyres, metal scuff plates, Dune badging as well as more rugged, off-road styling than the vehicle it is based on.

Pushing the adventurous lifestyle angle even further, Volkswagen has strapped a set of skis to the rear of the vehicle, showing that the Beetle Dune is not just aimed at sun-lovers. This makes sense given it will be unveiled in Detroit which is currently experiencing below-freezing temperatures.

The powertrain is also production-ready, with VW fitting the Dune with the turbocharged 155kW/280Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine from the previous generation Golf GTI, matched with a six-speed dual-clutch (DSG) transmission.

The Dune maintains the front-wheel drive layout of the Beetle, but it features multi-link rear suspension and an electronic ‘XDS’ differential lock as standard.

This is not the first time Volkswagen has attempted a crossover version of the Beetle. Back in 2000, the German brand revealed a similar concept based on the New Beetle at the Los Angeles motor show, however that vehicle was very much a concept only and never made it to production.

The sketch of the new concept’s interior reveals a cabin design taken straight from the production Beetle, with yellow panels and highlights and the current Beetle’s centre stack touchscreen.

A number models in Volkswagen’s line-up have already been given the Cross treatment, including the CrossUp, CrossPolo and CrossGolf, none of which are available in Australia, as well as the Central and South American-only sub-compact CrossFox.

VW unveiled its diesel-electric hybrid CrossBlue mid-size SUV concept at last year’s Detroit show. This is all but a lock for production and will slot into the car-maker’s line-up between the compact Tiguan and larger Touareg when it eventually arrives in 2016.

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