What is it?
This is the production version of Volkswagen's Beetle Dune concept, which was revealed at the Los Angeles motor show in November of last year. It's also the end of a story that began in 2000 with the unveiling of the original Beetle Dune concept.
It may have taken 16 years to reach production, but Volkswagen is hoping the Beetle Dune will tempt the same style-conscious buyers as the Beetle, while also appealing to those seeking the looks of an off-roader. To this end, the Beetle Dune features a ride height that has been raised up by 10mm compared to that of the standard Beetle, along with wider wheel arches, which increase its total width by 14mm, larger 18-inch alloy wheels and more prominent side sills.
There's also a new front bumper finished in silver, a new underbody guard and new LED light designs at the rear. And if that wasn't convincing enough, there are large 'Dune' stickers along each side. The interior will be familiar to current Beetle owners but includes bespoke instrument graphics and contrasting stitching on the seats and steering wheel.
When the Dune comes to the UK in late Spring, it'll be offered in both coupé and cabriolet forms and will come with a choice of 1.2, 1.4 and 2.0-litre petrol engines with power outputs ranging from 103bhp to 217bhp. There'll also be 109bhp 1.6-litre and 148bhp 2.0-litre diesels, all carried over from the current Beetle. A six-speed manual transmission will be standard, with DSG dual-clutch auomatics available as an optional.
This pre-production model, however, comes with a 168bhp 1.8-litre petrol engine, which will be offered in the US market, paired to a six-speed DSG transmission.