New Beetle will be the latest model to get a performance makeover from VW's R division
3 May 2011

Volkswagen is already planning to give its new Volkswagen Beetle — unveiled last week in Shanghai, New York and Berlin — an ‘R’ brand performance makeover.

With the second-generation ‘New Beetle’, VW is determined to rid the car of its feminine image. Company insiders think that making a proper performance version of the car would be the perfect way to do that. They also believe the new car already has the makings of an attractive fast coupé.

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Lower and wider than the car it replaces, the new Beetle also has a more hot hatch-like driving position. It has been engineered with what VW describes as “near class-leading structural rigidity” of 26,000Nm per degree, which should provide a solid basis for particularly precise handling.

A 2.0-litre turbo Sport version of the car has already been announced as part of the launch model line-up, producing 197bhp. But the R version should take the Beetle’s performance to another level.

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“It’s too early to discuss specifics at the moment,” a source advised, “but you could reasonably expect power and performance comparable with that of other R models like the Scirocco and Golf.”

That would mean more than 250bhp and, with a DSG gearbox, the potential for covering 0-62mph in less than 6.0sec.

Matt Saunders

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