Volkswagen toughens up Beetle with new Dune concept

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The German marque has decided the shake-up the 'cutesie' stigma that is often attached to its Beetle model by creating a macho, off-road concept for display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week.
> The Beetle Dune is based on the current version of the iconic Volkswagen but adds chunky 19-inch wheels with knobbly off-road tyres, a rear-mounted ski rack and a ride height that has been raised by 50mm to allow for the odd foray off the beaten path.

We are as confused as you regarding the thought-process that sees a ski rack bolted on to a vehicle named after a ridge of loose sediment but Volkswagen says: "A rear-mounted ski-rack is reminiscent of those fitted to classic Beetles, and makes a perfect accessory for the season.

"In the summer, it could hold a sandboard – the ideal accessory for surfing the sand dunes from which the Beetle Dune takes its name."

Volkswagen attempted a similar concept back in 2000 when it unveiled a Beach Dune model at the Los Angeles motor show but this version is said to be much closer to a production version.

Volkswagen says: "The Beetle Dune is very much based on the current production model, using the same 204bhp turbocharged petrol engine and six-speed DSG gearbox, providing power to the front wheels."

Early indications suggest that the German marque is serious about creating a 'soft-roader' version of the Beetle to compete with the likes of the Nissan Juke, Ford Kuga and Suzuki SX4 but we will have to wait for more news following its unveiling next week.