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Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept Explores Idea of Lifestyle Crossover SUV

By: Jeff Youngs, 1/17/2014
Volkswagen is expert at drawing upon its heritage and ownership culture to explore new market segments and to sell its vehicles. With the Beetle Dune Concept that the automaker introduced at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, VW recalls those home-built, Beetle-based dune buggies known as Baja Bugs because Southern Californians would drive them down to Mexico and tear across Baja California in them.

This modern iteration of the theme is based on a turbocharged Beetle R-Line model, and is equipped with the company's 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). A 2-inch suspension lift raises the Beetle Dune Concept for extra ground clearance, and the car's track is wider, accompanied by commensurate increases in body width and larger 19-inch aluminum wheels. Volkswagen has not installed its 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, though, leaving the Beetle Dune Concept as a front-driver equipped with the company's electronic cross-differential system (XDS).

Styling is modified to provide a sportier appearance combined with underbody protection, and the concept car is painted Arizona, a metallic color that blends yellow and gold to create something resembling the afterglow of a desert sunset. A ski and snowboard rack is built into the rear portion of the roof, and a large spoiler is mounted just below the rear window.

Inside, the Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept has a panoramic sunroof and seats wrapped in black leather with white fabric inserts, along with a dashboard-mounted grab handle for the front passenger. The entire point of this concept car might just be that it has a new 7.7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with an Active Matrix Organic LED display, and that it offers a new Volkswagen Sideways app with features designed to help the driver locate nearby friends who have "checked-in" at certain places.

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