We were presented with an opportunity to drive the Beetle Dune concept of Volkswagen that grabbed the attention of the crowd at the 2014 Detroit Show. Well, why to test a car which is ancient according to automotive terms? Well, the Dune schedule to come in 2016 is fitted with a Hybrid Powerplant, which was not even chosen to enter Beetle.
We thought it was worth some and more to gather information on this plugged in Bug. The experience of driving it left us entertained, surprised and a bit confused. According to Volkswagen, this is version is named as “Beetle Hybrid Concept” as it has been packed with Jetta Hybrid Powertrain of the current. A 2.0 Liter turbo four-cylinder engine resided in the original concept but sans electrification. This would transpire into an EA211 1.4 Liter TSI turbo four-cylinder engine clubbed with an electric motor producing 27 horsepower and a 1.1kWh battery pack with 60 lithium-ion cells.
A DSG seven-speed automatic gearbox will be assisting the powerplant rated for a total of 170 horsepower and 184 pounds of torque. The model is also going to be the future package of the Dune. Not much has changed with the Dune, and when you compare it with the standard Beetle, it has gained two inches of elevation from the ground, 0.8-inch height and a width of 2.2 inches. Now the Dune has wider fender flares and 1.1- inch of wider tracks. The exclusive bumpers have been retained for both ends, and so are the rear spoilers and the coloring in burnt orange and gold. The color theme is carried to the interior too.
There are two significant changes made to the Dune apart from the new Powertrain, which is the loss of “Dune” brand display both inside and outside. The change may be only restricted to the hybrid concept, and it may show up in the production model. The second notable change is the emergency cut-off switch styled in red placed on the center console near the emergency brake. This is the weirdest element you would see in the already much odd-balled hybrid concept car the inscription: “do not hit the shiny, candy-like red button”.
When you see the Dune on the road, you will find the similarity with the present Jetta hybrid because they share the same PQ35 platform along with the Powertrain. When we tested the Jetta way back in 2013, it was a fun hybrid to drive, and the present Dune is even more. It is quicker than the Jetta and also more eager to push forward, in comparison to the slow start of the Jetta. Against the transmission based decisions of the Jetta, the Beetle delivers instantly. The brakes too have been improved in the hybrid, and this was an issue with the Jetta.
The VW Beetle Dune is offered with the front-engine layout and front wheel drive. It is offered a 2-door coupe body style and is capable of seating four passengers. Estimated price of the Beetle Dune Hybrid is $28, 000. This Hybrid is expected to offer 40/45mpg in city and highway according to EPA estimation.