Hotted-up Beetle concept displayed at L.A. Auto Show
Volkswagen's new bug is aimed at the performance enthusiast crowd.
Volkswagen Beetle R Concept
While the redesigned 2012 Beetle was a clear effort to distance the model from its "chick car" reputation, VW trotted out another hotted-up bug concept here at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. First spotted at the Frankfurt Motor Show, this fire-breather points its squealing rubber squarely toward the performance enthusiast crowd. Also along for the ride: a refreshed version of the popular CC that VW hopes will continue to carve out a spot in the large-sedan market.
Beetle R Concept
What is it? A go-fast version of the newly redesigned Volkswagen Beetle that should make the fast and furious fanboys happy — that is, if the production model lives up to the concept.
What's hot? This is a meaner, wider Beetle — 1.2 inches, to be exact. The front fascia has been redesigned, with three separate air intakes and a splitter, and the headlights are almost Porsche-like. The back end has been redesigned, as well, with a gargantuan spoiler dominating a rear deck that includes exhaust vents and four chrome exhaust finishers. This interior features shell seats, a center-mounted tachometer and aluminum-capped pedals.
What's not? Last we checked, we can't buy a concept car, and Volkswagen recently drew the ire of loyalists by bloating and cheapening the Jetta and Passat for the U.S. market — something we definitely don't want to see happen with a performance-oriented Beetle.
How much and when? Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.
MSN Autos' verdict: VW has indicated the production model will match the performance of the current Golf R and Scirocco R. If that means the eventual road-going Beetle R gets the same 2.0-liter 4-banger found in the R-badged Golf and Scirocco (making 270 and 265 horsepower, respectively), count us happy campers.
2013 Volkswagen CC
What is it? A visual and technological refresh of the CC "4-door coupe" first released as a 2009 model, the 2013 Volkswagen CC retains its richly appointed interior and promises more standard features than the outgoing model.
What's hot? A more tech-heavy CC offers bi-xenon headlights standard, and LED daytime running lights standard on all trim levels save Sport. Replacing the previous iteration's dual rear bucket seats with a back-seat bench means the CC now can seat five.
What's not? The styling has changed, but not for the better. The visual refresh does away with the dramatic double-height grille in favor of a more sedate 3-bar radiator grille, and the headlights and taillights are similarly subdued. Also: old architecture. The old chassis as well as the engine options — a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four and a 3.6-liter narrow-angle V6 that develops 280 ponies — carry over for the "new" model.
How much and when? Ranges from just under $30,000 to $41,000, and will hit the streets in March 2012.
MSN Autos' verdict: Blandifying your most attractive offering from a visual standpoint certainly isn't the right move. Still, the CC offers a fairly attractive package for the price point.
Josh Condon, editor of MSN Autos' Exhaust Notes blog, has covered everything from nanotechnology to champagne and caviar for the likes of The New York Times, Popular Science, Men's Journal, Cargo and RL Magazine. He's recently relocated from Brooklyn, N.Y., toLos Angeles and is spending way, way more time in his car as a result.