2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune Preview
By Christian Wardlaw, November 17, 2015
- Inspired by classic Baja Bugs
- More rugged styling cues and raised ground clearance
- Remains front-wheel drive (FWD), with turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and automatic transmission
- Standard LED taillights and park-assist sensors, which are new to Beetle lineup
- Offered in coupe and convertible body styles
In California, classic Baja Bugs still prowl the roads, raised up high on all-terrain tires, exhaust ricocheting down the beach while their drivers search for dirt or dunes on which to play. These homegrown off-roaders serve as the inspiration for the new 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune.
Available in coupe and convertible body styles, the VW Beetle Dune Coupe goes on sale early next year, with the Dune Convertible arriving just in time for summer.
What makes the Beetle Dune special is what you can see on the outside. This model gets new front and rear bumper designs complete with simulated skid plates, rugged-looking black wheel arch extensions, rear spoiler, and polished aluminum side sills with black rubber tops that are reminiscent of the original Beetle’s running boards. The good news is that these will never rust.
Volkswagen raises the Beetle Dune’s ride height by nearly half an inch and the track is more than half an inch wider. This, combined with special 18-in. aluminum wheels, gives the Beetle Dune a more aggressive stance, but don’t get too excited. Those are all-season tires wrapped around the wheels, and the 6.1 in. of ground clearance matches a Nissan Murano, which is not known for its ability to travel very far off of the pavement.
Additional visual cues that are exclusive to the Beetle Dune include LED taillights and special graphics. This model will be offered in Sandstorm Yellow, Pure White, and Deep Black Pearl paint colors.
Volkswagen makes minor changes to the Beetle Dune’s interior. Sport-bolstered front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are standard and feature unique orange contrast stitching. Choose a Beetle Dune in Sandstorm Yellow and the upper door panels and dashboard pad will match.
As might be expected, the Beetle Dune Convertible’s trunk is small, measuring just 7.1 cu. ft.
Volkswagen plans to offer the Beetle Dune in generously equipped specification, with two main option packages. The Lighting package will install HID headlights, LED running lights, and LED rear license plate lighting. The Technology package will add dual-zone automatic climate control, Fender premium audio system, keyless entry with push-button engine starting, and, for the Beetle Dune Coupe, a power sunroof.
Under the Hood
In the new Dune models, Volkswagen uses the less powerful of the Beetle’s two turbocharged 4-cylinder engines. Furthermore, the Beetle Dune is just begging for a 4Motion AWD system, but it comes only with FWD.
In any case, the turbocharged, 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine makes 170 horsepower between 4,800 rpm and 6,200 rpm, and 184 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,500 rpm and 4,750 rpm. A 6-speed automatic transmission is the only one available.
All 2016 Beetles come with a new Automatic Post-Collision Braking system, which is designed to bring the car to a halt just as soon as is possible following a collision in order to reduce the potential for secondary collisions. A reversing camera and park-assist sensors are also standard for the Beetle Dune.
Like other 2016 Beetles, the Dune gets the latest version of VW’s touch-screen infotainment technology. The Car-Net App-Connect system supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink smartphone-integration platforms, features a 6.3-in. capacitive-touch display screen, and includes a handy USB port.