Volkswagen introduced the 2016 Beetle Dune at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, a modern take on the off-road-oriented Baja Beetles of old. We first saw the Beetle Dune as a concept at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. While the production version keeps many of the same design touches as the concept, it skips many of the performance enhancements that were featured. So while it may look rugged, the Beetle Dune remains most comfortable on pavement.
Exterior additions include unique front and rear bumper designs, Dune decals and black wheel arch extensions. There are only three color options: Sandstorm Yellow, Pure White or Deep Black Pearl. Ride height has been raised by 0.4 inches, and the track is slightly widened by 0.6 inches; these changes help the Dune’s appearance but won’t make a difference off-road.
The concept was also based on the Beetle R-Line and its 210-horsepower engine, but the Beetle Dune has been tamed slightly. Instead of that engine, there is a smaller turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder that makes 170 hp and 184 pounds-feet of torque mated to a six-speed automatic.
Inside, Sandstorm Yellow models get a body-colored dashboard accent (a la the Fiat 500), while white/black models feature a black plastic facing. Volkswagen’s latest MIB II infotainment system comes standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, MirrorLink smartphone integration built in. Coupe Dune models will go in sale in early 2016; convertible versions will arrive in the fall. Check out the gallery below.