Fresh from its reveal in Frankfurt, the Volkswagen Beetle R Concept made its first U.S. appearance in Los Angeles. While VW execs remain coy about its potential to transition from one-off to production model, unofficial sources indicate that the future continues to look brighter and brighter for the prospect this high-performance/high-profile Beetle variant will turn up in showrooms in the not-too-distant future. A strikingly executed extension of the automaker's "R" performance line that currently includes the Golf R and Scirocco R, this technical "design study" previews a fully-engineered package that extends well beyond the scope of the new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo in every meaningful way.
Visually, the Beetle R Concept boasts a number of tasteful styling enhancements to complement its "Serious Gray" exterior, including more aggressive new front and rear fascia treatments and a gloss black roof and accents. Up front, three large air intakes upgrade engine and brake cooling while a competition-style spoiler/splitter adds forward grip and functional vents on the hood help keep engine temps in line. The tail gets an equally understated but focused tweak, adding supplemental air outlets, a functional diffuser, a bigger-than-Turbo spoiler and dual chrome exhaust tips. A similar "R-spec" enhancement sees the Beetle R Concept's fender flares opened up by 0.6 inches to accommodate its 20-inch "Talladega" alloy wheels and performance tires -- which only semi conceal a set of upgraded anti-lock disc brakes with custom blue R-design calipers.
The bad-boy persona carries over to the inner sanctum of the Volkswagen Beetle R Concept, which is highlighted by deeply contoured, R-logo motorsport bucket seats done in gray nutbuck leather and black Nappa hides with Space Blue accents. Unique gauges, aluminum pedal caps, custom, floor mats and special sill plates complete the look.
Although VW still offers no insight as to the output of the 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder engine in the Beetle R Concept, the engine is rated at over 260 horsepower in both the current R-spec Golf and Scirocco models. We're still hopeful that we'll have more definitive news to report on that front -- as well as confirmation of an official timeline for a production Volkswagen Beetle R model -- by the end of the year.