Speculation over a production version was fuelled by new photographs of the Beetle Dune concept that surfaced just weeks ago, and now UK publication Car magazine reports it has been confirmed to make it to showrooms.
According to the report, the Beetle Dune will go on sale in 2016, with the rugged looking, higher-riding two-door model expected to attract a premium of €2800, which would mean an additional $4000 ask over the regular $30,290 (plus on-road costs) Beetle should the Dune be sold in Australia.
Until now, the car had only been described as "feasible", though VW did state the concept was "practically a production vehicle”. However, Car quotes Matthias Zauner, Beetle marketing chief, that the spinoff model will give the brand "proximity to SUVs" with a different bent.
'The difference between the Dune and the base Beetle is almost exclusively visual," Zauner is quoted as saying. "But the more self-assured stance, the redesigned front and rear ends as well as the inspiring crossover character make this version quite special. We believe in fact that the Dune - which will be offered as coupe and cabriolet - is going to be an integral part of the future Beetle line-up."
Volkswagen Australia public relations manager Kurt McGuiness said the new model may come to Australia.
"No definite plans at this stage, but it is under consideration," McGuiness said.
In concept guise the Beetle Dune rides 50 millimetres higher than the standard Beetle and wears a set of 19-inch alloy wheels clad in chunky tyres that “lend an all-terrain look”. Its blackened fenders and rear-mounted ski rack further its faux-wheel drive credentials.
The concept model was front-wheel drive only and the production version will be, too. The show car had a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 155kW of power and 280Nm of torque teamed to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.