With the Beetle R, Volkswagen provides a view of what a future high-performance Bug could look like. There’s no word on what engine might power a production version of the Beetle R, but it wouldn’t take much to bring the styling changes to market.
Numerous exterior cues give the Beetle R Concept a more aggressive stance. The wider front bumper has gaping openings for engine and brake cooling, and there are subtle body-colored hood vents. Wider fenders surround 20-inch alloy wheels.
Changes to the rear are designed to provide the Beetle R Concept with optimal downforce. There’s a diffuser under the rear bumper, but it’s overshadowed by the huge rear wing that looks like it’s paying homage to the “whale tail” Porsche 911s of the ’80s.
Inside, the Beetle R has new front bucket seats that would look right at home in a racecar, though they are finished in black and gray leather. A new instrument cluster puts the tachometer front-and-center, the pedals are finished in aluminum, and R logos abound.
With its 2012 redesign, the Beetle traded cuteness for seriousness. Without that change in attitude, an R version of the car wouldn’t have made much sense, but now it actually seems plausible.