2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America

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Alternative headlines?

“GSR Aims at Autocross Target, Misses.”

“Beetle GSR Drives Like It Has Gorilla On Roof.”

The Beetle GSR is supposedly tailor-made for racing and timed laps – it even includes a chronometer stopwatch right in the central dashboard and racing stripes outside.

Unfortunately, all who drove it at Road America last week came away with various harsh critiques. Brakes were spongy and non-existent, the tires washed out all sense of grip, it felt pokey, and most damning of all: it handled extremely poorly.

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My critique that it felt like a gorilla was on the roof was echoed by a few other auto writers who had taken the GSR out on this tiny, tiny autocross course. It is actually the well-regarded Road America go-kart track – but this time with real-life cars howling around its corners.

Many machines were very fun around this tight course, including the Ford Fiesta as probably the biggest hoot. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR and Subaru WRX STI were quickest, but the Ford Focus ST felt the most aggressively able to put its power down.

Second to the Fiat Abarth 500C, the Beetle should have really excelled in a setup so small and tight. It really didnt.

The above critiques also do not mention the extremely slow steering and very pricey as-tested sticker total: the Beetle GSR with the DSG automatic comes in at $32,000 — which is deep into WRX and loaded Focus ST territory.

The 210-horsepower of the GSR’s R-Line engine felt only sufficient, but never rapid. Same goes for the DSG automatic.

On the plus side? The Beetle GSR is much, much more comfortable than the Abarth 500C and even the feisty little Fiesta ST. It is also much more comfortable than the MX-5 club and Scion FR-S — which I seem to be too fat to fit inside comfortably these days. They fit like a Small t-shirt when I wear an XL.

The Beetle GSR is handsome with its LED lighting and racing stripes – but the yellow color is a wet blanket over the whole proceedings. Trying much, much too hard considering the abysmal pace and handling around the autocross.

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2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR – INTERIOR

2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 11 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 12 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 14 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 15 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 122014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 16

2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR – EXTERIOR

2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 1 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 32014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 17 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 26 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 25 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 24 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 23 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 22 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 21 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 20 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 192014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 50 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 49 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 48 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 47 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 46 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 452014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 44 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 43 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 42 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 41 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 40 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 27

2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR – ACTION SHOTS

2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 4 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 10 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 9 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 8 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 6 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 52014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 28 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 33 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 32 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 31 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 30

2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 38 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 35 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America 34