VW has been making DUNE-themed concepts every few years since the New Beetle burst on the scene in the mid-1990s.
Each time, the natural jaded view that a two-wheel-drive beach car is a non-starter for actual practicality in its namesake terrain. Yes, the original baja Bugs were two-wheel-drive, also, but with the engine in back providing incredible grip in deep sand, but a light and floaty nose to glide over ridges and jumps smoothly. The 2016 DUNE will not be as graceful in soft sand, but quick and fun on hard-packed sand and gravel.
But hey, VW has finally seen the Outback side of the equation: this high-riding Beetle hopes to earn some of the momentum of that Subaru off-road-ification with the Dune, even as a front-driver.
How? A raised ride height, taller tires and chunky new lower bodywork and details to add more durability to the DUNE when it is off the pavement.
The Beetle DUNE hardtop is set to arrive in USA VW showrooms in early 2016, with a ragtop DUNE model also available from around August of 2016 as a 2017 model-year.
2016 Volkswagen Beetle DUNE
2016 BEETLE DUNE BROADENS THE BEETLE LINEUP WITH NEW DESIGN AND PREMIUM FEATURES
Nov 17, 2015
Drawing inspiration from classic Baja Bugs, the Dune offers striking new design features plus premium content
- Offered as both a coupe and a convertible
- More aggressive exterior styling features new bumpers, side moldings, wheel design, and raised ground clearance
- New technology for Beetle lineup includes LED taillights and Park Distance Control
- Standard equipment for Beetle Dune Coupe includes VW Car-Net® App-Connect technology, USB connectivity, and rearview camera
- New available Lighting and Technology Packages
Herndon, VA – Volkswagen of America, Inc. today announced the production version of the 2016 Beetle Dune, which will go on sale early next year. Inspired by classic Baja Bugs, the vehicle will enter the Beetle family as a new trim, offering a rugged addition to the rest of the model lineup.
“The new Dune successfully captures the iconic spirit of Baja Beetles, with a more rugged feel and amenities never before offered on the third-generation Beetle,” said Joerg Sommer, Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “With its sporty and aggressive design and a number of the new technology features, we are confident that the new Dune will appeal to both new and returning Beetle customers.”
Overall, the Beetle Dune has a more aggressive appearance than the rest of the Beetle range, thanks to the fitment of new front and rear fascias and pronounced black wheelarch extensions that flow into the bumpers. Additionally, the Dune’s raised ride height of 0.4 inches and track that is 0.6 inches wider give it a more rugged stance.
Highlighting the front end’s sporty look, the new front bumper features a large central air intake that widens towards its bottom edge, and a black honeycomb screen has an aluminum-look surround that morphs into the front skid plate. On either side of the intake, two black honeycomb vents contain the foglights. A Lighting Package will be available, which will add Bi-Xenon headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights and LED license plate lighting.
The side of the vehicle is characterized by the contrast between the polished aluminum sills and the black trim strips that are reminiscent of the original Beetle running boards. Distinctive 18-inch Canyon aluminum-alloy wheels are fitted with 235/45 all-season tires. The side mirrors have contrasting black lower portions and Reflex Silver uppers, and “Dune” graphics are displayed on both doors. At the back, the Dune features a large rear spoiler, standard LED taillights, and a new bumper design that integrates matte black and aluminum elements, as at the front of the car. The rear diffuser also acts as a skid plate.
Inside, the 2016 Beetle Dune features sport seats with contrasting orange stitching and a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel. Standard equipment includes the latest generation MIB II infotainment system, which serves as the foundation for Volkswagen’s available Car-Net® suite of features. VW Car-Net connectivity includes App-Connect technology which allows integration with the three major smartphone platforms—Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®—allowing seamless integration for compatible smartphones.
The Dune is fitted with the Composition Media infotainment system that has a 6.3-inch screen with a capacitive touch sensor (similar to smartphone and tablet technology) that enables gesture controls like swiping and pinch-zooming. MIB II also features a proximity sensor, which detects when a hand is nearby and automatically switches its display to allow easier selection of specific features. USB and Bluetooth® connectivity for compatible devices are standard, along with a rearview camera and the Park Distance Control system. A Technology Package will also be available, which adds Climatronic® dual-zone automatic climate control, the award-winning Fender® Premium Audio System, KESSY® keyless access with push-button start, and a tilt-and-slide sunroof.
The 2016 Beetle Dune will be available in three exterior colors: Sandstorm Yellow, Pure White, or Deep Black Pearl. Sandstorm Yellow cars have an interior that features body color upper door trims and dashpads, whereas the Pure White and Deep Black Pearl vehicles have black door and dashpad trim.
At launch, the Beetle Dune will be equipped with a 1.8-liter direct-injection and turbocharged TSI® four-cylinder engine, offering 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Dune coupe will go on sale in the first quarter of 2016, while the Dune Convertible will arrive in showrooms in the third quarter of the year.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.