Volkswagen's superhot Beetle

Volkswagen showed off its Beetle R concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show, making a serious push to introduce R as its performance brand.

LOS ANGELES--Volkswagen is keeping the specifications of the Beetle R concept a secret, but the production Golf R, coming out next year, should give some clues.

Letters like GTI and GLI used to spell performance in Volkswagen terminology, but the German carmaker is introducing a new letter, R. The company now has an entire performance division tuning up existing Volkswagen models and slapping an R badge on them. The first effort hitting production is the Golf R, and now Volkswagen is showing off a concept version of a Beetle R.

Based on the 2012 Beetle , the Beetle R concept has a flattened roofline. Cosmetic changes to the concept include wider fenders, a big air intake, and vents in the hood.

Sitting under the hood is a turbocharged, direct-injection 2-liter engine, and if it is the same as in the Golf R, it produces 267 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The Beetle R could also have Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel drive, as does the Golf R.

These performance attributes are topped off with Volkswagen's dual-clutch transmission, the DSG.

Volkswagen won't say if the Beetle R will ever see production.

See all CNET's coverage from the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.


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