2018 Beetle 2.0T Dune: More Power But Still No AWD

Last year when we reviewed a very similar looking Beetle Dune, we loved the funky and retro aesthetic but lamented a lack of power and traction. For a vehicle that looked like it had off-road capability, the front-wheel-drive and mediocre all-season tires really were a let down. The 1.8-Turbo engine was peppy enough, and the car drove well – as you would expect given the platform sharing with the Golf/Jetta – but still left us wanting more. For 2018, VW gives us the 2.0-Turbo which has 174hp, but more importantly 184 ft-lb of torque. That extra pulling power is really noticeable at lower speeds, but it also highlights the lack of AWD even more.

There are lots of cars out there which have appearances that aren’t fully backed up by their performance. SUVs fit that description in many ways as an entire class – built on car chassis with only marginal upgrades for off-road performance but styled to look like a purposeful off-road vehicle. In this case, you have the same conundrum. A car that looks like the old ‘Baja Bug’ which people would bomb around the sand-dunes of Southern California with in the 60’s and 70’s, but is really just a slightly taller regular road car.

Finding the drivetrain to put into the car is often a reason why these types of cars aren’t offered in the proper configuration, but in this case the Golf platform has an AWD variant – several, in fact. So it’s completely plausible that they could engineer an AWD model. And that would be extremely compelling, because it would be what it looks like…

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