Spicy VW Beetle R Concept Makes its U.S. Debut at the 2011 LA Auto Show [Updated Gallery +Video]

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Officially, it’s just a concept, but the wording on VW’s press release hints at a production version of the Beetle R that was first shown at the 64th IAA in Frankfurt before it made its North American debut today at the LA Auto Show.

Developed by Volkswagen R GmbH - that is, the same people responsible for the Scirocco R and Golf R models, the Beetle R is said to show “the potential for an ever sportier version of the Beetle”.

The company also claims that the 200HP turbocharged 2.0-liter of the Beetle Turbo “could offer even more performance, similar to that of the Golf R and Scirocco R”.

Even though VW won’t say what’s under the hood, the 2.0-liter TFSI can easily pump out an extra 60-70 horses compared to the standard Beetle Turbo, as evidenced by the R GmbH-fettled Golf and Scirocco.

Building on the third-gen Beetle’s more muscular looks, VW’s designers added a completely new, 30 mm wider front bumper, along with beefier wheel arches widened by 15 mm to make room for the 20-inch “Talladega” five-spoke alloys and bigger brakes with blue “R” calipers. And in case you missed it, they also put a Porsche-like rear wing, a diffuser and four tail pipes at the rear end.

Inside there are bucket sport seats trimmed in Nappa-leather, glossy black accents on the dashboard, redesigned instruments and aluminum pedals.

When it was first displayed in September, we were willing to bet that VW was gauging reactions for a production version that is probably already waiting for the green light in Wolfsburg. Could it be that crossing the Atlantic means that the company is testing the waters to decide if it should bring it to the U.S. as well? Only time will tell.


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