VW Beetle Dune concept revealed

* Lifestyle-focused show car is 'production ready' * Trick rear spoiler can house a pair of skis * Raised ride height and 19in alloy wheels...

VW Beetle Dune concept revealed

This is the VW Beetle Dune, a lifestyle-focused concept that will make its public debut at this week's Detroit motor show. The Beetle Dune is ostensibly a show car, but VW describes it as 'practically a production vehicle' because the modifications over the regular Beetle are all 'feasible'.

The Dune is designed to appeal to those interested in winter sports. It sits 50mm taller than the regular Beetle, and also gets a body that's been widened by 48mm. The car's track is also 29mm wider than a regular Beetle's. The concept sits on a new design of 19-inch alloy wheels, and gets other bodywork alterations such as metallic side plates and bonnet vents.

The biggest alterations perhaps come at the rear, where the Dune can accommodate a pair of skis mounted on the outside of the boot. The Beetle's rear spoiler opens up, allowing the skis to be slotted into place and then hidden from view. The car's roof-mounted spoiler also has a belt to allow skis to be attached.

The car's interior features dashboard trim in the same 'Arizona' paint colour as the exterior finish, a grab handle in place of the regular Beetle's glovebox, and an infotainment system - incorporating Volkswagen's latest sat-nav application - with a high-resolution, 7.7in AMOLED screen. The readout can also display pitch and roll - a nod to off-road ability, even though the Dune isn't really designed for rougher conditions.

The concept is powered by VW's 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, producing 207bhp. It drives the front wheels through a six-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox. VW claims the car can reach 60mph from rest in 7.3 seconds, and go on to a top speed of 141mph.

VW says it will gauge reaction to the Dune at Detroit before deciding whether to commit it to production. It's likely, though, that the model will get the green light to join the regular Beetle and Beetle Cabriolet in the line-up, although UK sales would be a more remote possibility.

By John McIlroy