Volkswagen Beetle

Dune 2.0 TDI DSG

Volkswagen Beetle Dune, front
Volkswagen Beetle Dune, rear
Volkswagen Beetle Dune, interior
Volkswagen Beetle Dune, front
Volkswagen Beetle Dune, front
Volkswagen Beetle Dune, rear
Volkswagen Beetle Dune, rear
Volkswagen Beetle Dune, side
Volkswagen Beetle Dune, front

IF you're the sort of person who likes to be noticed then the Beetle Dune could be just what you're looking for.

This blinged-up Beetle is a real eye-catching creation, of that there can be no doubt.

Essentially it's a Beetle that's been given the kind of makeover that verges on customisation.

The ride height's been jacked-up by 10mm giving it something of the look and feel of one of the legendary Baja Beetle dune buggies of the 1960s.

Other adaptations include a wider track, chunky wheelarches, special decals running along the side, beefed-up bumpers, modified side skirts, a special rear spoiler, an adapted grille surround and 18-inch alloys.

The whole package is one that works surprisingly well it has to be said.

The original reborn Beetle was one of the retro-inspired takes on automotive classics that didn't quite hit the spot in the same way the MINI and Fiat 500 did, but the second generation version is way better, more aesthetically pleasing and has far more character.

What the Dune does is effectively elevate it further still as a distinctive and desirable vehicle.

The finishing touch is a selection of bright and appealing paintwork options, none more so than the gold (Sandstorm Yellow) finish of this car, which extends to the wheels as well as the bodywork - and even the interior too.

As well as making it the sort of car that's very easy to find in the supermarket car park it also endows it with real presence. Sometimes bright colours may not be to all tastes but this has enduring appeal.

The Dune is available either as a coupe or cabrio - the drop-top costing an additional £3,000.

It might not be cheap but it's worth remembering that you're essentially getting the underpinnings of a tried and trusted Golf in a slightly more glitzy package.

On the plus side it comes generously equipped with a DAB radio and Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, automatic lights and windscreen wipers, parking sensors and three additional gauges on a dash that hints a little at the retro theme though is essentially modern in character.

The Dune is ultimately a very clever idea and surprisingly of its time. As well as a nod to that dune buggy past it also hints towards modern crossover characteristics.

Appearances can be deceptive though and it's worth remembering the Dune has no off-roading capabilities whatsoever - it's strictly front-wheel drive.

In terms of practicality the Dune measures up reasonably well.

That quirky design means it isn't quite as family-friendly as a Golf hatchback. It transports four rather than five (there are just two rear seats) but the boot is reasonably roomy and accommodating.

Trim, switchgear and instrumentation are all of good quality and it's a comfortable car to travel in with a well cosseted ride, despite those big alloys.

Dynamically it doesn't disappoint either and makes for a fun drive with plenty of grip.

Go for the 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel in this car and it has plenty of oomph to add to the overall driving experience.

There's just one other engine option in the shape of a 1.2 TSI petrol delivering 104bhp.

In terms of outlay that would certainly save on the pounds and while it involves compromising a little in terms of performance it wouldn't diminish the fun factor too much.

Is the Dune worth the extra cost over a standard Beetle? You're looking at around £2,500 over the cost of Beetle Design equivalents from the main range.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Beetle Dune 2.0 TDI DSG

Price: £25,780

Mechanical: 148bhp, 1,968cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 123mph

0-62mph: 9.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 58.9

Insurance Group: 21

C02 emissions: 127g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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