2012 Volkswagen Beetle - rear three-quarter

Volkswagen has been positioning its forthcoming 2012 Beetle as more masculine and more of a driver's car, and while we've yet to get the chance to drive one, we continue to hear promising rumors emanating from both within and beyond Wolfsburg about the reimagined icon's newfound athleticism.

If the sort of dynamic goodness has been baked-in that we've been lead to believe, we're right for getting even more excited about a promised R variation. Car and Driver is reporting that the higher-performance Beetle will bow at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, and predictably enough, it will arrive with an uprated version of the 2.0-liter turbo already slung in between the Beetle Turbo's bulbous fenders. In that model, the force-fed four produces 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, but the R is expected to offer significantly more chutzpah. How much more? We can't be sure, but the pending Golf R, which uses the same engine, generates 270 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque overseas (it's also due in the U.S. shortly). C/D thinks that the Beetle R won't receive the Golf's all-wheel-drive system for cost reasons, however, so we'd expect a decrease in power in order to avoid excessive torque steer.

According to the story, there's word that VW is considering building a Beetle R Cabriolet, as well. We'd normally be skeptical of the chances for such a specialized model to ever see the States, but VW has already confirmed that it will sell a TDI diesel-powered Beetle convertible in North America, so at this point, we're not going to rule anything out.
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