Squint your eyes just so and a Volkswagen Beetle can start looking like a Porsche 911. And with good reason: the two were designed by the same man using the same basic principles. So with common heritage, it's little wonder that the latest model is already started to follow its sportier brother's lead. No, we don't mean an endless array of special editions from the manufacturer – we mean tuning packages. And lots of them.
Just like the 911 attracts aftermarket tuners by the truckload, undoubtedly so will the new Beetle, and ABT Sportsline is among the first to line up. The German tuning house has big plans for the sportier new bug, from full aero kits and upsized rolling stock to suspension tuning and extensive engine mods. ABT figures it can get the base 1.2-liter TSI up from 105 horsepower to 140, the 1.4 from 160 to 210, and the 2.0 from 200 to 230, with similar gains for the diesel models, as well.
Sounds promising, and to keep our interest piqued, ABT has released a couple of renderings of what we can expect. Check 'em out along with the press release after the jump.
ABT Sportsline is currently working flat out on the Kempten version of the new VW Beetle. Plenty of heart and soul is also put into the development of the components, as Hans-Jürgen Abt underlines. After all the General Manager of the world's largest tuner of vehicles from the Volkswagen group still raves about his first "bug" from Wolfsburg: "We implanted a 90 HP engine from a VW Bus into the Beetle, and gave it a pert bodywork, front spoiler lip and a rear spoiler. The car was real fun to drive, particularly on the windy roads here in Bavaria."
The new Beetle should also be an agile fun car, so a real Speedle. Like its successful predecessor which was built over 50 years ago, it also has to be completely reliable. A Beetle runs and runs and runs – that was how it was and how it has to be in the future. "With regards to performance improvements we can only look at combining maximum enjoyment with maximum reliability and everyday usability in balanced ABT POWER packages", explains Hans-Jürgen Abt. As a result the engines of the ABT Beetle are currently undergoing extensive testing, which is why the exact performance data will only be supplied later.
These levels are realistic, based on the experience of the Development Department at ABT: with the 1.2 TSI the series standard 105 HP (77 kW) will be increased to around 140 HP (103 kW), while with the 1.4 TSI (series standard: 160 HP/118 kW) around 210 HP (154 kW) can be expected. "The two-litre turbo VW offers 200 HP or 147 kW, and we expect that the ABT version will provide 230/240 HP", says Hans-Jürgen Abt. The diesel versions of the Beetle will be economically-conscious Speedles: the 1.6 litre diesel engine will provide 125 HP (92 kW) instead of 105 HP (77 kW), and the 2.0 TDI will have 170 HP or 125 kW (series standard: 140 HP/103 kW). The ABT Performance Springs will ensure that the cool Beetle is fun to drive not just on windy Bavarian roads.
And of course the ABT Beetle is also a special car visually – the cuddly round car is a vehicle with a real edge so to speak. Its low centre of gravity shows that it is no ordinary vehicle. The front spoiler, rear skirt insert, rear skirt set with rear muffler and oval exhaust pipes, or even the side skirts underline the classic bodywork of the Beetle. With the front and rear headlight brows the car looks pleasant, fresh and sharp. Or to express it with a quote from the hit film "The Love Bug": "Hey, he's a nice little guy" – and like "Herbie" still a real winner. Since then decorative sets have been part of the Beetle, and ABT Sportsline is now linking retro styles with the latest trends, because the "Speedy-Beetle" is certainly not out of touch. It stands for the here and now and looks good on cool ABT CR wheels in a confident 19 inch size. The extravagant alloys are of course – as usual at ABT Sportsline – also available with high-performance tyres. Even though further details and a datasheet about the new ABT Beetle will only be available later, one thing is already certain: the new car will be a well-rounded package.