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Auto blogThu, 11 Sep 2014 16:29:00 EST
Racing driver and Top Gear USA host Tanner Foust is a very busy guy. After all, he's competing in rounds of both Global Rallycross series and FIA World Rallycross Championship, not to mention his TV duties. However, we probably shouldn't feel too sorry for him, because his job puts him behind the wheel of some truly crazy machinery.
Case in point is his latest ride in Global Rallycross - the Volkswagen Beetle GRC. The German company claims that this all-wheel drive Bug makes around 540 horsepower from its 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and can shoot to 60 in under 2 seconds. Plus, if this video is any indication, this Volkswagen sounds like a machine gun when throwing revs at idle, and it can do some wonderfully easy four-wheel drifts.
Previously, Foust was driving a VW Polo for Andretti Autosport in GRC, but the team unveiled the look of the Beetle GRC at the Chicago Auto Show. Now, Foust is finally getting to show off his new office to the public, and like VW's tagline for the new car claims, it's way hotter than Herbie.
Volkswagen has chosen to really expand its performance-tuned portfolio at this year's Chicago Auto Show, bringing along a couple of new Beetles destined for model year 2014, as well as a pair of freshened GTI packages that you'll be able to buy almost right away.
The first, and splashiest of the Chicago goodies on the VW stand has got to be the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR. Don't lose your temper, Acura Integra geeks; in this case, GSR stands for "Gelb Schwarzer Renner" or "Yellow Black Racer," and harkens back to a sport-tuned classic Beetle from the 1970s. For the 2014 iteration, the GSR gets a 210-horsepower version of VW's 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder. That engine is enough to push the Beetle to 60 miles per hour in 6.6 seconds, and up to a top speed of 130 mph.
Of course, you'll have long-since noticed the shockingly yellow-and-black livery before you stumble across the Turbo badge on the rear deck. The GSR gets 19-inch alloy wheels, 235-section tires and a tea-tray rear spoiler, but it's the paint and graphics package that will decide if this is your (lemony) cup of tea. Things don't get any subtler inside the car, either, as VW has carried the colorway through to the interior, as well. Only 3,500 Beetle GSRs will be produced, with just more than half of those going to the US - call your dealer today, Wiz Khalifa.
Volkswagen's R lineup currently consists of the Golf R in North America, and the too-cool-for-school Scirocco R in Europe. It hasn't exactly been a secret as to which VW would next get the R treatment; the German manufacturer reportedly confirmed that a hotter Beetle would be coming to the US. That announcement, in August 2011, was followed up by a production-ready Beetle R Concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
After some wait, we're finally seeing spy shots of the Beetle R in Germany. The mule shown in the images here is wearing the R-Line bodykit, which adds sportier front and rear fascias, side skirts, dual exhausts and a not-so-subtle spoiler. Topped off with Volkswagen's traditional, five-spoke R wheels, we'd be just fine with the Beetle R coming to market as is.
Our spy photographer, though, seems to think that the production R will get even sportier sheetmetal, which we take to mean the more assertive look shown on the Frankfurt show car. Larger intakes on the front fascia, a bigger rear spoiler and vertical vents on the rear bumper could all be upcoming. Whether a production model will include the concept's polished wheels (R cars haven't traditionally embraced that look), vented hood and the quad-tipped exhausts remains to be seen.