Beetle sets 205mph speed record

Beetle sets 205mph speed record
Beetle sets 205mph speed record

Volkswagen hits the double-ton, still looks cute and loveable

Bonneville has seen some sights but a bright yellow Volkswagen Beetle doing more than 200mph? That’s definitely a first.

Then again, not many Beetles pack a 550bhp 2.0-litre turbo engine either…

This is the Volkswagen engineers’ latest pet project: taking an ordinarily cute and cheerful car and turning it into something that can put Porsches in their place. Those engineers have been busy, necessarily so, but the end result still fully resembles a Beetle. Which itself is rather impressive.

See, the Beetle shape is not one remotely suited to high-speed runs. You need low, sleek and sharp, not dumpy and rounded. Which is why the engine had to be so powerful – and 550bhp certainly is impressive, given how it too is directly derived from a road-going unit, in this case the 2.0-litre Volkswagen Golf GTI.

A motorsport-style upgrade gives it the guts to take on Bonneville: there are new pistons, camshafts and conrods, other cylinder head modifications, and the replacement of the original road-going turbo with a massive new one.

After a few practice runs, Volkswagen’s brave test driver ultimately squeezed the speed Beetle up to a top speed of 205.122mph over a one-mile distance.

Pretty wild when you think about it, and reason enough, when he deployed the parachutes to slow down, to think ‘job well done’.

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