VW Beetle Dune – brilliant fashion statement, terrible drive


It started with the Chrysler PT Cruiser. There was much excitement at the press launch of this retro people-carrier but then a collective sigh of horror after we had driven it.

How could something so cool be such a terrible drive? BMW later nailed it with their Mini but somehow VW has missed a massive opportunity with the latest Beetle.

The styling is fantastic and this Dune model turns heads – so why is it lifeless behind the wheel? It’s all the most perplexing when you consider the brilliance of the Golf, or the Jetta, with which it shares the same platform.

It’s brilliant as a fashion statement but the drive is less than engaging – espeically with the DSG automatic gearbox that works so well in other VW models.

And then there’s the price. Perhaps it’s no wonder my Dune test car is turning so many heads – it’s such a rarity. Nobody is prepared to pay £25k upwards to own one…

Beetle Dune – all style but nothing under the bonnet. Like Melania…


I’ve been Dune roaming this weekend… mostly country stuff, where the 2.0 TDI engine feels strangely underpowered for a VW unit.

Ever since I sold my own 1.4 TSI for being woefully lifeless I’ve been waiting for a ‘hot’ version of the Beetle to get excited about.

None of them break the eight second barrier, not even the R-Line ‘sporty’ version. And the extra torque of the diesel TDI is nothing to write home about either.

Just feels a bit sad to me – all the style but nothing under the bonnet. Just like Melania…


Paranoia – Doctor, why are pedestrians pointing at my yellow Beetle Dune?


The problem with driving a brightly coloured car is that you don’t know why pedestrians are pointing at you.

Is it VW’s Sandstorm yellow paintjob – or is the Beetle Dune the coolest thing this side of a Mini? (or just a bit silly?)

It’s certainly, erm, eye-catching. Even on the inside, the dashboard is a colour fest of dials (mostly pointless) and yellow paint.

So to avoid motorparanoia, I’ve taken to mostly driving it in the dark. The headlights are very good. I suppose to some folk it might look rather fecthing even in daylight.

I just can’t get my head around jacking up a car by 10mm and adding some decals to make it look better.

And then there’s the price – this particular car is £31,225 with all the extras!! More on that tomorrow…

Dune roaming? We put the pseudo 4×4 VW Beetle to the test


I should declare an interest from the start. Four years ago I briefly owned a new Beetle. I went out to buy a sensible Passat estate and came home in a Bug. It happens…

I soon realised the 1.4 petrol engine wasn’t equipped to deal with the demands of my right foot, so I binned it for a BMW 6 Series. Great car that was too.

So I wanted to try the TDI torquiness of Beetle in Dune form. Would it rescue the car I used to own – or is it really just a speciation edition that is all form and no substance? Four-wheel drive isn’t even on the options list.

Once I’d got over the price – £25k or there about, I took delivery of this very, erm, yellow coupe. More over the next few days when I’ve found my sunglasses…