Volkswagen Beetle breaks speed record

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Volkswagen of America has revealed that its specially tuned Beetle LSR, powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder TSI gasoline engine, has achieved a top speed of 205.122mph over a mile – the fastest speed ever recorded for a Beetle.

The record was broken on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah, at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association 2016 World of Speed event.

To achieve the horsepower needed to run above 200mph at Bonneville, while adhering to Southern California Timing Association G/BGC rules, the powertrain was specially modified by THR Manufacturing, based in Santa Paula, California. With new turbochargers, pistons, camshafts, connecting rods, and head modifications, it produced 543hp and 570Nm of torque at the wheels: at the flywheel, that would be more than 600hp and nearly 678Nm.

“We are completely thrilled with the Beetle LSR’s performance at Bonneville. The Beetle is not the most aerodynamic car in our portfolio, so running 205 mph is a testament to the power that can be made from the EA888 TSI four-cylinder engine. This feat truly underscores the sporty and pugnacious spirit of the Beetle,” said Hendrik Muth, senior VP, product marketing and strategy, Volkswagen of America.

The Beetle also had many other changes. The suspension was lowered, special Salt Flat wheels and tires fitted, a limited-slip differential added to aid traction, and the interior was stripped and outfitted with full safety equipment, such as a rollcage, racing seat and harness, and a fire suppression system. To help slow the car down, the Beetle was fitted with a pair of parachutes.

Volkswagen’s stock Beetle R-Line coupe model features a EA888 turbocharged and direct-injection 2.0-liter TSI engine that makes 210hp and 280Nm (achieved using premium fuel), enabling the car to accelerate from 0 to 60mph in just 6.6 seconds and to reach an electronically governed top track speed of 130mph. The engine delivers peak torque from as low as 1,700rpm, giving smooth, effortless acceleration in all the gears. The R-Line comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but a dual-clutch DSG six-speed automatic transmission is optional.

September 20, 2016

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine of the Year Awards.

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