A specially-tuned Volkswagen Beetle LSR just hit 205MPH on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, making it the world’s fastest VW Beetle, and one of the fastest four-cylinder cars from any manufacturer.
The world’s fastest VW Beetle is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder TSI gasoline engine. Plus, 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.
Just typing that description takes my breath away.
To help slow the car down at the end of the scorching one-mile speed run, the souped-up R-Line Beetle also was fitted with a pair of parachutes attached to the back. It’s the same idea as the huge parachutes that slow down a US Navy jet landing on an aircraft carrier.
The record-setting driver was not a professional driver, but a journalist, although one with top automotive chops: Automobile Magazine contributing editor Preston Lerner. The feat was during the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association (USFRA) 2016 World of Speed event earlier this month.
To achieve the horsepower needed to run above 200MPH at Bonneville, while also adhering to Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) G/BGC rules, the powertrain was specially modified by THR Manufacturing, based in Santa Paula, Calif.
With new turbochargers, pistons, camshafts, connecting rods, and head modifications, it produced 543 horsepower and 421 pound-feet of torque at the wheels: at the flywheel, that would be more than 600 hp and nearly 500 lb-ft. Got that? Not something the mechanic down the block can do.
“Exceeding 200 miles per hour in the Beetle LSR was a serious thrill,” Lerner said after the experience, adding there was “enough power to go even faster if the salt hadn’t been so sketchy. But seeing 208 miles per hour briefly on the digital readout was an experience I’ll never forget.”
It’s good news for Volkswagen, which has been mired in the fall-out from the “Dieselgate” scandal, which has cost the company billions of dollars in lost sales and fines for playing fast and loose with diesel emissions and fuel economy reporting.
- Read my article on SheBuysCars.com on what the Dieselgate scandal means to you.
VW Beetle R-Line
VW’s souped-up Beetle R-Line® model features a EA888 turbocharged and direct-injection 2.0-liter TSI engine that kicks out 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. That enables the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds. Top speed is electronically governed at 130MPH mph. The engine delivers peak torque from as low as 1700 rpm, 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. Unlike “regular” Beetle models, R-Line models require premium grade gasoline.