Volkswagen brought a quartet of Beetle concepts to the New York Auto Show, but the one that deserves the most attention is the Beetle R-Line Concept. Showing off a flashier and more aggressive exterior design, the R-Line Concept could hint at a sportier body kit for the current Beetle’s turbocharged R-Line model. As we’ve already seen in the current Beetle’s life span, this car continues to be a blank canvas for special edition models.

With the Volkswagen Beetle design going on four years now, though, there is also a chance that this concept hints a potential next-gen version of the Beetle R-Line. This trim level was introduced for the 2014 model year as a replacement for the Beetle Turbo, and it is currently the sportiest version of the iconic hatchback. The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line Concept takes this a step further by tweaking the R-Line’s styling and performance.

Updated 09/22/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Beetle R-Line concept.

  • 2015 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line Concept
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    217
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

As the most extreme Beetle concept unveiled, the Beetle R-Line Concept starts off with an attention-grabbing Onyx White Pearl paint job with plenty of contrasting gloss black trim. The front fascia shows off a little more aggression with added air intakes front and center to feed more air to the turbocharged engine, while the rear of the car shows off a lower diffuser and a large whale-tail spoiler. Perhaps the biggest improvement made to this concept was the 20-inch wheels tucked under the fenders, which have been widened to make this concept 0.6 inch wider than the production Beetle.

Interior

To match its sporty exterior, Volkswagen gave the R-Line Concept a worthy interior, with sport bucket seats and faux carbon fiber trim. It did not release any interior images of the concept, but it says that the cabin is distinctive with yellow trim and contrast stitching to tie in with the exterior paint work.

Drivetrain

The engine of the R-Line Concept isn’t quite as extreme as the exterior design, but VW does manage to squeeze an extra seven horsepower from the standard R-Line’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine; output is now rated at 217 horsepower. As a concept vehicle, it would have been much better to see the Golf R’s 292-horsepower engine, so maybe VW has some production intentions for this car after all.

Prices

Currently, the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line has pricing that starts at $25,450 and ranges up to $31,375, but it isn’t clear what sort of plans, if any, VW has in store for the R-Line Concept.

Competition

Hyundai Veloster Turbo

2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo High Resolution Exterior
- image 617086

When it comes to fun and funky hatchbacks, the Hyundai Veloster Turbo is an easy choice. The asymmetrical three-door configuration adds to the Veloster’s unique appearance, making it a key rival against the style-driven Beetle. Powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, the Veloster Turbo has an output of 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, and new for 2016, the Veloster Turbo can be equipped with a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission.

Read our full review of the Hyundai Veloster Turbo here.

Ford Focus ST

2015 Ford Focus ST High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 557819

While the Beetle R-Line and Veloster Turbo use their styling to stand out, the Ford Focus ST is all about performance. Until the new Ford Focus RS comes along, the Focus ST stands as the top-performing Focus, with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that lays down an impressive 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque.

Read our full review of the Ford Focus ST here.

Conclusion

Although it’s far from a full-fledged Beetle R, which would be really cool in its own right, the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line Concept shows how sporty the current Beetle can look. VW isn’t saying what it plans to do with any of the Beetle concepts it revealed in New York, but each would have an interesting place in the car’s current lineup.

  • Leave it
    • * Doesn’t have the Golf R’s 292-horsepower engine
    • * Concept’s styling could never make it to production

Press Release

Today’s Beetle differs conceptually from the New Beetle, having a lower roof and longer hood to give sportier lines, even though its silhouette features the iconic graphic of three semi-circles for the front and rear fenders and the roof. The Beetle R-Line concept, powered by a 217-hp 2.0-liter TSI engine, takes this further and makes an extremely sporty statement.

2015 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line Concept
- image 624849

The Beetle R-Line concept is finished in Oryx White Pearl effect paint and has a customized exterior featuring aggressive bumpers that have large air vents at the front and wrap-around high-gloss black moldings that extend down the sides of the car. Other visual changes include a rear diffuser, painted black exterior mirror caps, a large rear spoiler and 20-inch Monterey aluminum-alloy wheels. The Beetle R-Line concept is 0.6 inches wider than the standard production car.

The interior is equipped with upgraded sport bucket seats. In addition, numerous interior features, including the dashpad, door inserts and steering wheel spoke trim, have a carbon fiber-style finish. Forming a distinctive contrast is the yellow finish of the instruments and the decorative stitching in the cabin.

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Press release
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