With wings, this crazy beetle could have taken flight. Amazing!

How do you make a modern Volkswagen Beetle cool? Well, you start by infusing it with a bubble bursting 600 horsepower, slam it on the ground, throw in lots of racing equipment, and a set of wheels and tires suited for the Salt Flats. Then, after you do all of that, you take it to the Salt Flats and push it harder than any Beetle has ever gone before. How fast it that? Well; fast enough that it would fly if it had wings. Alright, in all seriousness, though. The Beetle you see here just hit 205.122 mph over a flying mile, which just so happens to be the fastest time ever recorded for a Beetle.

It all went down in Wendover, Utah during the 2016 World of Speed event that is hosted by the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association with Contributing Editor for Automobile Magazine, Preston Lerner, at the helm. The Beetle LSR obviously isn’t your average Beetle and was extensively modified, including engine work by none other than THR Manufacturing out of Santa Paula, California.

"Exceeding 200 miles per hour in the Beetle LSR was a serious thrill," said Lerner. "We had 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."

Volkswagen’s Senior Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy, Dr. Hendrik Muth, was very happy with the LSR’s performance, saying, “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.”

And, he’s right – it is quite an achievement for a big bubble on wheels, so we’ve decided to take a closer look at it. Keep reading to learn all about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Beetle LSR.

  • 2016 Volkswagen Beetle LSR
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    600
  • Torque @ RPM:
    500
  • Top Speed:
    205 mph
  • car segment:
  • body style:

What makes the Volkswagen Beetle LSR special

It was just months ago that we began hearing rumors that the Volkswagen Beetle was nearing the end of its life cycle yet again, with the alleged year of its demise being 2018. And, while VW has yet to say much about it, the Beetle itself is fighting back by proving itself worthy of gearheads everywhere. It’s one thing to throw some turbos at a Mazda Miata and get it up to 200 mph, but it’s something completely different to work over a Beetle so much that it can hit such a hair-raising speed. To start off in building this jaw-dropping Beetle, THR Manufacturing ripped the engine apart and turned it into a monster – a monster so angry and powerful that it produces 543 horsepower and 421 pound-feet of torque at the wheels, or more than 600 ponies and upward of 500 pound-feet at the flywheel.

The Recipe that made this 205-mph Beetle is an extensive one that started out with one primary ingredient – the 2016 Beetle R-Line 2.0T Coupe. With just 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque on tap, the thought of hitting more than 200 mph in this car seems sketchy at best, but once THR Manufacturing got its hands on it, things began to fall together. First, the engine was torn completely down and rebuilt with new pistons, connecting rods, and camshafts. The heads were also modified, however, to what extent is currently unknown. I suspect lightweight pistons and connecting rods were used. I also suspect THR probably bored the cylinders a bit and milled the heads, which would constitute slightly larger pistons and valves. There is no word as to what kind of turbochargers were used, or at what pressure they run, but the car also got a brand new set of turbos to help channel as much air as possible into the intake manifold of that little 2.0-liter gasoline engine.

THR Manufacturing ripped the engine apart and turned it into a monster – a monster so angry and powerful that it produces 543 horsepower and 421 pound-feet of torque at the wheels, or more than 600 ponies and upward of 500 pound-feet at the flywheel.

Obviously, there’s more to building a 200-mph Beetle than engine modifications. Looking at the pictures here, you can see that the Beetle was lowered significantly. Assumingly, this was done by adding lowering springs and shorter shocks and struts and accounts for what looks to be at least a two-inch drop in ride height. In addition to the suspension work, this Beetle also got a limited-slip differential to help in the traction department, and it wouldn’t have been able to achieve that 205-mph speed without a special set of wheels and tires designed specifically for seemingly suicidal runs on the Salt Flats. And, every true speed enthusiast knows you’ve got to have a fair amount of stopping power available to help control the beast when it gets out of control. This came in the shape of two parachutes mounted to the back end. Surely, the stock brake system was also upgraded, however, there is no word as to what components were modified or to what extent.

Inside, the LSR is all about business, so there are no creature comforts as we know them. In fact, the entire interior was stripped in exchange for full-on racing equipment that includes a roll cage and a good fire suppression system, you know, to keep the driver from getting crispy should something drastic happen during its run on the Flats. As expected, there are also full-fledged racing seats and five-point harnesses to get the driver firmly seated in place. None of this should come as a surprise, though. I mean, I sure wouldn’t want to push a beetle into aviation speed territory without ample safety equipment.

The LSR in the same territory as the Porsche 911 Carrera S, and it’s 4.1-second sprint to 60 mph or the Lamborghini Huracán LP580-2, and it’s 3.4-second sprint to 60 mph

There’s no word on what kind of performance numbers this beetle can produce with that little EA888 2.0-liter mill other than that insane top speed. But, with the stock R-Line able to hit 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds, you can imagine the LSR probably does the same sprint in about four seconds. For the record, that puts the LSR in the same territory as the Porsche 911 Carrera S, and it’s 4.1-second sprint to 60 mph and 190 mph top speed or the Lamborghini Huracán LP580-2, and it’s 3.4-second sprint and 199 mph top speed. That’s right, in a straight line, this Beetle LSR can beat out the Porsche 911 and Lamborghini Huracán in top speed. Furthermore, it would be interesting to see the 911 Carrera S and the LSR make a side-by-side run.

And, there you have it. The Beetle LSR has literally shocked the world with an amazing top speed of 205.122 mph. It probably won’t stop VW from issuing a death warrant for the car come 2018, but at least it will have something really cool in the record books before it bids farewell. Plus, in a weird kind of way, hitting this record pays at least some respect to the racing heritage of the original Beetle from years past. Now the question is, how many of you TopSpeeders out there are going to take the wife’s beetle and turn it into a Porsche killing monster? It’s certainly an enticing idea, isn’t it?

Press Release

Volkswagen of America, Inc., today announced that its specially tuned Volkswagen Beetle LSR, powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder TSI® gasoline engine, has achieved 205.122 mph over a flying mile—the fastest speed ever recorded for a Beetle. The car was driven by Automobile magazine contributing Editor Preston Lerner on the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah, at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association (USFRA) 2016 World of Speed event.

2016 Volkswagen Beetle LSR High Resolution Exterior
- image 688692

To achieve the horsepower needed to run above 200 mph at Bonneville, while 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.

2016 Volkswagen Beetle LSR High Resolution Exterior
- image 688699

“We are completely thrilled with the Beetle LSR’s performance at Bonneville,” said Dr. Hendrik Muth, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “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.”

Obviously, the Beetle 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. Plus, to help slow the car down, the Beetle was fitted with a pair of parachutes.

2016 Volkswagen Beetle LSR High Resolution Exterior
- image 688694

"Exceeding 200 miles per hour in the Beetle LSR was a serious thrill," said driver Preston Lerner, a contributing Editor at Automobile Magazine. "We had 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."

Volkswagen’s stock Beetle R-Line® coupe model features a EA888 turbocharged and direct-injection 2.0-liter TSI engine that makes 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque (achieved using premium fuel), enabling the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds and to reach an electronically governed top track speed of 130 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.

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