A specially tuned Volkswagen Beetle recently reached 205.122 mph (330.2 km/h) over a flying mile — the fastest speed ever recorded for a Beetle. It was achieved at the annual Bonneville World of Speed event in America.
The Beetle was powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder TSI petrol engine, has 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.
To achieve the horsepower needed to run above 200 mph (320 km/h) at Bonneville, while adhering to Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) G/BGC rules, the powertrain was specially modified by THR Manufacturing in California. With new turbochargers, pistons, camshafts, connecting rods, and head modifications, it produced 543 bhp/570 Nm at the wheels; at the flywheel, that would be more than 600 bhp and nearly 680 Nm.
“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 4-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 tyres 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.
“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.”