VW Beetle Dune: It’s golden–figuratively and literally

11 Jul 2016 | 891 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds The fun thing about Volkswagen's Beetle is that it can be transformed into countless distinctive versions, each with its own personality. This time around, some bold colors, striking interior features and some nifty exterior features have resulted in the 2016 Beetle Dune, a way cool version of the Beetle that looks as though it belongs somewhere out west on a vast desert. 2016_beetle_dune_5731   What VW does is take a basic Beetle coupe, give  it coat of a gorgeous yellow gold color called Sandstorm Yellow (or Pure White or Deep Black Pearl, if you prefer), add an out of this world interior with seats that in the case of our test car, ere done with golden yellow piping, and a black and yellow gold instrument panel with same yellow gold stitching on the shifter. Then you install some really sick (that's "good" sick) Canyon alloy wheels with yellow gold trim and gray-black shadings along the inside of the wheels, add raised suspension and wider track, dune front and rear bumpers, a arge rear spoiler, silver mirror caps, and black wheel arches and running board. More specifically, the Dune’s raised ride height of 0.4 inches and a body that is 0.6 inches wider give it a more rugged stance. Up front, you will notice that  the bumper features a large central air intake that widens towards its bottom edge, and a black honeycomb screen has an aluminum-look surround that morphs into the front skid plate. On either side of the intake, two black honeycomb vents contain the foglights. A Lighting Package will be available, which will add Bi-Xenon headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights and LED rear license plate lighting. The side view is what seems to get everybody talking. You will see that there is a strong  contrast between the polished aluminum sills and black trim strips that will remind old timers like me of the original Beetle running boards back in the day.  And then there are those  18-inch Canyon aluminum-alloy wheels I mentioned earlier with 235/45 all-season tires. The side mirrors have contrasting black lower portions and Reflex Silver uppers, and “Dune” graphics are displayed on both doors. At the back, the Dune features a large rear spoiler, standard LED taillights, and a new bumper design that integrates matte black and aluminum elements, as at the front of the car. The rear diffuser also acts as a skid plate. Inside, the 2016 Beetle Dune features sport seats with contrasting orange stitching ---personally I think it's more gold than orange--and the leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel. Standard equipment includes the new MIB II infotainment system, which serves as the foundation for Volkswagen’s available Car-Net® suite of features. VW Car-Net connectivity includes App-Connect technology which allows integration with the three major smartphone platforms—Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®—allowing seamless integration for compatible smartphones.   The Dune is fitted with the Composition Media infotainment system that has a 6.3-inch screen with a capacitive touch sensor (similar to smartphone and tablet technology) that enables gesture controls like swiping and pinch-zooming. MIB II also features a proximity sensor, which detects when a hand is nearby and automatically switches its display to allow easier selection of specific features. USB and Bluetooth® connectivity for compatible devices are standard, along with a rearview camera and the Park Distance Control (Park Pilot) system. A Technology Package will also be available, which adds Climatronic® dual-zone automatic climate control, the award-winning Fender® Premium Audio System, KESSY® keyless access with push-button start, and a tilt-and-slide sunroof. There are plenty of safety minded features on the Dune as well. It comes with Automatic Post-Collision Braking System as standard. This builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System helps address this by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage. Other standard safety features include standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and front and head-thorax side airbags. Does it work? You bet!  Everyone who glanced at it stopped and asked questions. People were gathered around the car everytime I returned to it. Everything from "cute" to "gorgeous" came rolling off the tongues of onlookers everywhere. In fact, I would say  that this was one of the  most popular cars I have ever driven. “The new Dune successfully captures the iconic spirit of Baja Beetles, with a more rugged feel and amenities never before offered on the third-generation Beetle,” said Joerg Sommer, Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “With its sporty and aggressive design and a number of the new technology features, we are confident that the Dune will appeal to both new and returning Beetle customers.” The 2016 Beetle Dune will be available in three exterior colors: Sandstorm Yellow, Pure White, or Deep Black Pearl. Sandstorm Yellow cars have an interior that features body color upper door trims and dashpads, whereas the Pure White and Deep Black Pearl vehicles have black door and dashpad trim. The Beetle Dune is equipped with a 1.8-liter direct-injection and turbocharged TSI® four-cylinder engine, offering 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Dune Convertible goes on sale in the U.S. after the Coupe and will arrive in showrooms during the third quarter of 2016. Gas mileage ratings are 25 city, 34 highway, and 28 overall. Performance wise, the Dune feels much like any other Beetle--fast, fun to drive, and with steering that is precise, and handling that is definitely among the better compact on the market.  You won't have to do lots of correcting to the steering and the brakes are strong and reassuring with a lot of grabbing or oversensitivity. But the Dune's special features and stance make it feel even more rugged and more planted on the road than the standard Beetle does--which is no slouch in this category either. I really had no problems with the Dune, except it was a bit tight in the back seat and even with the mechanisms provided with the car for entry and exit, my kids still struggled to get in the back seat. But when they got there, oh, boy! They loved this car, just like almost everybody I ran into. Score a winner for Volkswagen's creativity and ingenuity.  

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