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Despite a new redesign featuring a wider stance and lower, more aggressive lines, Volkswagen's newest Beetle still sports a curvaceous exterior that might not appeal to those seeking brawny performance. VW is hoping to change that with the Beetle R Concept, a souped-up version of the retro hatchback that debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

Featuring Volkswagen's familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the Beetle R Concept is undoubtedly tuned beyond the standard Beetle 2.0T's 200 horsepower. Volkswagen maintains that the Beetle R Concept really is just a concept and hasn't released any official details, but the similarly tuned 2012 Golf R is expected to have around 260 horsepower when it arrives in the US next spring.

Exterior mods to the Beetle R Concept certainly up its testosterone level. The "Serious Gray" colored hatchback features oversized front brakes with blue calipers, wider front and rear bumpers, enlarged air intakes and five-spoke, 20-inch "Talladega" chrome alloy wheels. Other upgrades include quad exhaust, a fixed rear spoiler and an aggressive rear bumper design with ducts for brake cooling.

The Beetle R Concept also features sporty revisions inside, including Nappa leather-upholstered sport bucket seats with embossed "R" logos and contrasting colors on the dashboard and gear lever. Other upgrades to the sporty Beetle's cabin include high-gloss black finish, brushed-aluminum pedals, dashboard-mounted auxiliary gauges and a beefy steering wheel featuring audio controls and paddles for manual shifting.

While Volkswagen won't commit yet to producing the Beetle R Concept, we wouldn't be surprised to see it join the Beetle's range sometime soon - especially since the automaker has developed high-performance versions of the Beetle in the past. If the Beetle R does make it to dealerships, expect a base price somewhere above $30,000, since a well-optioned 2.0T model already starts around $26,000.


See more coverage of the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.


JEFFREY ARCHER is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on
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