When the wraps came off Volkswagen’s Concept 1 at the Detroit Motor Show in 1994, it not only caused a sensation and stole the show outright, but it signalled the green light for production of the New Beetle shortly afterwards.
Now, revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this weekend, is a new generation of New Beetle - a Ragster study which encapsulates a fresh design, sports car attitude and a glimpse into the future design of the New Beetle.
The Ragster - whose name is derived from a combination of Ragtop and Speedster - has not simply been created by cutting a hole out of the top. Instead, its designers and engineers used the New Beetle Cabriolet as their base; they shortened the A-pillar by around 90 mm and penned a U-shaped roof fixing as a frame for the canvas top. Overall, this makes the Ragster 103 mm lower than the standard New Beetle, while the wheelarches also have a flatter appearance.
At the front, you can’t help but notice the Ragster’s silver double stripes which extend from the spoiler, through the bonnet’s VW roundel, and up to the windscreen. At the rear, newly designed tail lights are integrated into the bumpers, while chrome plated double exhaust pipes complete the look. Imposing 19” alloy wheels are complemented by distinctive red-striped low profile tyres.
Inside, the Ragster is a 2+2 seater, with leather sports car bucket seats and distinctive controls and dials. Unusually, the rear-view mirror is mounted on the dashboard. The roof can be opened and closed electronically using a switch on the steering wheel, which also incorporates a number of other controls. Under the bonnet, there is space for any one of the sophisticated range of engines currently used in the New Beetle - petrol or diesel.
A decision on whether the Ragster will go into production has yet to be taken.
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