A specially-modified Beetle hits a whopping 328 kmph at the annual World of Speed event at Bonneville
The Volkswagen Beetle has been many things, but being associated with speeds that belong in the supercar territory isn’t one of them. But then, that’s just it, right? Take a car that nobody expects to fly, give it a souped up engine and watch it shatter speed records—it’s the stuff of historic headlines. And Volkswagen did just that.
The German car maker rolled out a specially-tuned Volkswagen Beetle fitted with a turbo-charged 2.0-litre direct injection engine (TSI) that managed to hit a stonking 328.195 kmph over a distance of one mile (a little over 1.6 km) at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The version prepared for the record was called the Beetle LSR (Land Speed Record—direct and effective, just like everything German we know). And it managed to prove its mettle at the World of Speed event, which has been a long-standing tradition at the Salt Lake in Bonneville.
So how does one get a Beetle to go that fast? Well, for starters, it got a new turbocharger, different pistons, a new camshaft, connecting rods and cylinder head modifications in order to churn out a peak power output of 550PS and a peak torque of 571Nm from a 2.0-litre engine.
Apart from that, the Beetle LSR was equipped with special wheels and tyres, the body was lowered to reduce drag and improve stability at high speeds and Volkswagen also fitted it with a limited slip differential in order to improve traction, so it could find purchase on the surface of the flats.
The car was also equipped with a state-of-the-art safety package, which included a roll cage, racing seat with five-point harness and a fire extinguishing system. But the coolest bit about the ‘bug’ is the fact that it featured two brake parachutes to slow it down once it hit top speed. That’s some sight to look out for, isn’t it?
—Vikram Gour @VikramGour