The Volkswagen Beetle is sticking around for a little while, but there's no replacement on the horizon. German tuner Abt is showing that there's still some life in the aging vehicle by showing off a highly customized example. This isn't just a show car, either. This special Beetle Convertible is a commission by a managing director of a medium-size company.
This droptop Beetle features a bronze wrap with a slightly matte finish, and the exterior logos are black. The model also wears Abt's 19-inch wheels with five sets of double spokes and what the firm calls a silver-bullet finish.
For improved performance, Abt installs engine upgrades that take the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder to 286 hp (213 kilowatts) and instead of the stock 217 hp (162 kW). The firm also fits its brake upgrade that includes six-piston calipers and 14.57-inch (370 millimeter) rotors. New springs lower the ride height.
Inside, Abt gives the Beetle Convertible a significant upgrade. The company covers the dashboard, portions of the center stack, and door panels with black leather. Hides even upholster the door handles, pillars, and even the sun visors. The seats feature attractive diamond stitching. As a final flourish, carbon fiber trim provides a sporty contrast.
Volkswagen's plan for the Beetle's future is to keep it in production but not create a new one. The model's popularity has dipped significantly in recent years – particularly in the United States. In 2017, the company delivered 15,166 for the entire year – down 3.2 percent from 2016. Through April 2018, VW has delivered 5,347 of them – a 1.1 percent year-over-year drop.
Rumors suggest that VW might revive the Beetle's round shape in a few years as a fully electric vehicle. Since the company intends to take inspiration from the Type 2 van with the upcoming production version of the I.D. Buzz, the idea doesn't seem too crazy.
Gallery: Abt-customized VW Beetle Convertible
ABT Sportsline 2018 – press release CW18
A unique Beetle – ABT Individual presents one-of-a-kind vehicle
With 350,000 species, beetles are the worldwide largest order of insects. ABT Sportsline from Germany also ensures almost unlimited variety when it comes to the automotive counterpart – the Volkswagen Beetle. And not only there: on request, the dedicated ABT Individual department can turn any car from the Volkswagen and Audi Group into a “solitaire”. “We can offer anyone who is looking for a unique car away from the mainstream a one-of-a-kind solution that cannot be provided with tuning from a catalog,” explains CEO Hans-Jürgen Abt. It is not just about differentiation, but also about implementing personal color and material preferences which were not intended by the original car designers. After all, it is unavoidable to limit the range for standard products at a certain point. “A car from ABT Individual is obvious at first glance – or not,” Abt continues: “Some customers want cars where everyone immediately reaches for their smartphone camera when they see it. Others again enjoy details that nobody else will notice. Our customers have very different characters, which makes this type of project so interesting.”
One of the latest projects – a VW Beetle convertible – was designed and rebuilt for the managing director of a medium-size company. The car has a full film wrap in a subdued shade of bronze and is elegantly understated. The different nature becomes obvious primarily in the “undertones”, such as brand logos painted black. Another distinctive detail are the 19” wheels of type ABT ER-C which ABT Individual specially painted in a silver-bullet shade. As a standard, the attractive wheel for the Beetle is supplied only in gun-metal or matt black. Thanks to the open design, the 6-piston brake calipers and the 370 x 35 mm brake discs of the ABT sport brake system are well visible on the front axle. The ABT Power boost provides an impressive 290 HP (213 kW) where the production model only has 220 HP (162 kW). At the same time, the maximum torque increased to 430 Nm – 80 Nm more than the series engine can provide.
But the true highlights of the conversion only become evident when sitting in the car or when the top is down: the extensive saddler’s craft work in the interior. Where the original is dominated by dark plastic, this model is a dream in leather and carbon. ABT used elegant leather to cover the dashboard, its substructure, the console for the auxiliary instruments and the door center parts including the arm rests from front to rear. Finest leather also adorns the door handles, the inside of the roof pillars, the sun blinds and entrance areas as well as the column, wheel and airbag of the steering wheel assembly. To satisfy the sporty character of this unique beetle, the ABT Individual team also covered all black plastic panels on the interior with real carbon. Overall, all conversions are of the highest grade. Only the suspension is “low” – thanks to carefully set up ABT suspension springs. The leading tuner for Volkswagen and Audi shows that, despite the size of the company, detail work can be very individual.