Volkswagen Golf R: Up Close

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Volkswagen teased us at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit with its new 290-horsepower Volkswagen Golf R in two-door form.

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We'll definitely see the new Golf R in the U.S., but this time around it will only be available with four doors. The previous Golf R gave U.S. buyers the choice of four or two doors, and customers overseas will still get that option with the new version. Volkswagen told us that the two-door Golf R was shown in Detroit because it was the same model originally introduced at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

By Joe Bruzek | January 15, 2014 | Comments (0)

Volkswagen Golf R Photo Gallery (20 Photos)

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The Volkswagen Golf R, the performance hatchback based on the seventh-generation Golf and GTI, won't reach dealerships until next year, but we're getting an early look at it here at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Unique gaping bumpers distinguish the Golf R from the GTI. Other exterior features of the Golf R — newly offered only as a four-door hatchback, though VW showed off the two-door model at the show — include xenon high-intensity headlights with horseshoe-ringed LED daytime running lights, standard 18-inch alloy wheels and quad exhaust pipes.

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Inside features include a flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel; new color choices; R badging; sport seats and a 5.8-inch touch-screen. Under the hood of the all-wheel-drive Golf R is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 290 horsepower and 280 pounds-feet of torque (a big boost for both measures) and pairs with a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission. The latter is good for a zero-to-60-mph time of less than 5 seconds. Meanwhile fuel economy improves by 4 mpg to 31 mpg with the manual. Check out the photo gallery below.

By Matt Schmitz | January 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

VW Beetle Dune Concept Car Needs More Dune, Less Beetle

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Search for "Beetle dune buggy" online and what pops up are knobby-tire, flared-fender, jacked-up vintage Beetles ready to blow through the top of a dune. The Volkswagen Beetle Dune concept introduced at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit is a modern "Baja Bug" for the 21st century, though this Beetle Dune doesn't look ready to jump much more than a shallow curb.

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I'm no way an old Beetle enthusiast — they're a die-hard bunch — but this concept goes about 75 percent in the direction of what I'd imagine for a modern dune-buggy concept.

By Joe Bruzek | January 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

Volkswagen Beetle Dune Photo Gallery

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Volkswagen's ski-toting dune buggy turned heads at this year's Detroit auto show, trading the Beetle's cute looks for aggressive wheels and trail-ready styling.

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The Beetle Dune concept has been raised a couple inches and wears yellow-orange metallic paint along with 19-inch alloy wheels, glossy and matte black trim, and chrome details. Based on the R-Line version of the Beetle, it uses the model's 210-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. Check out the gallery below.

By Jennifer Geiger | January 13, 2014 | Comments (8)

Volkswagen Confirms Seven-Seat SUV Will Arrive in 2016

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Reuters reported Friday that Volkswagen could confirm production of a large SUV sometime during this week's 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Well, it happened. In a Monday statement by the German automaker, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn confirmed the automaker had begun work on a seven-seat SUV, which will arrive in 2016. The CrossBlue concept (shown above) previews the SUV, which company officials told the L.A. Times would start below the $45,480 Touareg to compete with the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.

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VW said it planned to invest $7 billion into North America over the next five years, but the automaker didn’t reveal whether the SUV would hail from its Chattanooga, Tenn., plant. Volkswagen also has North American plants in Mexico. Besides an erstwhile collaboration with Chrysler on the Windsor, Ontario-built Routan minivan, the automaker has no other assembly presence in Canada.

By Kelsey Mays | January 13, 2014 | Comments (4)

Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show

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Looks like: A blue Volkswagen Passat
Defining characteristics: Unique Reef Blue Metallic exterior color and BlueMotion badging; two-tone leather interior with BlueMotion-specific stitching
Ridiculous features: None; this is a production-ready car
Chances of being mass-produced: Pretty good

With this week's debut of the Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion concept at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the German automaker says it's out to illustrate just how fuel efficient a gas-only midsize sedan can be. The Passat BlueMotion sedan's turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder with direct injection employs a number of fuel-saving technologies to help the concept achieve an estimated fuel economy of 42 mpg highway, which in real-world mileage would be best in class among non-hybrid cars of its ilk.

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The engine, which makes 150 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque, uses VW's Active Cylinder Management system previously employed in European Polo and Golf models. The system deactivates the valvetrain on cylinders two and three in light throttle situations to maintain specific city speeds. In addition, the Passat BlueMotion has a coasting function — also found on the Jetta Hybrid — in which the dual-clutch automatic transmission decouples the engine as soon as the driver releases the accelerator, allowing the car to roll with the lowest possible mechanical drag from the other moving components, according to VW. The third fuel-saving function used by the Passat BlueMotion is an engine stop-start feature.

By Matt Schmitz | January 13, 2014 | Comments (0)

Volkswagen Golf R at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show

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Competes with: Subaru WRX STi, Ford Focus ST, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Looks like: The redesigned Volkswagen GTI, sans bumper claws
Drivetrain: 290-hp (est.), turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic; all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Early 2015

Witness the next generation of Volkswagen's Golf R, a range-topping performance hatchback based on the seventh-gen Golf and GTI. The latter two cars are on sale overseas but won't hit U.S. dealerships until spring; the Golf R will arrive nearly a year later in early 2015. It's unclear whether it will be a 2015 or 2016 model; Volkswagen spokesman Mark Gillies said the model year is still to be decided.

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The Golf R, debuting at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, competes with the Subaru WRX STi and Ford Focus ST. Mazda has yet to announce plans for a MazdaSpeed version of the redesigned Mazda3, but it's likely we'll see one — and it will compete in this space, too.

By Kelsey Mays | January 10, 2014 | Comments (8)

Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show

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Looks like: VW gives its cute hatchback an edgy off-road look
Defining characteristics: This Beetle was raised 2 inches for more ground clearance
Ridiculous features: VW engineers bolted a pair of skis on the back … for dune skiing?!
Chances of being mass-produced: Similar to a desert mirage, it's likely this car will exist only in your imagination, though Volkswagen said, "the Dune concept shows the potential for a new production version of the sportiest Beetle ever." 

If you thought the only look the Beetle could rock was cute, think again. The Beetle Dune concept debuting at the 2014 North American International Auto Show reveals the hatchback's rugged side with a raised body and all-terrain-looking exterior treatments. Volkswagen says the look harks "back to the VW Bugs that conquered beaches and dunes in times past," but engineers had a different climate in mind — they bolted a pair of skis to the roof. 

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The concept was built off of the sporty R-Line Beetle and uses the model’s 210-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. This new concept builds off of the New Beetle Dune concept that was unveiled at the 2000 Los Angeles Auto Show, and VW says the 2014 version is "a lot more feasible," though VW has not confirmed production plans for the Beetle Dune. 

By Jennifer Geiger | January 10, 2014 | Comments (8)

VW Could Announce New SUV Production Plans Next Week

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The promise of a three-row SUV for Volkswagen is quickly turning into the wait for "Ghostbusters 3." It's been well more than two years since Jonathan Browning, former CEO at Volkswagen Group of America, told us that a large crossover to compete with a slew of established models — including the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and GM's SUV trio — would be "a very natural extension to the brand." VW executives told reporters in October 2012 that the SUV would be built in the U.S.; in January 2013, the automaker issued a preview in the CrossBlue concept SUV at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Two months later, Volkswagen reportedly said it was mulling over an expansion at its Chattanooga, Tenn., plant to build a production version of the full-size SUV.

2014 Detroit Auto Show: What to Expect

Now Reuters reports the automaker may announce production plans in Chattanooga as soon as next week's NAIAS. Still, analysts reportedly told Reuters the SUV would arrive "in 2016 at the earliest." That's late for an automaker whose U.S. sales — including luxury subsidiaries Porsche, Audi, Lamborghini and Bentley — fell 0.6 percent in 2013, well behind the industry's 7.5 percent rise. Volkswagen Group of America's namesake brand accounts for some two-thirds of the automaker's sales.

Volkswagen has said it wants to be the largest global automaker by 2018. China — where Volkswagen is the largest international automaker in terms of car sales — plays a chief role in that, but the VW's U.S. sales fall well behind the Detroit Three and Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai-Kia.

By Kelsey Mays | January 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

VW Announces 2014 Passat Sport Pricing

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When we saw Volkswagen's Passat Performance concept at the last year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it seemed conventional enough to reach mass production. This week, the German automaker announced just that: The 2014 Passat Sport is set to arrive at dealerships in early 2014, starting at $27,295, including an $820 destination charge.

Volkswagen Passat Performance Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show

Volkswagen positions the performance-focused midsize sedan in its lineup between the midlevel SE and range-topping SEL Premium trims. "The 2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport takes a number of design cues from the concept car to offer an athletic-leaning take on the award-winning sedan," the automaker stated.

By Matt Schmitz | January 8, 2014 | Comments (3)

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