We've driven the electric two-seater concept that previews both the Beetle Cabriolet and a Beetle speedster
The VW brand has 46 different models but no two-seater cabriolet – the E-Bugster is a clear indication that a Beetle-based speedster is just around the corner (with petrol and diesel power instead of electric). Based on our short drive, the styling and build-quality are already up to scratch, and since 90 per cent of its parts are shared with the standard Beetle, it should be competitively priced, too.
The E-Bugster is a concept with dual roles. When it first appeared at the Detroit show (and later in Beijing without a roof) its job was to prepare us for the Beetle Cabriolet, but it also previews a two-seater Beetle-based speedster that’s heading for production.
The Bugster’s platform is borrowed from the Beetle cabrio, but with 30mm wider tracks front and rear. It’s also lower than the new Beetle by 90mm and features a smaller and more inclined windscreen. The two-seater layout is partly to create a classic roadster look, but also because the lithium ion batteries in this electric concept are placed behind the front seats.
Inside, there’s a black and white colour scheme with bucket seats and a horizontally mounted iPad in the dash. A power meter shows the instantaneous demand on the battery, remaining range and intensity of battery regeneration. The electric drive system was first created for the VW Golf EV so gets the same 113bhp and 270Nm of torque.
The first thing we noticed is this is a very close to production concept car – unlike other concepts the door closes with a satisfying thud. On the move there were no rattles or squeaks.
Find some corners and it feels relatively light (it’s just 120 kg heavier than a comparable Beetle 1.4 TSI) and well balanced, although we were limited to just 25mph on our test route. Even so, the suspension tuning was quite sporty and the brakes, taken from the Audi TT-RS felt strong.
Right now there are customer clinics underway to determine the feasibility of this fun car. If they give it the thumbs up, the first VW Roadster could be given the green light within the next 12 months.
- Price: TBC
- Engine: Electric motor
- Power/torque: 113bhp/270Nm
- 0-62mph: 10.8 seconds
- Top speed: 90mph
- Range: 93 miles
- Charge time: 9 hours
- Equipment: Bucket seats, integrated iPad, 20-inch alloys, LED running lights, push-button start, removeable roof
- On sale: 2014