Volkswagen unveils its ‘rugged’ 2016 Beetle Dune


Embattled Volkswagen has revealed the production version of its new Beetle, a "more rugged" edition of the automaker's world famous road vehicle.

The 2016 Beetle Dune incorporates qualities of the classic off-road Baja Bugs, the automaker announced Tuesday, which were modified Beetles that became popular in the 1960s. It aims to add a sportier, more adventurous character to the traditional Beetle design.

2016 Beetle Dune
Credit: © Copyright Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Volkswagen has reworked the style of its product, including a revamped front bumper, a large rear spoiler and 18-inch "Canyon" aluminum-alloy wheels.

To emphasize its "all-terrain" qualities, the car's ride height has been raised 0.4 inches, and the Dune's stance has been widened by 0.6 inches. The car will be equipped with a 1.8 liter gasoline four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission.

On the inside, the 2016 Dune vehicle will be kitted out with sport seats, along with an array of technology to add a fresh take on the old Baja Bugs. The Dune will include VW's entertainment and connectivity systems, which allows the car to hook up to specific smartphone platforms.

If customers desire it, there are two packages: the "lighting package" with LED license plate lighting and running lights; and the "technology package" which has a dual-zone automatic climate control and a sound system created by amplifier manufacturer, Fender. The vehicle will be available in both coupe and convertible.

2016 Beetle Dune
Credit: © Copyright Volkswagen of America, Inc.

While prices have yet to be announced in the U.S., in Europe the Beetle Dune will start from 23,625 euros ($25,200) for the Coupe, and from 27,800 euros ($29,650) for the Cabriolet (convertible).

On top of this, the automaker is also paying its respect to its 1970s Jeans Bug with a special edition denim version: "2016 Beetle Denim." It gives the new car a contemporary makeover which includes jeans-inspired seat pockets, and a light blue and silver dashpad.

Both the Beetle Dune and Beetle Denim will be available in the U.S. from early 2016; however the Dune Convertible will arrive later in 2016.

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This announcement comes at a difficult time for the automaker, who has recently been dealing with the backlash from its emissions scandal.

This September, Volkswagen (VW) told U.S. dealers to halt sales of some of its diesel cars, after regulators discovered that software designed for some of VW's vehicles were giving false emissions data.

The latest news came on Tuesday, when data from the Association of European Carmakers (ACEA) showed that European sales and market share had slipped in October for Volkswagen.

Over the recent months, analysts know one thing for certain: it will be a long uphill struggle for the automaker to fix its reputation with consumers.

"Getting this reputation issue solved is a Herculean task. I'm not sure how they will approach this and how they will get consumer confidence over time," Christian Ludwig, automotive analyst at Bankhaus Lampe, told CNBC's Worldwide Exchange in September.

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By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her on Twitter @AlexGibbsy.