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Fastest ever Volkswagen Beetle smashes 200mph

Volkswagen has developed the fastest ever Beetle - achieving 205.122 mph over a flying mile.

VW took the specially tuned Beetle LSR - powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder TSI petrol engine - to the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

The car was driven by Automobile magazine contributing Editor Preston Lerner at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association (USFRA) 2016 World of Speed event. To achieve the horsepower needed to run over 200 mph, while adhering to Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) G/BGC rules, the powertrain was specially modified with new turbochargers, pistons, camshafts, connecting rods, and head modifications. It now sends 543 horsepower and 421 pound-feet of torque to the wheels: at the flywheel, VW says that would be more than 600 hp and nearly 500 lb-ft.

“The Beetle is not the most aerodynamic car in our portfolio, so running 205 mph is a testament to the power that can be made from the EA888 TSI four-cylinder engine. This feat truly underscores the sporty and pugnacious spirit of the Beetle.” said Dr. Hendrik Muth, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Obviously, the Beetle had many other changes. The suspension was lowered, special Salt Flat wheels and tyres fitted, a limited-slip differential added to aid traction and the interior was stripped with full safety equipment added such as a rollcage, racing seat and harness as well as a fire suppression system. To help slow the car down, the Beetle was fitted with a pair of parachutes.

"Exceeding 200 miles per hour in the Beetle LSR was a serious thrill," said driver Preston Lerner. “We had enough power to go even faster if the salt hadn't been so sketchy."

The production Beetle R-Line coupe is powered by a turbocharged and direct-injection 2.0-litre TSI engine with 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque (achieved using premium fuel), enables the car to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds and to reach an electronically governed top speed of 130 mph. The R-Line comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, while a dual-clutch DSG six-speed automatic is available as an option.