This is Volkswagen’s modern-day beach buggy | Top Gear
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Saturday 23rd September
Geneva Motor Show

This is Volkswagen’s modern-day beach buggy

Get the surfboards out, the ID Buggy has arrived

Published: 04 Mar 2019

These days, if we told you that a new outdoor lifestyle-based car was being previewed, we’re pretty sure you’d shrug your shoulders and imagine a jacked-up estate with some plastic bumpers and fake skid plates glued on. 

Luckily this Volkswagen isn't that. Not even close. 

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Over half a century ago Bruce Meyers – an engineer, artist, boat builder and surfer from California - decided to re-body a Volkswagen Beetle with a lightweight plastic body and steel rollover bars. His creation spawned an entire beach buggy culture across the world that lasted for the next two decades. And now VW wants to bring it all back.

This is the ID Buggy concept, and although VW claims it’s a ‘retro-free interpretation’ of the original, the raised wings, high shoulders and lack of doors or a roof make it instantly recognisable.

Where the new buggy also harks back to its father is its rear-wheel drive set-up. Although instead of a four-cylinder boxer engine out the back, the new kid on the block features a 62kWh battery and 201bhp electric motor that’s good for 155 miles on a single charge – best to keep it away from the waves though.

That motor will get you from zero to 62mph in 7.2 seconds and hit a limited (and really rather blustery) top speed of 99mph, so it certainly isn’t sluggish.

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Performance isn’t what this concept was built for though, and as much as those chunky tyres and aluminium skid plates hint at off-road ability, that probably wasn’t the aim either.

The buggy was built to prove that VW’s future electric cars will be fun, and that they won’t lose the spirit of the brand’s counterculture past.

For example, much like with the old Beetle-based buggy, the Germans are encouraging private companies and start-ups to adapt the body – even saying that a 2+2 version would be possible if you want to bring your kids on a dune-bashing trip.

The new-age drivetrain is all integrated in Volkswagen’s MEB platform, which has now spawned five ID concepts, and its skateboard-style chassis means that pretty much any body type can be bolted on the top. You can even add an additional electric motor in the front axle if you’d like four-wheel drive.

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For now, we just have the one example built by VW themselves – looks great though doesn’t it? Those LED headlights up front are designed to look like little eyes and the weatherproof interior should be able to withstand a good kicking from all of your lifestyle activities.

Plus, if the rain does come down to spoil your day at the beach there’s an ultra-cool looking canvas roof to stretch across the top. For some reason VW is referring to this as a tarpaulin. Since when did designers start underselling their work?

The design has certainly been a big hit here at TG towers, although our only question is why hasn’t Volkswagen put it on a beach for the press shots?

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