205mph VW Beetle is the fastest VW Beetle in the world | Top Gear
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205mph VW Beetle is the fastest VW Beetle in the world

543bhp modified VW sets blistering top speed at Bonneville Salt Flats

Published: 19 Sep 2016
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Volkswagen Beetles aren’t really known for their outright speed, but thanks to a few modifications, VW has managed to get this tuned Beetle 'LSR' beyond the magic 200mph mark at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

At the hands of driver Preston Lerner, it clocked a whopping 205.122mph over a flying mile, making it the fastest Beetle this three-dimensional reality has ever known.

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“Exceeding 200 miles per hour in the Beetle LSR was a serious thrill,” said Lerner afterwards. “We had enough power to go even faster if the salt hadn't been so sketchy. But seeing 208 miles per hour briefly on the digital readout was an experience I'll never forget.”

As you’d expect, the alterations needed to achieve such a feat were significant to say the least. Volkswagen went to the trouble of bringing in specialists THR Manufacturing, who gave the 2.0-litre engine a new turbocharger, pistons, camshafts and connecting rods to help boost performance.

And if that wasn’t enough, VW followed those additions with improvements of their own; lowering the suspension, fitting better wheels and tyres, and stripping out the interior to make way for a rollcage.

The result? A machine capable of delivering 543bhp and 421lb ft of torque. No wonder they added parachutes to aid braking...

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“The Beetle is not the most aerodynamic car in our portfolio, so running 205mph is a testament to the power that can be made from the EA888 TSI four-cylinder engine,” said VW’s Dr Hendrik Muth. “This feat truly underscores the sporty and pugnacious spirit of the Beetle.”

He can say that again.

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