You need a 210bhp, mid-engined Beetle speedster | Top Gear
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You need a 210bhp, mid-engined Beetle speedster

The sun’s out. Time to drive a riotous, roofless old VW

Published: 18 Apr 2018

Today, Britain has woken up to a mystical golden orb in the sky. We don’t see it often, so we must respond to it quickly, clearing work diaries to drink in pub gardens and firing up BBQs that will cook meat so slowly, we’ll be opening advent calendars by the time it’s edible.

Or we could ignore either response and go out driving in a convertible car. This one would be perfect. Yes, it looks like a classic Volkswagen Beetle, so you might be ready to write it off as slow and not hugely fun to drive. But wait…

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This is the Memminger Roadster 2.7, the work of a small German tuner who’s rebuilt a classic Beetle to such a high degree, it’s really only the lights and curiously handled front bonnet that remain. The Roadster’s lack of roof is most evident, something which makes its stripped-out interior all the more visible, too.

That sets the scene for what ought to be a really pure, quite hands-on driving experience. Where stock Beetles had a small engine slung out at the back, this one uses a 210bhp 2.7-litre air-cooled boxer that’s been brought into the middle of the car. Far more amiable to a fun driving experience.

And is it just us, or does it look flipping brilliant? Lower slung than a roofed Beetle, and with more than a hint of classic Porsche speedsters, it at least looks like it’ll be mega to drive. The stance is right, the wheels fill the arches just so, and the rollover hoops and rear spoiler suggest there’s at least some handling fitted as standard.

Sign us up. At least until the rain comes back…

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