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VW Beetle GRC: 560 PS - this crazy Beetle turns hollow

Alex Trienitz /VW
VW Beetle GRC
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V olkswagen builds sensible cars. Well, that may be true for all the millions and millions of Up, Polo, Golf, Passat and Beetle that roll off the assembly lines year after year. But completely different VWs are bred at the motorsport department in Hanover: The Polo WRC, for example, with which Sébastien Ogier recently won the World Rally Championship twice.

By the way cute: This Beetle has 560 hp and all-wheel drive

But compared to the wildest of all Volkswagens, even Ogier's 320 hp power cube seems a little lean motorized. The two-liter turbo engine of the rallycross Beetle, which causes a sensation in the American Global Rally Challenge (GRC), has an output of 560 hp. There is also no shortage of torque: With 630 Newton meters, the turbo engine makes every clutch sweat.

The riot Beetle was commissioned by VW of America: 'We were asked if we could build a car like this 'says project manager Eduard Weidl. Of course, VW Motorsport was happy to accept the order from the in-house 'customer'.

Practically, the technicians were able to borrow a few things from the VW Polo WRC. Like the rally car, the rallycross Beetle brings its irrepressible power to the ground via all-wheel drive. Due to the rules, the drive train is of a simple design: a center differential is prohibited, normal limited-slip differentials are used on the front and rear axles. The six gears are reloaded sequentially with a powerful gear stick.

Motor? Still on the shelf

With the engine, which sits at the front like the street Beetle, the men around VW racing engine boss Donatus Wichelhaus only had to reach for the shelf. The two-liter turbo was developed a few years ago. It is based on the concept of the Global Race Engine, promoted by the FIA ​​at the time, i.e. an engine that in principle should have been used in practically all racing series up to Formula 1.

A huge one takes care of the rallycross Beetle Turbocharger for steam in all situations: when the driver activates the anti-lag system (ALS) at the push of a button, a desolate crackle is mixed with the already deafening noise. Advantage of the ALS: the full boost pressure is available in every situation; the response of the engine is as direct as with a large naturally aspirated engine.

Power defeats traction - even in the fourthGear

The big issue in rallycross is therefore not so much the engine power but rather the question: How do I bring the power to the ground? Because if the Yokohama slicks - the standard tire of the GRC - can't just bite into crumbly dry asphalt, the duel 'engine power vs. traction' ends clearly in favor of the four-cylinder. Even in fourth gear, beyond 120 km /h, the Beetle's wheels spin without a break, which quickly leads to a zigzag course if the accelerator pedal is carelessly depressed.

In the acceleration test, the doped Beetle has no opponents to fear - thoroughbred ones Except for dragsters. (But they can't turn corners.) 'Well,' says Weidl slowly. 'We got zero to 100 in less than 2.5 seconds. That depends entirely on the grip.'

A detailed driving report with the muscleman from Hanover will appear in one of the next issues of auto motor and sport .

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