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}}Volkswagen Prototypes

Although in a somewhat rough period right now, Volkswagen managed to turn itself around during the late ninties with the introduction of the New Beetle. Volkwagen also has brought out a couple of other prototype vehicles, showcased below.


The 21st Century Volkwagen Bus

Hanover plant to build new retro Microbus

18 June 2002 -VW Press Release

Wolfsburg - The decision has been taken - the new Volkswagen Microbus will be built in Hanover.
By deciding to build the Microbus, Volkswagen has set its sights on a new segment - a MPV combining striking design and high functionality with the comfort of a limousine.
Speaking at the Stöcken site, Dr Bernd Pischetsrieder, Chairman of the Board of Management Volkswagen AG, emphasised that "with the Microbus, a legend begun some 50 years ago when the first VW bus left the production line here, it is now returning to Hanover. The VW bus was never just a means of transport, it has always been an emotive cult object.
"The public's reaction at motor shows combined with the findings of market studies already show us that the Microbus design has a spontaneous appeal, and that the vehicle will follow in the footsteps of its successful predecessor."
The Microbus concept car debuted at the Detroit Motor Show. The vehicle was also given an enthusiastic reception at the Tokyo, Geneva and Frankfurt Motor Shows. The Microbus was designed at the Volkswagen Design Studio in California. (The MicroBus is set to come out in 2005. Check out more at VW's concept page.

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The New Beetle Dune

(from Volkswagen Press Release, January 2000 )  For this year's Los Angeles Auto Show Volkswagen has produced a Beetle Study that's aimed directly at the needs of sport-oriented people. It's name tells you where it's most at home: Dune. With all four wheels driven by a high-torque V5 engine, this particular New Beetle will take you on after the road has come to an end for the conventional on-road automobile.

The variable roof is a sure way of identifying the Dune. Light passes through the plastic material and creates a warm yellow glow under the soft top - a sense of sailing in the sun. And with the roof open, the Dune gives you a very special kind of open-air feeling.

At the front, the radiator grille also acts as an underride guard and is something the standard model doesn't have. It's made of aluminum and serves as a particularly strong front bumper. The matching center section of the bumper at the back is also made of aluminum. The entire load surface is lined with aluminum.

The designers have applied aluminum sheet to the backs of the individual rear seats as well. Fold them over and you get an even larger, uninterrupted load platform.

Many features of the concept study's instruments differ from the production car. Take the new central instrument for example. Where in the standard New Beetle a single circular dial provides the main information, there are three in this unit. In the center the instrument cluster is dominated by a new navigation system. It's a compass of above-average intelligence that will certainly tell you the way back to civilization if you should get lost for some reason. Two more displays indicate the tilt and roll angles reached by the body.

The concept car is powered by a 2.3-liter V5 engine and drives all four wheels by the well-known 4Motion system, through a six-speed manual-shift gearbox.

Variable-height air suspension means that the Dune's driver can match the ride height to all kinds of terrain. The suspension has three pre-programmed height settings and a total adjustment range of 120 millimeters.

VW Concepts Site

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The AAC (Advanced Activity Concept) is the first serious pickup truck designed by the folks at Volkswagen, who may be accused of penning somewhat lighthearted cars. To offset that image, they have created this kick-your-ass truck concept, the AAC, which "combines the functions of an off-road pickup with the comfort and convenience of a large luxury sedan." It is powered by a monster-sized V10 twin-turbo direct-injection (TDI) diesel engine that produces 313 horsepower and 553 foot-pounds of torque at a low 2000 rpms. Using diesel fuel ensures that extra low-end grunt while lowering fuel consumption and emissions. A six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic manual control powers a permanent four-wheel-drive system. It all rides atop massive 19-inch tires mounted on chrome-caked six-spoke alloy wheels. Push-button controls activate low-range and differential locks. Thanks to a three-position air suspension, ground clearance can be adjusted to a maximum setting of 15.4 inches in case you and your three passengers feel like living out a why-did-the-VW-cross-the-river joke. But with a four-wheel independent suspension employing double wishbones all around, the AAC is as capable on the road as it is off. Helping it in this regard is an electronic stability program system. The most noticeable aspect of this truck is its appearance - the lack of a B-pillar (the rear-hinged doors open suicide style) and the thick C-pillar gives the appearance of a coupe. Yet it retains all of the visual qualities of a Volkswagen, such as the V-shaped hood, prominent VW badge in the center of the grille and wide-eyed xenon headlights. It's like a Beetle on Creatine. Inside, sumptuous appointments include black alcantara fabric, premium leather and copious amounts of brushed aluminum, so if the Marlboro Man ever got around to abandoning his loyalties to domestic trucks, he'd have plenty to keep him coddled. Other goodies include a cold-storage box in the center console and a navigation system.

Why should I care?
This is the first attempt by Volkswagen, which is coming off of a banner sales year, to enter the extremely popular truck arena. Although a production vehicle based on the AAC may not be forthcoming in the near future, it hints at the features of the upcoming VW SUV, as well as signifies changes taking place in pickups. Look for more hybrids embodying truck utility and sedan comfort to hit the market soon.

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