Say what you will about VW Beetles, when someone bootstraps 500 horsepower into one and lets it loose, you listen. That's exactly what the mad hatters over at VWVortex did in a bid for the most ludicrous foreign import title at last year's SEMA auto show in Las Vegas. Unsurprisingly, they took home the gold — a briefcase filled with untold amounts of supercar schwag.
How'd they get 500 horses under the hood of a typically sub-200 horsepower Beetle? Massive surgery. The car you see is actually a Frakensteinian mashup of a VW Golf RS and an Audi TTRS — two remarkably competent cars on their own.
They took the stock 2.0-liter engine and stripped it down to bare bones before bolting on a dementedly oversized turbo, effectively doubling its output from 200 to 400 horsepower. Then through some strategic tweaking and complex engine management they goosed another 100 horses out of the beast.
While the fire was burning under the hood, the outside was kept deceptively cool. To the untrained eye the external mods would appear little more than stock, although that matte blue is most definitely not a factory option.
What's it like to drive? Just ask the blokes over at Top Gear: "It’s a ruddy loon, is what it is. There’s a tremendous amount of turbo lag, that big Garrett [turbo] taking its sweet time to spool up. When it does, you’d better be ready, because the ‘Superbeetle’ is really, really fast. No quoted 0 to 62 miles-per-hour times, but considering a regular Golf R does it in 4.9, we’d suggest something in the region of low 4s." Epic.