Volkswagen Beetle LSR is the world's fastest Beetle

Factory-modified Volkswagen Beetle LSR sets blistering 205mph speed record at Bonneville

It’s fair to say that even the top-of-the-range Volkswagen Beetle isn't built for speed freaks to enjoy. But one specially modified Beetle certainly is. The Volkswagen Beetle LSR is a factory-modified car which was recorded at a record 205mph at Bonneville’s Salt Flats in Utah. LSR stands for Land Speed Record, so there's no questioning the motive behind the car's creation.

Thanks to Land Speed regulations, there’s only a certain amount of modification allowed for the car to still qualify as a Beetle – so more features of the standard car have been retained than you might think.

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The engine hasn’t been torn out to make way for a top-fuel dragster turbine – instead, the Beetle LSR is fitted with the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder TSI petrol as factory models. Admittedly, it’s been fettled a bit – it now produces 543bhp and over 570Nm of torque, courtesy of a new turbocharger, new pistons, cams, connecting rods, and headers. But at least the engine block remains. All of these modifications come courtesy of THR Manufacturing, a tuning company in California.

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Volkswagen itself has kept the additions to the Beetle LSR minimal, but it did strip out the interior to fit a roll cage, as well as adding aerodynamic tweaks to the outside. Modified suspension sits the car lower to the ground, and a front air dam was added. Parachutes were also attached to the rear to aid deceleration, though that’s not an option we’d expect to see on factory order cars any time soon.

The Beetle LSR achieved a 205.122mph average over a one mile stretch, but actually got up to 208mph at one point. The driver, Preston Lerner, said: “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.”

The Volkswagen Beetle LSR smashed the previous land speed record for a Beetle. It was set back in 1988 and the car achieved 175mph.

Would you like VW to put 543bhp in a standard Beetle? Let us know in the comments below...

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