Wondering How Fast Can a VW Bug Go?
Sure, you can pack your Dub with go-fast goodies. But while we get the question about how fast can a VW Bug go a LOT, it’s a whole different matter when you’re looking at classics versus modern cars.
It’s all connected. Every modification you make impacts everything else in your build. A faster engine means you need a stronger transmission. Then you’re going to need to upgrade your suspension and brakes… Well, you get the idea.
One of the faster Beetles we’ve built in the last couple of years is Mojoe. Have you checked it out?
If speed’s your thing – and you’ve got Dub Fever – you’ll want to check out this guide to speedy VWs:
Change your life with a fast VW by CAR Magazine
► We take a look at three great fast used Volkswagens
► VW’s finest hot hatches, estates and coupes
► Andrew Chapple, owner of VolksWizard, acts as our guide
2006-2007 Mk5 VW GTI Edition 30: £12k-£18k
Quick facts: 1984cc 4-cyl, 232bhp, 6.8sec 0-62mph, 152mph
> Is this a good idea? ‘Oh yeah. The Mk5 Golf GTI Edition 30 was the first Anniversary model to use an engine that wasn’t shared with the standard GTI – a detuned 232bhp version of the strengthened 266bhp lump used in the Golf R and Audi S3. Coupled with the standard Mk5 Golf GTI chassis this produced a genuinely rapid and agile hot hatch with all the refinement and quality expected of the VW brand.’
> How much? ‘A decade ago the Edition 30, limited to 1500 in the UK, weighed in at £22,795. Today a meticulously maintained low-mileage model will nudge £18,000. That’s depreciation with a ‘d’ tiny enough to make a Leon Cupra driver cry.’
>What’s going to break? ‘The TFSI engine has a good reputation for reliability but coil packs can fail and the cam follower that drives the high-pressure DFI fuel pump can wear and needs periodic replacement. Oil consumption is not unusual but shouldn’t be confused with the dipsomaniac chain-driven 2.0 TFSI Audi engine used in the A4/A5. All Mk5s are prone to front-wing rust, DSG automatic models can suffer mechatronic module and clutch pack failures, and always check the air-conditioning.’
> Crippling running costs? ‘Edition 30 owners may be immune from depreciation, but money will need to be spent on cambelt changes which are due every five years or 60,000 miles – budget £400 when the recommended water pump change is included. Servicing is barely any different from more mundane Golfs although tyre life is understandably shorter.’
2008-2010 Passat R36 Estate: £10k-£14k
Quick facts: 3597cc V6, 295bhp, 5.6sec 0-62mph, 155mph
> Is this a good idea? ‘If you like the Golf R32 with its charismatic narrow-angle V6 but need more space and can’t stretch to a B7 RS4 then the R36 is for you.’
> How much? ‘Rarity then didn’t save the R36 from the depreciation blues – £33k in 2008, £12k now. But rarity now means rock solid residuals.’
> What’s going to break? ‘Check the condition of the timing chain; the DSG ’box should be smooth whether hot or cold. Dash switches and calipers for the electric handbrake can fail.’
> Crippling running costs? ‘Depends on your right foot – 30mpg is as good as you’ll get, plus there’s £500 annual tax. But what price rarity?’
2009-2014 Scirocco R: £14k-£25k
Quick facts: 1984cc 4-cyl, 261bhp, 6.4sec 0-62mph, 155mph
> Is this a good idea? ‘Sure – with 261bhp and no awd system to haul, it’s quick, with an adept ride and scalpel-sharp handling.’
> How much? ‘Early well-maintained models come in at £14k – small money for big performance – through to £25k for two-year-old low-mileage minters.’
> What’s going to break? ‘The drivetrain is much the same as the Edition 30 (left) so the same cautions apply. Check the drop-on-open windows work correctly, the ACC adaptive suspension is fault-free and the optional 19in alloys aren’t cracked.’
> Crippling running costs? ‘Tyres and fuel will eat into your savings, but this is an R for GTI servicing costs.’
So, how fast can a VW Bug go? Speed is not usually the primary reason Dub lovers start restoration projects. The originals weren’t all that fast – and especially not compared with today’s cars. If you’re considering a restoration, you’re going to have some important decisions to make – and some of them will be impacted by whether you’ve got a need for speed, or if you’re happier going low and slow.
Either way, there’s a lot that can be done to a brand new, very old Dub that’s restored at Airkooled Kustoms. It’s all about your priorities. We never say “can’t” – but your wallet might!