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A Proper Bug: 2017 Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T Dune

What is the point of owning a vehicle as iconic, unmistakable and immediately identifiable as a Volkswagen Beetle if you’re going to make it conservative and sensible? It’s a car that’s synonymous with playfulness and fun, and every Beetle should reflect that in some way.

It’s a valid point for a gearhead to consider because the Beetle is the “real” Volkswagen for many casual car fans. The driving lover might look to the Golf or the GTI as the greatest street machine the German automaker built, but when most folks think “VW,” they think “Bug.”

Even though the original Volkswagen Beetle was born in Germany during the dark days of 1938 and was intended as a sort of “everyman’s” ride, the car was reborn in the 1960s as a symbol of hippie life and happy pop culture. It was cheap, eye-catching and easily modified in any number of crazy ways.

Also: Jaguar Classic Restores All-Time Masterpiece with “Reborn” E-Type

That fun, playful attitude for the Volkswagen Beetle lives on in the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T Dune. The car is actually a trim of the basic Beetle, as opposed to an entirely redesigned sub-model of the Beetle. But, the Dune is distinct enough to seem like it could be its own category — a direct descendant of the Beetles that went to the beach or cut through the sand hills of California 50 years ago.

The 2017 Beetle Dune puts the engine in its name to use to the tune of 170 horsepower. The 1.8 liter, turbocharged, four cylinder engine earns mpg numbers of 24 city, 31 highway and a 0-60 time of…

Who cares? It’s a Beetle. No one is drag racing this thing. It exists to look fun and carry a little attitude. The engine, suspension and transmission are all adequate and quick enough to keep you out of trouble in urban environs. But, the look of the car is what matters here.

The Beetle Dune’s external styling offers all the necessary callbacks to playful Bugs of the ’60s and ’70s. The car is available in an aggressive white or funky gold color scheme. Both wear the “Dune” name on their side door panels with amusing racing stripes to match. There’s also a spoiler out back to provide the massive downforce needed to keep this…Actually, it’s also there just to look neat.

With the 2017 Beetle starting at a stated MSRP just above $20,000, the Dune Edition starts a hair above $23,000 for the standard model. A considerable jump to around $29,000 will get you the convertible version.

Punky and visually aggressive, the 2017 Beetle Dune is the only kind of Bug that anyone should buy. A Beetle is not there to look sexy or dignified. If a Bug is on the menu, you might as well grab the Dune.