In the midst of a ferociously cold Michigan winter, the new Volkswagen Beetle Dune concept is all set to bring a hint of summer sunshine when it makes its debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit next week.  The Beetle Dune is based on the latest version of the iconic Volkswagen, and adds a cool, rugged off-road look. The body has been raised by 50 mm compared with a standard Beetle, while 19-inch wheels with large tyres lend an all-terrain look.  A rear-mounted ski-rack is reminiscent of those fitted to classic Beetles, and makes a perfect accessory for the season.  In the summer, it could hold a sandboard – the ideal accessory for surfing the sand dunes from which the Beetle Dune takes its name.  The latest Beetle Dune concept also revisits an idea from January 2000, when Volkswagen showed the New Beetle Dune concept in Los Angeles.  But while that vehicle was far from a production possibility, the Beetle Dune is very much based on the current production model, using the same 210 PS turbocharged petrol engine and six-speed DSG gearbox, providing power to the front wheels.   Further information on and images of the Beetle Dune concept will be available after the car makes its debut at the NAIAS on 13 January.  

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Pre-Crash is a proactive passenger safety system that identifies the possibility of an accident and automatically closes the electronic windows and optional panoramic sunroof. It also tensions the front seat belts as a precautionary measure. Combined with standard Volkswagen crumple zones, airbags and Isofix child seat fixings, all these measures mean that our cars score highly in the Euro NCAP independent safety ratings.

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Laser welding is becoming more and more important in car-making. A rigid body shell, crafted by state-of-the-art laser welding techniques, not only creates additional strength - offering greater protection and better road holding - but also ensures narrow, uniform gaps between the body panels, dramatically reducing wind noise. The ability of the laser to bundle light energy into ultra-thin beams is opening up new possibilities with regard to bodywork quality and stability, as the resultant weld seams are extremely narrow and precise. The highly amplified and bundled light beam in laser welding generates very high temperatures which melt the material on a focal point of around 0.5 to 1 millimetre in diameter. Because of its narrow working area, laser welding is particularly suitable for butt-welding of sheet metal panels. Its benefits lie in the higher strength of the joint and in the new design possibilities it offers.

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It may be raining across most of the UK, but car review website Carbuyer is already thinking of sunshine and blue skies ahead, and has given the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet the Best Convertible Award in the Carbuyer Car of the Year Awards. 

Commenting on the award, Carbuyer Editor in Chief Steve Fowler said: ‘Volkswagen’s latest Golf Cabriolet is the best yet.  It has all the attributes that make every other Golf so brilliant, but with a huge dollop of sex appeal.  It has its sensible side, but it sure knows how to let its hair down – it’s the perfect cabrio for Carbuyer users.’

The Golf Cabriolet features an electrically powered fabric roof which can be folded away in just 9.5 seconds and on the move at up to 18 mph, yet it retains a practical four-seat interior and a 250-litre boot.  The Golf Cabriolet range has something for everyone.  There are two diesel engines available – an abstemious 1.6-litre TDI with 105 PS and a torquey 2.0-litre 140 PS TDI – plus five petrol engines, from the smooth and frugal 1.2-litre 105 PS TSI, via the 1.4-litre 122 PS and 160 PS TSI petrols to the exuberant 2.0-litre 210 PS TSI Golf GTI Cabriolet and the powerful 2.0-litre 265 PS TSI Golf R Cabriolet.

Standard equipment across the Golf Cabriolet range includes Bluetooth telephone connectivity, DAB digital radio, air conditioning and alloy wheels.  From SE trim and above, this is complemented by 2Zone climate control, automatic lights and rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors and a wind deflector, among other items.  The range-topping R comes as standard with full leather upholstery including heated front seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights with LED running lights and a six-speed DSG gearbox.

Prices for the Golf Cabriolet start at £21,630 for the S with 1.2-litre 105 PS TSI engine and six-speed manual gearbox, and rise to £33,475 for the Golf R Cabriolet.

For more details of the Carbuyer Car of the Year Awards, visit, and for information on Volkswagen’s award-winning range of cars, please

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ACC adaptive cruise control helps to avoid accidents by always keeping your car at a safe distance from the traffic ahead.

Working together with the radar-controlled Front Assist traffic monitoring system, our adaptive cruise control system keeps you a safe distance from the vehicle in front and that makes driving much easier in slow and stop and go traffic. It means you'll be more relaxed and comfortable on long journeys, knowing you have an extra helping hand.

You pre-set the speed range which you want the Adaptive Cruise Control to brake and accelerate the car within - you can restrict your car's speed to the limit of the road you're on, for example. The system builds on the familiar cruise control system by adding a radar sensor. It immediately detects traffic slowing ahead and automatically reduces your speed to match. If you are driving too close to the car in front, it will warn you in two stages. First, with visual and acoustic signals, and then with a short braking jolt. If necessary, the system will bring your car to a complete stop.

It does this with the help of the Front Assist system which primes the brakes if it senses a collision is likely, shortening the stopping distance when the driver hits the brake pedal.

How it works

The system's radar sensor has a range of up to 200 metres and a beam angle of 12 degrees. The radar sensor and control unit are combined into a single unit which is located - on the Passat, for example - behind the Volkswagen badge in the radiator grille.

Using the signals from the radar sensor, the control unit computes the distance to the vehicle ahead and your car's speed relative to it. It also works out its lateral position on multi-lane roads. If there are several vehicles within the sensor's field of coverage at the same time, this information is used to select which of the vehicles the system should track. The radar sensor is not capable of detecting stationary obstructions, such as the end of a tailback or crash barriers, however.

If approaching a slower vehicle ahead or if another vehicle cuts in front of you, the adaptive cruise control slows down the car by initiating corrective controls in the engine management and, if necessary, in the braking system too. If the required rate of deceleration exceeds 30% of the vehicle's maximum stopping power, visual and audible warning signals will prompt the driver to apply the brakes manually.

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