If you’ve ever watched 2005’s Herbie Fully Loaded, you’ll notice that the Volkswagen Beetle driven by Lindsay Lohan has a speedometer that reads up to 200 mph (322 km/h). Well, it isn’t just fiction anymore, as a Beetle has achieved, and exceeded that speed to become the world’s fastest Beetle.

Hitting a record 205.122 mph (330.11 km/h) is a specially-tuned Volkswagen Beetle LSR, a collaborative effort between Volkswagen and California tuner THR Manufacturing. The car is powered by a 2.0 litre TSI turbocharged engine, but with some significant modifications.

With new turbochargers, pistons, camshafts, connecting rods, and head modifications, the TSI mill now produces 543 horsepower and 571 Nm of torque at the wheels; at the flywheel, that would be more than 600 hp and nearly 678 Nm. A standard Beetle produces just 210 hp and 281 Nm by comparison.


To ensure the power goes to the road – via the front wheels no less – the Beetle LSR receives a limited-slip differential, special Salt Flat wheels and tyres and a lowered suspension setup. The interior also gets stripped down, and fitted with a rollcage, racing seat and harness and a fire suppression system. To help slow the car down, there are a pair of parachutes as well.

“We are completely thrilled with the Beetle LSR’s performance at Bonneville,” said Dr. Hendrik Muth, senior vice president, product marketing and strategy, Volkswagen of America. “The Beetle is not the most aerodynamic car in our portfolio, so running 205 mph is a testament to the power that can be made from the EA888 TSI four-cylinder engine. This feat truly underscores the sporty and pugnacious spirit of the Beetle,” he continued.

“Exceeding 200 miles per hour in the Beetle LSR was a serious thrill,” said driver Preston Lerner, a motoring journalist. “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.”