VWvortex Beetle RS 2.0

If you remember back to last year around this time, we took a stock 2012 turbo Beetle and built our own version of a Beetle RS inspired by a photoshop done by one of our readers, Saige Kirkland. You can read the whole story HERE. That car went back to VW and we waited patiently to get our hands on a production version of the Beetle Turbo. Well our new car arrived (another black turbo) and we sat down to brainstorm about where we would go with the project next. WaterFest is coming up and we wanted to put something together in the short term to take to the show. We already had H&R adjustable coil over suspension, 14″ 4-piston Brembo brakes and 20″ x 9″ VMR V710 wheels (painted orange no less) that we took off the last car. So we decided to take a two-tier approach with the new car. Build something up quickly for WaterFest and then take the project in a slightly different direction for SEMA.

The challenge to do something with a Beetle that appeals to enthusiasts seemed daunting at first. The reaction to the new Beetle was overwhelming positive in our forums which, honestly, threw us for a bit of a loop. Usually any new model is met with a group that likes it and group that seems to hate it. In this case though, the majority of our readers seemed to like it. The new car with its lower roof line, detailed surfaces and wider stance just looks a little tougher – or dare we say cooler. Having now made some of our own modifications, we have to say this thing just puts a big dumb smile on our face. You can’t help but like it.

So in a fairly short time frame we’ve built up our first stage of Beetle RS 2.0 for WaterFest 2012. We’ll have a series of articles in coming weeks on the various stages of the buildup, but here is a run down of what we’ve done so far:

SUSPENSION – H&R Street Performance Adjustable Coilovers

To quickly get our car lowered with performance handling in mind, we decided to install H&R adjustable coilovers. This performance shocks and spring combo has threaded perch adjustments that allow us to lower the car anywhere from 1″ to 2.5″ inches. Because of the 20″ wheels with aggressive offsets and the lack of time to deal with extremely low setups, the H&R setup gets us an adjustable ride height and performance tuned springs and shocks that H&R are famous for. The ride is only a bit stiffer than stock but the handling has improved quite a bit. Plus we’ve been able to tailor the ride height to work with our wheel setup. You can see the complete H&R coilover lineup HERE.

WHEELS – VMR V710 20″ x 9″ ET35

We wanted to try and capture a bit of a German/Porsche look without going with ultra-expensive Porsche factory wheels (which are difficult to find second-hand and rare in 20″ size). So we called up VMR Wheels and hooked up a BBS-like V710 wheel in a 20″ x 9″ setup. The Beetle was designed with a lot of room in the wheel wells and with the car already riding on stock 19″ wheels, we decided to plus size to 20″ with a 9″ width. The 35 offset pushes them out to the very edges of the wheel wells giving the car a really aggressive stance. We had them refinished in orange which compliments our matte dark silver finish on the body. More information on VMR wheels can be found HERE.


For tires we gave our friends at Tire Rack a call and they recommended a set of Continental ExtremeContact DW maximum performance summer tires. With the extra clearance in the wheel wells of the Beetle, we are able to use a 35-series tire in a 245 width. This means there is actually quite a bit of tire on the rim so they don’t look like rubber bands stretched over the wheels. Performance-wise the ExtremeContacts have been great in both the dry and wet. We’ll have more reports on the tires as we continue to drive them in. More information on these tires can be found HERE.


With the 20″ wheels installed the stock brakes looked tiny. Plus with the extra weight of the 20″ wheels we felt that some brake upgrades were in order. So we ordered up a set of Brembo Stage II front brakes from APR. The kit includes 14″ front two-piece cross drilled rotors, four-piston radial mount calipers, aluminum mounting brackets and stainless braided lines and pads. These bolted right up with no issues and look great filling up the front wheels. Braking performance is awesome (as you would expect) with great feel and outstanding lack of fade in repeated hard stops.


We lucked out a bit on this one. None of the current VW aftermarket companies have an exhaust system ready to go for the new 2012 Beetle. Borla happened to have a limited number of early production units of their all-new stainless steel cat-back dual exhaust system. Alvin from Borla was able to grab one of the last remaining preproduction set before the main production units would be ready in a few weeks and got it out to us literally yesterday, just in time for WaterFest. We installed the system in-house and it was a simple and straight forward install. Everything fit perfect the first time out with no rubbing or leaks to be found anywhere. The new system features larger polished tips that look more aggressive and fill the stock openings nicely. The sound is nice and aggressive as well with a deep growl and no droning on the highway. More information on the Borla system (shown as GTI on the Borla website) can be found HERE.


We have larger upgrade plans for our Beetle at a later point, but for now we wanted to quickly boost power with easy mods, so we’ve gone with an APR Carbonio carbon fiber intake and stage I chip tuning with our Borla exhaust. Our ECU upgrade which increases fueling and boost pressure (Stage I) takes our stock 200hp to more than 255hp and 300 ft.-lb. of torque. We didn’t have time to dyno this specific setup yet before the car has to ship to Waterfest, but APR claims 260hp and 304 ft.-lbs. with just the intake and chip tuning. In over 20 years of driving a variety of modified cars, we have no problem believing this number as the car pulls very hard now. We will get it on the dyno soon enough to see where things fall before we move on to more upgrades. Stay tuned. Information on the available power upgrades from APR can be found HERE.


We’re always up for a little challenge and decided to try and tackle a complete vehicle wrap ourselves. Little did we know that the Beetle has a reputation as a giant pain in the arse to do a vehicle wrap on. All those compound curves make it a little tricky to get the material to lay smoothly without extra material bunching up. However with a lot of patience and after watching a few videos online, we’ve picked up enough tips and tricks that we’d actually do it again. The most difficult parts were the bumpers and fenders, otherwise the flatter surfaces were pretty straight forward. The results look fantastic as this newer color from 3M has a subtle metallic giving it a nice matte metal looking finish that makes the car look like it was made from a block of steel.

Since we already had the orange wheels off of the first version of this car, we decided to continue the orange theme into the accents. We coupled them with 3M Matte Black pieces that we used as a central stripe up the hood, roof and down the hatch. We also covered the side bumpers on the lower door sills and top of the rear spoiler with the matte black vinyl and added orange accents to the door sills as well. To compliment the central matte black strip on the hood, roof and hatch, we add thinner orange stripes. Finally we added some orange RS 2.0 badging on the doors, rear hatch and on the glove box. While the orange won’t be everyone’s favorite, it all hangs together surprisingly well and the car gets a lot of looks everywhere it goes.

So the car leaves later today for WaterFest 2012 this coming weekend. If you want to see the car in person, you’ll be able to check it out at the show in our booth and around the streets in the Englishtown area. We barely had time to get everything together in time for this weekend let alone get a complete photoshoot done. We’ll have a more complete gallery and more stories on this project in the coming weeks and months.

We hope you enjoy the photos! Click on the thumbs below for larger images.