I suspect the answer is marketing related - and one of two possibilities:
1. VW will make a VR6 Beetle, but won't introduce it until interest in the current versions diminishes - then introduce it to kind of revitalize things.
or, more likely:
2. VW thinks (probably rightly so) that there would be a limited market in the US for a VR6 powered Bug due to the increased price. Certainly they could sell a bunch to enthusiasts, but possibly not enough to justify the cost of bringing the car here.
After all, look at GTI sales. They are pretty small, but fortunately VW won't kill the GTI here. Most people here buy .. um... Jettas, and those who buy Beetles aren't doing so for performance reasons (with obviously expections).
Just my thoughts...
(I don't know that I'd buy a VR6 Bug... maybe. I definitely would buy a 225hp 1.8T Bug with 4 Motion, like the Audi TT though!!)
98 GTI (VR6)
00 Bug (1.8T)
If you've looked at the VR6 size its quite a bit bigger than the 1.8T. It does technically fit into the engine compartment (see Dr Boltz, HPA, and the NB RSI). The problem being that VW would need to be able to get it to pass U.S. crash test standards. Thus far, that hasn't happened.
When aftermarket companies like HPA and Dr. Boltz shoehorn a VR6 into the NB, they aren't held to the same standards (for crash test certification) as VW would be.
That's my understanding of the situation.
VW probably doesn't put a VR6 in the NB because that would probably be the most logical thing to do. Next they would have to upgrade to more logical things like 4-motion. I am considering buying a TT quattro for my next car. But then again, I'll have the no V6 thing to complain about with that also. The VR6 ins't a large size engine. It will fit nicely in NB and acn be installed in a TT. VR6+bi-turbo+quattro
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