photos by Dino Ray V. Directo III
How does one redesign an icon?
This was the dilemma of engineers in Ingolstadt, Germany when they started tinkering with the Beetle in 1997. The goal was to give the well loved “people’s car” a new and more aggressive look with hints of the original bug as we knew it prior to the redesign.
What if you take a garden variety Volkswagen Beetle to styling specialists KBR Motorsport and in-car entertainment experts Sound Engineering Köln, better known among car audiophiles as SEK Carhifi, what do you get? The Bug gets transformed into something like this. While Christian Kreher of KBR Motorsport and his crew applied classic tuning to the Beetle, the team of SEK Carhifi team got wild and installed a custom high-end sound system using Ground Zero and Pioneer components.
First step of the build is to improve the aesthetics of the Beetle by filling out the massive wheel arches of the VW Bug and installing fat 9.5J x 20-inch Oxigin 14 Oxrock multi-spoke alloy wheels in black finish with white foil, shod with 235/30ZR20 Hankook Ventus S1 Evo tires.
The KBR guys also installed aftermarket front brakes painted in red, four-pot alloy brake calipers that clamp vented discs with surface grooves. For lower unsprung weight and optimal heat insulation these discs are mounted on ultra-light floating hubs. The rear brakes are standard, with their calipers painted red to visually match the front brake system. To complete the “tuned” look of the VW Bug, KBR installed a modified version of an H&R coil over suspension kit.
The VW’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine was also tweaked by fitting a turbo-back three-inch diameter stainless steel sports exhaust to reduce back-pressure, before remapping the ECU. With the engine dyno showing a robust 265 hp and 415 Nm of torque, the rapid 6-speed DSG propels the car from zero to over 250 km/h.
With the mechanic upgrade taken care of, SEK Carhifi embarked on a custom audio installation that ended up consuming 80 man-hours of painstaking work. Their motto, “No Compromise Mega Sound” means they always aim for the best possible music system in a given class.The heart of this 1,700 W sound system is Pioneer’s dashboard mounted flagship AVIC-F77DAB Navigation/AV head-unit, which feeds its audio signals to the three power amplifiers via a Ground Zero GZCS 6-8DSP eight-channel DSP unit housed in the passenger footwell.
A good example of SEK Carhifi’s no-holds-barred approach is shown by the way they modified the dashboard top roll to accommodate the custom enclosure for the 3.15-inch mid-range and 1.1-inch tweeter units of the Ground Zero GZPC 16.3SQ ACT 3-way front speaker component system.
To add more visual appeal to the car, KBR Motorsport replaced the factory front seats with figure-hugging Recaro Sportster CS sports seats whose rear were color-coded white to match the car’s bodywork and interior trim panels.
The answer to the question is you get a custom VW Beetle that has the “Show” and the “Go” that can take on anybody on the streets.