The new VW Beetle never resonated with car enthusiasts the way the more orthodox Golf did. This strangely shaped Beetle tribute which debuted in 1998 had one special edition that captured the hearts of enthusiasts, the Beetle RSI.
I remember when the new Beetle debuted. This weirdly shaped impractical car could never be cool and the included flower pot was the icing on the cake. It would take a miracle to turn a Beetle into a track car.
Thankfully the Beetle RSI is the highest performance trim of any Beetle ever. Based on the contemporary Golf R32, the Beetle RSI gets AWD, a 3.2-liter VR6, and an exhaust note fit for a supercar.
The Beetle RSI was limited to just 250 units meaning you'll probably never see one in real life. But this track special is a serious machine you'll want in your life. This completely retuned Beetle featured adjusted suspension geometry for better trackability and improved handling. This revised suspension allowed the RSI to handled the 3.2-liter VR6's 221 horsepower and get the power down to the RSI's 4-motion AWD system.
Besides the improvement in performance, the RSI's exterior and interior are entirely different from the stock Beetle's. The Beetle's fenders are 3.1 inches wider to accommodate the larger wheels while the rear end's diffuser was massaged to fit the twin exit Remus Exhaust. The RSI's rear end was fitted with a massive rear wing to ensure you won't confuse the RSI for a normal Beetle.
Although the New Beetle was never exciting for enthusiasts it turns out there was a hidden gem. VW's Beetle RSI is quite possibly the coolest Beetle ever. It's R32 based drivetrain is complemented by an exterior that actually looks pretty good. Now you just need to find one of the rare 250 examples.