The modern Volkswagen Beetle has spawned several sporty editions, with the RSi limited to just 250 cars likely the most popular thanks to its iconic VR6 engine. The A5 generation that followed was no stranger to more athletic versions of the cutesy bug, as evidenced by the GSR featured here. Although less exclusive – 3,500 were made – and without the 3.2-litre engine, the Gelb Schwarzer Renner (Yellow Black Racer) added quite a bit of excitement.
Half of them were sold in Europe and the other half in the United States as a nod to a namesake special edition based on the 1303 S launched in late 1972 when also only 3,500 units were available. This modern-day tribute was filmed on the Old Continent, specifically on unrestricted sections of the Autobahn. Why? To test its top speed, of course. This particular example had the optional six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission rather than the standard six-speed manual.
Fitted as standard with a factory boost gauge, the Beetle GSR made use of the VW Group's turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine from the EA888 family, which was prone to issues in the first two generations before these were fixed with the Gen 3. Thankfully, the special edition got the best version of the problematic TSI engine, pushing out 210 bhp and 207 lb-ft of torque.
Mind you, this 2015 Euro-spec Beetle GSR has received a stage 1 tuning kit, bumping output to a healthy 256 bhp and 295 lb-ft, which isn't too shabby for such a small car. Naturally, the hot hatch seems to be a real hoot once you floor it, and if you press the accelerator pedal long enough, it will eventually get up to 157 mph.
The Beetle ultimately died in July 2019 when the last car rolled off the assembly line at the VW's Puebla plant in Mexico after 81 years in production and only three generations. With the Microbus being revived in spirit for the ID. Buzz coming next year, we won't be too surprised if the Beetle will be resurrected one day for the EV era.
Note: The smiley face in the rearview mirror is rather creepy.