Our big turbo certainly justified big brakes, and fortunately Revo had its 355 four-piston brake kit available. Borrowing technology from its racing partners at Stasis Engineering, the 355 kit uses deep-core cast Alcon monobloc calipers that are far stiffer than stock units and won't flex like regular two-piece units.
The kit's name is derived from the 355mm two-piece rotors that allow for 0.030" of axial and 0.040" of radial expansion in either direction. The Alcon Serofoil rotors have two pick-up points and are made from high nickel and copper content for heat dissipation and pad performance.
If you're thinking the four-piston calipers are off-the-shelf units, think again. Revo had the calipers built to their specifications for piston size, travel and bias. So they were tailored to the Mk6 chassis, not borrowed from an Audi or Porsche and retrofitted to your Volkswagen.
We wouldn't leave Revo's HQ in Summit Point, WV without proper suspension components to complete the mechanical transformation.
The plan originally involved prototype Revo units but these were later swapped to Eibach Multi-Pro-R2 coilovers with ten-way adjustable remote reservoirs. These feature independent rebound and compression settings, large 46mm pistons, and allow 0.80-2.5" of suspension lowering.
The remote reservoir design is a motorsport concept that allows the dampers to have greater oil capacity and can be mounted away from the units. The idea is to maintain consistent performance by avoiding heat build-up. When dampers are worked hard, the movement generates heat that aerates the oil, causing it to foam and work less effectively. By having a larger volume of oil, this is less likely to happen. And by mounting the reservoir remotely, it's away from the heat source and should remain cooler.
Having a completely flexible system was part of the plan since we wanted the Surf bug to be capable of everything from daily driving to track events, maybe drag racing, and it had to get to the beach when the need arose. So while the Revo team spent hours on the Summit Point racetrack dialing in the dampers and ride height, we simply slammed it for SEMA, but have subsequently returned it to the optimum settings. That explains why it sat low in EC 4/12 but slightly higher in EC 5/12 when we gathered all the SEMA Beetles together for our special article.
Revo's 355 brake kit uses 355mm Alcon two-piece rotors and custom one-piece Alcon monobloc calipers designed for Mk6 applications
Remove reservoirs, ten-way adjustment for independent rebound and compression and an affordable price identify the Eibach Multi-Pro-R2 coilovers
Sadly our time behind the wheel of the Surf Beetle has been limited, but we can safely say the brief moments have been jaw dropping.
Power from the K04 comes on early and hard. In fact, it'll spin the tires in the lower gears with the traction control switched off - driving with TC on is a frustrating exercise we try to avoid.
Shenanigans aside, increased thrust is most apparent in passing situations, where third gear is devoured instantly. We'd be lying if we didn't admit to baiting other drivers who see the roof rack and retro paint and don't assume this Bug will eat them alive!
Outright power is only half the equation, because throttle response is much improved and the power curve is smooth from idle to redline. Thankfully, fuel consumption is generally unaffected if you can stay away from wide-open throttle. But the sound from the turbo and full exhaust beg to be heard often. This is no fart-can Honda; the Beetle sings baritone, with its deep note accompanied by angry rushes and swooshes escaping from under the hood.
The suspension and brakes also have a big impact, scrubbing speed and holding a turn with ease. There's no fade, shudder or squeal from the Alcon parts, but since we use the left pedal on our DSG car so late and hard, we're constantly cleaning our 19" Fuchs Performance wheels.
The Eibach coilovers bring out the inner racer in us but a few clicks of the adjuster allow the ride to be softened for the commute home. Admittedly, this Beetle isn't really set-up to maximize the ability of these units, but it was a good investment if we should ever decided to reassign the car to track duties in the future. But in their current role, the coilovers not only help curb understeer, but expansion joints and potholes aren't bone-jarring, which was a welcome discovery.
We strive for form and function in every car we build, and thanks to the help of our build partners, and the great platform offered by the new VW Beetle, we've created a fun project that seems to be enjoyed by fellow travelers and anybody who gets behind the wheel. We set out to prove the Beetle is flexible and has the potential to entertain driving enthusiasts, and hopefully we've achieved that goal.
In a future issue we'll look at the cosmetic features that made our Surf Beetle stand out.