Although the MF-01X’S robust drivetrain can handle much more motor, I found the supplied Mabuchi stocker to be just fine for the Beetle. The car zips along to its 18mph top speed quickly, which is plenty for a car with a narrow track and undamped suspension, and the speed is scalelike when you consider that full-size Beetles of the era were making less than 60hp.
On hard, smooth dirt (like a full-size rally course), the Beetle is a super-realistic blast. The rear-motor layout lets you really hang it out in the turns, and 4WD makes it easy to maintain drift angle. The chassis pitches and rolls more than it would on oil shocks, but the extra animation just adds to the excitement. It’s a fun car to watch. There’s more grip on pavement, of course, and the Beetle darts into turns like a go-kart for a different kind of fun. A whole class of these things would be a blast.
NOT FOR EXTREME TERRAIN
Although technically an off-road vehicle, the Beetle does not do well on less than smooth terrain, for obvious reasons—just look at its small M-size wheels, low-slung chassis, short arms, and low body overhangs. The chassis is plenty tough, but the detail parts aren’t designed for abuse and you won’t have much fun banging into things if you try to drive it through rough stuff or soft sand. Hard and smooth is where the Beetle lives.
LOOONG RUN TIME
The Beetle doesn’t weigh much and is equipped with a low-power motor, so it really makes the most of a battery pack. If you strap in a 5000mah Lipo, you’ll get three or four good, long runs in before you need to recharge. Got a cheap NIMH pack? Even a 2000mah battery will give you plenty of wheel time.
Nobody does kits as well as Tamiya, and the Rally Beetle is another fun-to-build model from the Big T. The MF-01X chassis is unlike 4WD models from other brands, and is a pleasant “something different” diversion if you’ve built a bunch of kits before and they’re starting to feel similar. If you take your time painting and decaling the body, you’ll be rewarded with a fine-looking model that rival’s Tamiya static kits—except you can drive this one. And it’s a lot of fun—in appropriate terrain. For jumping skateboard ramps and gnarly off-roading, look at Tamiya’s trucks and buggies. For authentic smooth-surface rally action with the best-looking Beetle body in RC, this is your car.