Volkswagen has resisted bringing any of its performance crossovers to the U.S. so far. Both the T-Roc R and Tiguan R exist, but they’re both Europe exclusives. The most Volkswagen of America has done in that performance crossover space in what you’re looking at right here. VW calls it the Atlas Cross Sport GT Concept. It’s essentially an Atlas Cross Sport that VW and the owner collaborated on.
A quick look at the stance and visual modifications is convincing enough that VW could successfully pull it off with a full factory effort. Scott Keough, VW of America CEO, adds some flame to that fire, too.
“The launch of the all-new Golf GTI and Golf R got us thinking about how to inject some of that VW magic into our SUVs,” Keough says. “This concept is proof that it’s possible to build SUVs that could appeal to our performance enthusiast base.”
This Atlas Cross Sport has a modified version of the EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Golf R. Volkswagen says it has a new turbo and an additional radiator for cooling, and it generates just over 300 horsepower. This power is put to use via VW’s seven-speed DSG gearbox and to all four wheels through VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system.
Its suspension is modified and lowered via ST Suspension XTA Plus 3 coilovers. Big 22-inch ABT Sport HR Aerowheels completely fill the wheel wells, and these hide big Tarox eight-piston front brakes. High performance 285-section-width summer tires in the form of Yokohama Advan Sports keep it glued to the ground.
The blue paint on the exterior is called Kingfisher Blue, and it’s currently a color available on VWs in Europe — this specific car was hand-painted by the Chattanooga factory where the Atlas Cross Sport is built. You’ll notice GT badges around the car, plus extra blue accents to keep with the theme.
This interior is full of changes to make it more suitable for high performance driving. It now features a four-seat configuration with heavily bolstered Recaro buckets for all. It has a unique rear center console in place of the center seat, and the blue theme carries throughout the whole interior.
VW says you’ll be able to see this Atlas Cross Sport GT Concept at “select events” across the U.S. this year. We can only hope that a production performance crossover makes its way here eventually. At the very least, Volkswagen has proven that it’s thinking this way.