R, R-Line, and GT Lines Set to Expand

Volkswagen is looking to expand its performance offerings with more R, GT, and R-Line products.

Speaking at the LA Auto Show, Hendrik Muth, Senior VP of Product Marketing and Strategy, revealed that Volkswagen’s appetite for aggressive design is strong.

Although he would not share details about which models are set to gain performance upgrades, he did reveal that the plan is to have an R-Line design package for every vehicle in the lineup.

The brand revealed the Tiguan R-Line at the LA Auto Show just this week. It joins the Atlas, the Passat, and the Beetle, which all have visual improvements in the bumpers and along the sides, but have no driveline upgrades. Now the trim is set to grow with the Jetta R-Line being shown shortly after the new model’s premiere in January.

Muth’s comments, though, suggest that the Golf–as it is in Europe–the Arteon–set for debut in 2018–and the Touareg are in line for the R-Line treatment.

The GT trim, meanwhile, is a yet-to-be-released package for the Passat, which gives the V6 model much the same treatment as the R-Line, albeit with a little more spice. It will benefit from some suspension improvements, as well as a new tune to make acceleration feel more urgent.

Muth admitted that VW is interested in growing the GT brand. Taking a page out of the Passat’s book, it the moniker could easily be applied to the V6 Atlas, but Muth would not speak specifically.

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Finally, Muth confirmed that the R brand will also grow but again would not speak specifically. A bona fide performance brand, R badged vehicles will benefit from power upgrades and will probably use 4Motion all-wheel-drive.

Muth stopped short of saying that the Tiguan was next in line for an R badge, but admitted that there was an R project under investigation and, separately, that the performance SUV segment was attractive.

Whether or not it will get the rumored 5-cylinder from Audi is still unclear, but Muth said that new engines were on the menu at VW.

Speaking about the Tiguan, Muth said: “We’re looking at the current powertrain to upgrade, but we’re testing right now seeing what we can optimize and seeing whether there is a potential for another powertrain.”

Finally, speaking about the Golf R, Muth hinted at more power to come, though these comments were even vaguer than the rest.

“We had once here the Golf R 400 show car,” said Muth. “I would love to bring such a car in. Yes, of course. But we’ve got to see. We also have to see what the next golf R will be.”