The folks at Carbuzz recently reported that Volkswagen might be considering a Tiguan GTI and, as you might expect, the rumor caught on. With due respect, though, we’re skeptical.

Our skepticism stems not simply from the fact that VW has never really shown an interest in extending the GTI nameplate to its crossovers, but from the fact that we were also on that phone call. 

Our first argument against the Tiguan GTI is simple. In 2017, Volkswagen's CEO, Herbert Diess, told the world that it would reserve the GTI nameplate for small, peppy cars.

“I think with the three [GTI models] we have now, we are set,” Diess told  Autocar at the time.

And although times change and the world’s desire for SUVs has only grown since then, the length development cycles suggest to us that in 2017 Diess would have likely known about a GTI if it were coming.

Neither Volkswagen nor the world has had very much (if anything) to say about a Tiguan GTI since then. And that’s because of a more obvious marriage of nameplate and modifier: the Tiguan R.

Rumors have abounded for years about an upcoming Tiguan R making more than 300 hp and powering all four wheels. In fact, back in 2017, Diess said “we have another sub-brand R which we are considering [for such a model],” about a performance crossover.

Going over our transcripts from that Skype call, it’s easy to see why Carbuzz might conclude that Volkswagen, and specifically Volkswagen US, might be planning a higher performance model.

The quote from Hein Schafer, Senior VP of product marketing for VWoA, as seen in CarBuzz:

"I think we're always looking at finding ways and means of finding more fuel-efficient engine options and, yes, with more horsepower," said Schafer. "So I think the answer is 'yes.'"

Of course, our notes show the same comment in response, specifically to the question “will there be a more powerful engine coming to America. So it’s easy to see why the publication would read from that that a more powerful version of the Tiguan is on its way.

Our skepticism stems from comments made later in the call. In response to another question about powertrain options, Schafer said a little more about what he was hoping for.

“There is a potential that there will be a Tiguan R in future,” said Schafer. “Now, it hasn’t been planned in the longer wheelbase version. Again, it’s our job from the product perspective to try to find these emotional products. We’re pushing extremely hard, but I cannot confirm that it will come. But yes, we are looking for ways and means to maybe have a premium top-end version of the Tiguan, hopefully in future.”

In the context of previous comments made by Volkswagen’s CEO, and Schafer’s specific name-dropping of the Tiguan R, not to mention his description of the crossover being “premium,” we read these comments to mean that Volkswagen is working on bringing the Tiguan R to the US, not a Tiguan GTI.

Sadly, just because they’re working to bring the Tiguan R to the US, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will come. But there’s always hope.