VW has made no secret its intentions to expand the R sub-brand. And already, those plans are bearing fruit - VW launched a T-Roc R last year, and late last month revealed a Touareg R. Soon enough, there’ll be an all-new Golf R too.
There are limits to how big R might get, though. Speaking to Car Throttle, R GmbH chief Jost Capito played down the prospect of R becoming as prolific as Audi’s S designation, which is available on almost every one of Ingolstadt’s products. “We will have an R version where we think it makes sense - that doesn’t mean all,” he said.
Capito gave some indication as to what models might miss out on an R makeover. “The Polo would not work - when we see what the clients have in this range, there is an interest but the volume would be too low, and the cost would be too high,” he explained.
A particular issue for the Polo is its big brother. “It [a Polo R] would come very close to the area where the Golf [R] is, and the Golf is much higher volume. The Golf is the starting point for R models from the size of the cars,” Capito said.
That last statement would appear to rule out a T-Cross R and Up! R, not that we were expecting either. In terms of the bigger stuff, Capito also noted that the Passat, “would also not be the first choice.” He reckons that “the main customers who buy Passat are not the performance customers.”
When asked if the closely related Arteon might be a better candidate, Capito replied, “yeah, and more sporty cars [in the range]”. This is unlikely to involve the turbocharged 3.0-litre VR6 VW was testing in an Arteon prototype a couple of years ago, however.
“We have to take into account the CO2 emissions and so on, and we have to look at what is the right engine for the right cars,” he said, adding, “In the moment we are very happy with the four-cylinder. The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is a really good engine and still shows a lot of potential, so I think that that’s the first choice”.
That makes sense, since VW already offers the EA888 in the Arteon, albeit putting out a more modest 268bhp. Expect any Arteon R to develop well over 300, and also be available as a ‘shooting brake’ estate.