Please VW, you need to put this into production.
Volkswagen has a solid connection with the car enthusiast community, building special concepts to show off the tuning and customization potential. Some recent examples include the retro-themed Jetta Blue Lagoon Concept, stunning Arteon Big Sur Concept, and practical Tiguan Black RiNo Concept. Sadly, these vehicles are not available for purchase, but some ideas from them, including the Atlas' rugged Basecamp Package, did go from concept to production.
The latest vehicle from the enthusiast fleet was just revealed, based on the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. It's called the Atlas Cross Sport GT Concept, and it could be the closest thing we ever see to an Atlas R model. Built by Volkswagen enthusiast and brand ambassador Jamie Orr, the GT Concept shows how cool you can make an Atlas Cross Sport with the right parts and accessories.
The concept started life as an SEL Premium R-Line model before Orr worked his magic. The exterior changes include wild 22-inch ABT Sport HR Aerowheels wrapped in Yokohama Advan Sport V105 UHP tires, ST XTA Plus 3 coilover suspension, color-matched springs, and Tarox eight-piston front brakes. Completing the look, all of the chrome pieces are replaced with gloss black, and the exterior is painted Eisvogelblau (Kingfisher Blue), a color only available on select VW models in Europe. To get this hue on an Atlas, VW hand-painted it in Chatanooga.
"We really wanted to draw attention to the many great attributes of the Atlas Cross Sport, particularly its strong exterior styling, and evaluate its potential performance capabilities," said Sean Maynard, Enthusiast and Motorsport Marketing Specialist for Volkswagen.
Orr did not leave the Atlas Cross Sport stock under the hood. Rather than use the standard turbocharged four-cylinder or 3.6-liter VR6, the GT Concept borrows the EA888 2.0 TSI engine from the Golf R, producing over 300 horsepower. Even the standard eight-speed automatic transmission is gone, replaced by a seven-speed DSG with 4Motion all-wheel-drive to handle the added power.
"The production model has excellent acceleration, braking, and handling for its size, but we knew we wanted to push the car even further so it could live up to its GT name," Orr said.
"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," said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "This concept is proof that it's possible to build SUVs that could appeal to our performance enthusiast base."
To match this concept's wild exterior and improved performance, Orr went wild on the interior. The Eisvogelblau color is present throughout the cabin, including the bespoke Recaro Sportster CS seats and blue golf ball shifter. Other colorful touches are found on the steering wheel and the Volkswagen Accessories floor mats.
"I have had the opportunity to drive standard production Atlas Cross Sport vehicles in a variety of different conditions and environments, which has proven to me what a capable platform it is," Orr said. "The production model has excellent acceleration, braking, and handling for its size, but I knew we could build a car that could maximize its potential and live up to the GT name. It's been a lot of fun creating this concept. Hopefully, it'll get a smile out of people."
The Atlas Cross Sport GT Concept will be shown off in Chattanooga before traveling to select events across the USA later this year. We sincerely hope VW decides to build a toned-down production version.