Despite the extensive modifications, the Jetta R GT was designed to operate just like a standard production Volkswagen. As HPA's Marcel Horn pointed out, VW's narrow-angle V6 is an excellent and robust basis for performance tuning, and even when tuned to the extreme is a comfortable everyday runner as well as a formidable weekend warrior. In the Jetta R GT, the engine has been modified with dual Garrett GT25R ball-bearing-based turbos, which feature proprietary HGP integrated exhaust manifolds and turbine housings. The fuel system was upgraded to slake the system's thirst for 100-octane gasoline, and though little needed to be done to engine internals to accommodate the increased output (stronger con-rod bearings were about it), much was done to optimize airflow and cooling, including a cast aluminum short runner intake manifold, dual 3.0-inch (70mm) ceramic-coasted downpipes, dual air-to-air intercoolers and a quad bypass exhaust system that retains the stock catalytic converters. Because the standard DSG transmission could not safely withstand the Jetta R GT's massive increase in torque (VW puts DSG's limits at 300 bhp and 350 Nm of torque), HPA worked closely with Volkswagen's engineers to develop a one-off gearbox that allows all the engine's power to reach the four wheels. It was also tuned for lengthened gears and sportier shifts.
Marcel Horn says the Jetta R GT should be able to reach 60 mph from a dead stop in less than four seconds. Aided by 4MOTION traction and rapid-fire shifts from the DSG gearbox, it is a singular experience. The best analogy would be that of a Touring Car with the most world's nicest cockpit.
VW Passat R GTWhat if VW wanted to build an M5 beater? What if VW wanted to embarrass Audi and its RS6? They couldn't do much better than offer us the Passat R GT, which elevates the concept of a VW Q-ship to its ultimate expression. With its 575-bhp twin-turbocharged powerplant, 4MOTION drivetrain and DSG gearbox, Passat R GT would undoubtedly command top status on the autobahn, but its exquisitely formed bodywork would also draw admiring looks in the world's toniest neighborhoods.
Based on a European-spec 2006 Passat with 3.2-liter V6 FSI, DSG and 4MOTION, it now sports a twin-turbocharged 3.2-liter, non-FSI V6 and modified DSG gearbox. Cloaked with new front and rear bumper fascias, side rocker panels and a rear spoiler, again drawn and developed at VW's Southern California design studio, it was painted candy white and adorned with contrasting "ghost" graphics. The Passat R GT has a "sneaky fast" elegance, punctuated by the large front intakes and dual quad exhaust pipes that form the major cues to its supercar level of performance.
The Passat R GT sits on big 9x19-inch Avus forged aluminum modular wheels mounted with Michelin Pilot Sport2 radials, size 245/30-19. A KW Variant 3 coilover suspension was used for its more street-oriented adjustability, and the brakes are a Brembo street performance system comprised of 365x34mm discs with eight-piston monoblock calipers up front and 365x22mm discs at the rear.
Inside is a sporty ambience created by contrasts of black leather upholstery and white piano lacquer trim. The latest electronics and earth-shaking stereophonics are complemented by dual white Apple iPods situated within the center armrest and dual white Sony PSP units integrated in the seatbacks. It all looks very production-ready, and we'd love to see at the very least the body kit available along with the upcoming Passat 3.6L. Oh, and please add 4MOTION and DSG while you're at it. We suppose the 575 bhp is too much to ask for, but how about a turbo 3.6?
VW Touareg R GTIt's difficult to call the Touareg R GT the "mildest" of the three project cars, considering it has a 500-bhp, 3.2-liter, twin-turbocharged MPI V6 under the hood, but it's the only one of the three R GT projects not to have been fashioned a bespoke body for the SEMA Show. This 2005 Touareg still looks especially stylish, however, due to its factory-offered Volkswagen Individual body kit, 10x22-inch custom-built forged aluminum monoblock Avus wheels and 295/30-22 Michelin Diamaris radials.
The interior sports a VW Individual W12 package with front sport buckets and black leather upholstery with suede centers. Bugatti spun aluminum trim, dual black Apple iPods in the cupholders, and dual black Sony PSPs in the seatbacks give it a distinctive, retro-modern touch. Schroth quick-fit harnesses were also fitted for added security during high-speed autobahn runs or track sessions. Yes, track sessions. We'd love to get the Touareg R GT on the track against the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Jeep Cherokee SRT. The R GT's KW Variant 3 coilovers and Brembo performance brakes certainly would be up to the challenge.
EndgameWhat will Project R GT mean after all the hoopla dies down? Do these vehicles represent empty dreams, or do they mark a turning point in Volkswagen's history? We are optimistic. The gulf between the factory's offerings and the desires of the American enthusiast may not have been bridged at this year's SEMA Show, but now at least we are speaking the same language to each other across that rapidly shrinking gap.
Finally, listen to the advice Derek Jenkins gave to an appreciative crowd. "Let VW know how you feel about these cars," he said. Scream loudly enough, he hinted, and bits of R GT will soon be showing up on the production line. So start screaming.