At the European launch of the new 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, a very special example of the stylish sedan was rolled out--one with a 3.6-liter V-6 lurking under the hood. Officials weren’t willing to specify the power rating but they did confirm that it was matched to a six-speed DSG dual clutch transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive system.
As a rough guide of the Jetta R’s potential, the outgoing Volkswagen Passat R36 equipped with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine developed a healthy 300 horsepower so with those kinds of numbers any hotted-up Jetta could be keeping up with WRX STIs and Lancer Evos. It would also cater for those performance buffs that still prefer naturally aspirated power over turbos, a rarity in today’s compact hatch and sedan segments.
Speaking with Autocar, Volkswagen R&D chief Ulrich Hackenberg revealed that the concept of a Jetta R was being evaluated and that if demand was deemed sufficient the car would be built. Given the U.S. market’s penchant for sporty sedans rather than hatches, Volkswagen would be foolish to ignore the opportunity to ignite interest in the Jetta nameplate by offering such a halo model.
“If there are customers asking for it, we will do it,” Hackenberg said. “It wouldn’t be a problem for us. The Jetta’s platform can take four-wheel drive.”
If, on the other hand, a torquey V-6 seems a bit too much in these days of environmental consciousness, Volkswagen is also thought to be considering a smaller Polo R model but the chances of this car being offered in the U.S. are slim. There are also reports that a R version of the new 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid is also in the works.