Volkswagen has let its imagination run wild with a wild Atlas SUV concept that already has enthusiasts hoping it’ll be more than a one-off.
The made-in-America Atlas SUV has been given a big dose of the aftermarket treatment to gauge customer reactions to a car with more excitement than the standard five-seat SUV it’s based on.
Called the Atlas Cross Sport GT Concept, the one-off teaser has dropped its conservative nature for something that looks ready to cut hot laps.
“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 Volkswagen Group of America CEO.
“This concept is proof that it’s possible to build SUVs that could appeal to our performance enthusiast base.”
Volkswagen enthusiast Jamie Orr – he describes himself as a “full-time professional VW nerd” – created the radical blue concept that keeps the heart of a garden variety Atlas but changes the look.
The Eisvogelblau – or kingfisher blue – paint is the start, and it flows into enormous 22-inch ABT Sport HR AeroWheels.
Coil-over springs lower the suspension, which has undergone an equally radical rework, while brakes have been stepped up to eight-piston front calipers.
The Golf R’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo has been fitted with an IS38 turbo and new radiator to help boost power, which Volkswagen says is upwards of 220kW.
“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,” said Orr.
Inside, too, has been tweaked with race car thinking.
Recaro seats are front and centre and have been given the blue treatment, as have various elements such as the gear shifter.
The Atlas Cross Sport GT Concept already has social media calling for the car to become more than a concept, albeit somewhat toned down.
Don’t hold your breath on seeing it in Australia, though. The Atlas is only made with the steering wheel on the left, although Volkswagen is planning an all-electric ID.8 that would fill the space of an Atlas EV in future.
However, Volkswagen appears to be keener to explore what it can do with its core cars. The Amarok W580 that was created in Australia is a local example of that.