VW Atlas Cross Sport GT Concept Gets the Golf R’s 300-HP Engine

Inspired by the launch of the Golf R, VW took the Golf R’s EA288 turbo-four

  • Inspired by the launch of the Golf R, VW took the Golf R’s EA288 turbo-four and put it in the Atlas Cross Sport to create the GT concept.
  • The Cross Sport GT routes more than 300 horsepower through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox to all four wheels, which should lower the standard car’s 7.5-second 60-mph sprint time.
  • The concept also rides on a custom suspension and 22-inch ABT Sport wheels, and it features a revised interior with four Recaro performance seats.

    The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport ditches the third row of seats found in the standard Atlas in favor of a more rakish, coupe-like roofline. However, it uses the same 235-hp four-cylinder and optional 276-hp V-6, so the coupe-ified Atlas isn’t much more athletic than the three-row model. That changes with the new Atlas Cross Sport GT concept, unveiled today by Volkswagen. Inspired by the launch of the Golf R, the GT concept receives a host of upgrades to create a crossover “that could appeal to our performance enthusiast base,” as explained by VW Group of America CEO Scott Keogh.


    The concept is the handiwork of Jamie Orr, a VW enthusiast and brand ambassador, who took a 2021 Atlas Cross Sport SEL Premium R-Line off the assembly line and infused it with some of the performance goodies from the Golf R. Most notably, this meant an engine swap—the GT concept features a version of the EA888 turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four found in the Golf R. VW says the engine makes over 300 horsepower, routed through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission instead of the standard eight-speed auto. The GT concept is equipped with all-wheel drive, and while VW didn’t provide performance figures, it’s safe to assume the extra power allows for a quicker 60-mph sprint than the 7.5 seconds posted by the normal V-6 model.

    The Cross Sport GT was hand painted at the Chattanooga factory in Eisvogelblau, or Kingfisher Blue, which is also available on certain European VW products. Orr gave the GT concept a sportier stance by installing 22-inch ABT Sport HR Aerowheels with blue accents shod in Yokohama Advan Sport V105 285/35R-22 rubber. The suspension is lowered as well, featuring custom ST Suspension XTA Plus 3 coil-overs with blue, GT Concept–branded springs. The front brakes have been upgraded to Tarox eight-piston calipers.

    volkswagen atlas cross sport gt concept


    Along with the stunning blue paint job, the exterior features unique GT badging and gloss-black trim pieces in place of chrome. Eisvogelblau is also found throughout the interior, adorning the special Recaro Sportster CS seats, custom gearshift, steering wheel, door panels, floor mats, and seatbelts. The rear bench has been removed, with two Recaros taking its place to make this a four-passenger car, and the GT gains a center console in the second row which mimics the design of the one found up front. VW points out that none of the modified interior pieces use animal-based materials.

    Although the Cross Sport GT concept seems more like a project cooked up by VW employees in their spare time, it shows that the company is exploring how to make its SUV lineup attractive to the enthusiasts who snap up GTIs and Golf Rs. Maybe with strong enough feedback, VW might consider building a sportier Atlas R, since it already sells R models of the T-Roc, Tiguan, and Touareg crossovers for the Europe market.

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