A fresh report out of North America suggests Volkswagen will use the GTI badge on a performance version of the soon-to-be-facelifted Tiguan, though it will likely be restricted to that market.
According to CarBuzz, the rumoured Tiguan R is not on the cards for the United States (the country receives only the long-wheelbase body style we know as the Tiguan Allspace, after all), although VW is still planning some sort of “performance version” for the US.
SA-born Hein Schafer, senior vice-president for product and strategy at Volkswagen Group of America, told CarBuzz via Skype the company was keen to "enrich the Tiguan's line-up with a performance version".
"I think we're always looking at finding ways and means of finding more fuel-efficient engine options and, yes, with more horsepower. So, I think the answer is 'yes'," Schafer reportedly said after being asked about the possibility of a Tiguan GTI.
It’s an interesting rumour, considering the Wolfsburg-based firm previously insisted it had no plans to expand the GTI range beyond the Up, Polo and Golf, explaining why high-performance SUVs would instead wear the “R” badge.
A perhaps more likely possibility is VW will go with the GLI badge on the performance Tiguan in North America, as it has done with the go-faster version of its Jetta for that market.
Of course, the current Tiguan offered in South Africa is already available with a version of the turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine from the Golf GTI, here sending 162 kW and 350 N.m to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Interestingly, while Hendrik Muth, head of product marketing for the VW brand in Germany, recently told us a performance version of the Tiguan was waiting in the wings (with prototypes having been spotted testing, too), he refused to confirm whether it would wear the R badge...