The Volkswagen T-Cross was revealed in October 2018 and is set to slot in below the Tiguan (the T-Roc is not destined for local shores) when it arrives in South Africa at some point in 2019. But digital artist X-Tomi Design has already rendered a T-Cross GTI … and even a T-Cross R.

The Hungary-based artist’s imagined T-Cross GTI borrows the bulk of its sporty styling from the Polo GTI, including the familiar “Brescia” 18-inch alloys and the signature red accent line running through the grille and headlamps. And that makes sense, considering the T-Cross shares its MQB A0 platform with the hatchback (and will be built alongside it in Spain).

However, whether the Wolfsburg-based brand will actually consider building a GTI-badged T-Cross – dropping in the Polo GTI’s turbocharged 2,0-litre four-pot – is another question altogether. Indeed, soon after the reveal, the new vehicle’s project manager, Felix Kaschützke, told Autocar that “the T-Cross is not a sports car”.

The head of VW in the United Kingdom, meanwhile, suggested in September the hallowed GTI badge would not be slapped onto the rump of a crossover, before hinting the R badge would be a better fit for any upcoming high-performance SUVs.

Incidentally, X-Tomi Design has also rendered a T-Cross R (pictured below), which gains a handful of exterior design cues from the Golf R, plus silver roof rails. While an all-wheel-drive T-Roc R seem fairly likely (and prototypes have been spotted testing), we wouldn’t hold our breath for an R-badged version of the smaller crossover.

For the record, the standard T-Cross will be offered with a choice of four turbocharged engines (all sending their oomph to the front wheels): three petrol and a single diesel. The familiar 1,0 TSI three-cylinder petrol engine generates either 70 kW or 85 kW, while the flagship draws 110 kW from its 1,5 TSI four-cylinder heart. The 1,6 TDI four-cylinder engine, meanwhile, offers diesel drivers some 70 kW.

Volkswagen T-Cross R render