Volkswagen recently revealed its latest enthusiast concept vehicle for 2021: a punchy, turbo-powered Atlas Cross Sport GT Concept. Combining fresh styling updates and a unique color palette with a modified 2-liter turbo engine, the one-of-a-kind midsize SUV build highlights the Atlas Cross Sport’s superior handling, striking design details and the sporty potential of the midsize SUV. 1
The bespoke concept was built for and by Volkswagen enthusiasts, with Jamie Orr at the helm. The concept car took several months to create and includes a host of performance-enhancing touches befitting of its moniker.
“For more than three decades, Volkswagen has been exploring GT trims on existing cars. There has been a Passat GT, Golf GT and Jetta GT,” Orr says. “Similar to previous models, the Atlas Cross Sport GT Concept is not a full R, or a full GTI, but a well-executed, special, sportier concept built from the production model.”
To understand the midsize SUV’s capabilities firsthand, Orr went on an 8,000-mile, cross-country road trip from Philadelphia to California to test the vehicle’s chassis in a variety of conditions.
“I wanted to see what the Atlas Cross Sport was capable of,” Orr says. “I took it through desert flats and the snow-capped Rockies [and] it handled it exceptionally.”
Power for the Atlas Cross Sport GT comes by way of an EA888 2-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine used in the Golf R, with a larger IS38 turbo that together generates over 300 horsepower. A seven-speed DSG® automatic DQ500 transmission was added to the car’s standard 4Motion all-wheel-drive system to support the additional boost in power.
“One of my favorite things about the car is its transmission. It’s ultra-high performance,” Orr says. “It works so well, because it’s built on the MQB chassis, which underpins the Tiguan and the Golf R. It literally shares the same Volkswagen DNA, which makes the interchangeability for this project so much more fun … and lets us utilize the best components of other models to make something extra unique.”
Designed for optimal speed, the team reimagined the car as a four-seater. ST Suspension XTA Plus 3 coil-overs with color-matched and GT Concept-branded springs were added to give the vehicle an adjustable stance. In the car’s ‘track setting’, the vehicle can be lowered approximately 120mm, and in ‘street setting’, can be lowered approximately 95mm.
The build also includes many special details, including 22-inch ABT Sport HR AEROWHEELs, wrapped in Yokohama Advan Sport V105 UHP 285/35R22 tires and TAROX eight-piston front brakes. Custom GT badging is consistent throughout the entire vehicle and a concept gloss black exterior trim replaces the production model’s standard chrome finishes.
Hand painted by the Chattanooga assembly team in Eisvogelblau – a European Volkswagen color which translates to “Kingfisher Blue” in English – the car is an instant showstopper.
“Our aim was to draw attention to the many great attributes of the Atlas Cross Sport, particularly its strong exterior styling and performance capabilities,” said Sean Maynard, Enthusiast and Motorsport Marketing Specialist, Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Orr’s team made sure to incorporate the color scheme throughout various interior details of the car – from the original concept RECARO Sportster CS seats to the Black Forest Industries blue DSG® gear selector and door cards. For a clean, cohesive look, the team added blue accents on the car’s steering wheel, safety belts and Volkswagen floor mats. All of the modified interior materials are also non-animal based.
Rounding out the custom interior seating layout is a special center console, which follows the design language of the front console. Inside the rear console storage compartment is an available Volkswagen Accessories convenience safe and additional USB charging ports.
“I’ve shown several people who’ve gotten a sneak peek of the car the safe and they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, how did you think of this? This is phenomenal,’” Orr says. “They are surprised to learn that the interior accessory is currently offered in the Volkswagen store.”
Orr’s hope is that the special SUV project will bring as much joy to other Volkswagen fans and enthusiasts as it has brought to him. “Seeing it all come together is just so exciting,” Orr says. “The finished quality is high—just as the Atlas Cross Sport deserves.”
Keep an eye out for the Atlas Cross Sport GT Concept vehicle, along with the rest of the 2021 Volkswagen Enthusiast Fleet, at select VW enthusiast events across the country this year.