One of our favorite high-end tuners is HPA Motorsports, best known for its 500-hp, twin-turbo Golf R32 that was featured in Gran Turismo 4 as well as various national automotive mags. In one of the coolest moves ever by an automaker, VW called up the people at HPA and asked if they wanted to build some project vehicles together for SEM . The result is three officially sanctioned vehicles that bend the rules of tuning to their breaking point.
We have the Jetta R GT (no pics, what's up VW?) that boasts a 500-hp twin-turbo 3.2L V6, 4MOTION all-wheel drive and DSG transmission. Then there's the Touareg R GT with another 500-hp, twin-turbo V6; KW Variant 3-way coilover suspension and six-speed automatic. But nothing beats the Passat R GT, which contains a mighty 575-hp, twin-turbo 3.2L V6; 4MOTION all-wheel drive and DSG transmission. All three vehicles were also given subtle styling tweaks that enhance their new muscles.
Read on for the entire press release, which is a good read, and all the pics...
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PROJECT R GT
An Uncompromised Synthesis of Power and Style
The dream of every high-performance tuner is access to the best, most durable, precise components; intelligent and
adaptable control systems; and progressive, appealing styling.
It's the dream of every high-performance tuner to transform that excellence into the extraordinary, to create
exhilarating answers to the question, "What if...?"
Volkswagen shares this drive to push the dynamic and aesthetic boundaries of its vehicles. The vast network of
engineers and designers within VW's worldwide reach never need to be urged to challenge conventional wisdom, and
this philosophy is reflected not only in the unique character of VW's production vehicles, it's also fully displayed in
a trio of stunning ultra-high-performance projects built for SEMA 2005 in combination with HPA Motorsports.
When VW began to develop plans for its first official appearance at the SEMA Show, it asked its California-based
design studio and HPA to work on a number of questions:
- What if Volkswagen's R concept of high performance, so persuasively presented in the athletic R32, could be
magnified into "supercar" proportions?
- What if Volkswagen's rich crop of technology could be distilled into a more potent mixture?
- What if its narrow-angle V6 powerplant, 4MOTION all-wheel drive and DSG dual-clutch transmission were to be
blended to blow away the world's most discerning performance enthusiasts?
- What if Volkswagen's designers had no other goal except to turn their visions into sculptures of composites and
- And what if an R GT series of vehicles were to be built, to act as dream-makers, as forerunners, perhaps, to a
line of factory-bred ultra-high-performance specials?
The answers to those questions might very well be found among an intriguing trio of project vehicles built specially
for the SEMA Show. The Jetta R GT, Passat R GT and Touareg R GT are not just flights of fancy branding. The
badging on each of these one-offs tells a story of advanced platforms enriched with strategic applications of factory
and aftermarket expertise.
The Jetta R GT began its transformation as a base 2005 model with a 150-horsepower, 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine and
front-wheel drive. After the combined efforts of Volkswagen Design and HPA, however, it now sports
fresh-as-tomorrow bodywork and a powerful, exquisitely massaged drivetrain that's as comfortable cruising Pacific Coast
Highway as it is smoking the competition at weekend time trials.
HPA replaced the base 2.5-liter engine with a twin-turbocharged, twin-intercooled, 550-horsepower variant of VW's
3.2-liter, 240-horsepower six-cylinder V6 that powers the R32. To ensure that every bit of the torque gets to the
ground in the most entertaining way possible, HPA fit VW's highly acclaimed DSG twin-clutch transmission and 4MOTION
all-wheel drive, both systems suitably modified by HPA to complement the engine's bravura performance. A KW FIA
GT 3-way coil-over race suspension and WRC-spec Brembo brake system were also installed to help harness the forces
unleashed by the twin-turbo V6.
Cloaked with a special smoke gray paint treatment in the best Q-ship tradition, the revised coachwork includes new
front and rear bumper fascias, side rocker panels and bespoke rear spoiler, offset by contrasting graphics and smoked
glass treatment. The Jetta R GT's willingness to run is revealed by the huge Michelin ultra-high-performance
tires mounted to the 9.5 x 19-inch custom-built, forged-aluminum, modular Avus® alloy wheels. Should the Jetta R
GT hit the track, changing to a set of 9.5 x 18-inch mono-block, forged-aluminum DTM-spec Avus wheels is quick and easy
with their DTM-style center locks and the AP Racing air jacks incorporated within the Jetta's framework.
The Jetta R GT's cockpit is inspired by the needs and desires of the weekend racer. An integrated roll cage,
Recaro race buckets, Schroth® harnesses and a fuel cell provide the required safety elements for competition, while an
F1-style Stack electronic gauge cluster relays operating parameters to the driver quickly and clearly. Black
leather, black Alcantara and matt-black carbon fiber styling elements complete the interior's unashamedly competitive
Similar technology and design was applied to create the Passat R GT, born from a European-spec 2006 Passat 3.2 V6 FSI
with DSG transmission and 4MOTION all-wheel drive. A rewarding runner in its own right, the European Passat 3.2's
powerful engine, world-beating transmission and all-wheel grip provide an excellent basis for a SEMA special. The
mechanical transformation by HPA resulted in dynamics that launch the Passat R GT into supercar dimensions, and its
sleek, entirely modern bodywork was given the muscular look of a highly toned European high-performance sedan by
Modifications begin with a twin-turbo conversion package that features dual exhaust manifolds, each carrying a Garrett
GT25R ball-bearing turbocharger. Charge cooling is optimized by twin intercoolers, and the exhaust gases pass
through a quad bypass emissions system that retains the stock catalytic converters. It boasts an extraordinary
output of 575 horsepower and massive torque to match.
The Passat R GT's track-prepped chassis is suspended by a KW Variant 3-way coil-over racing setup, and the required
upgraded braking is supplied by the Brembo-supplied system available on the Phaeton. The Passat R GT rides on the
same high-performance Michelin radials as fitted to the Jetta R GT, as well as the forged-aluminum Avus® alloy
wheels. HPA also modified the DSG gearbox for more revs between each upshift to match the engine's increased
Volkswagen's California design studio chose gleaming candy white paint to clothe the modified bodywork, consisting of
new front and rear bumper fascias and side rocker panels. Contrasting black leather cloaks the interior, offset
by touches of white piano lacquer trim, a white Apple iPod® module up front and a white Sony PSP® in the rear. Of
course, befitting a car that can cross Europe in hours, it features VW's highest-quality sound system and full
The Touareg R GT is nothing less than the pure essence of a high-performance luxury SUV. What was formerly a
2005 model with a V6 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission is now a 500-horsepower road-carver that doubles as a
luxurious limousine. Like the other R GT models on display at SEMA, the Touareg has an HPA-built twin-turbocharged
V6 under the hood, special chassis enhancements, a KW Variant 3-way coilover suspension, and a high-performance braking
system supplied by Brembo.
The Touareg's revised lines give it the look of a well-bred urban cruiser. A Volkswagen Individual body kit,
gleaming silver paint, and 10 x 22-inch custom-built, forged-aluminum, mono-block Avus® wheels mounted with Michelin
ultra-high-performance Diamaris tires lend it a commanding visual presence that matches the powertrain's dominating
Front sport bucket seats, an integrated single roll hoop, and the safety systems required for a weekend at the track
are complemented by the luxury of black leather upholstery with gray suede centers, a Bugatti spun-aluminum trim kit by
Volkswagen Individual, a black Apple iPod module, and rear PSP system.
Street and track performance has not yet been measured, but with its 500 horsepower and massive torque, the Touareg R
GT will certainly be an extreme expression of "Fun to Drive.". More conventional measures of its superior
dynamics will soon appear in the enthusiast press.