Volkswagen is to use its new, sixth-generation Jetta saloon to expand its R performance range.
At the Mk6 Jetta’s European launch in Munich last week, VW showed a version equipped with a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine with an “unspecified” power output, a six-speed DSG gearbox and the firm’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system.
VW’s R division was spun off as a separate in-house company earlier this year, similar to BMW’s M unit, and it is keen to develop a follow-up to the Golf R and Scirocco R models.
Also in development at the R division alongside the Jetta is the long-rumoured Polo R, following Audi’s announcement that it will re-engineer the Polo/A1 platform for four-wheel drive, something the platform was previously unable to cater for.
VW’s R&D chief, Ulrich Hackenberg, told Autocar that a Jetta R is being evaluated and its chances of production are secure if the customer demand is there. That should be a near certainty, given the popularity of V6 sports saloons in the US, the Jetta’s key market and one where VW expects to significantly increase volume of the new car.
“If there are customers asking for it, we will do it,” he said. “It wouldn’t be a problem for us. The Jetta’s platform can take four-wheel drive.”