Purists will shake their head in bewilderment as the premium car makers’ growing love for the SUV sports coupé starts to filter into the mainstream, but the economic reality of a widening global market for distinctive high-riding cars makes it an inevitability.
Volkswagen's plan to produce a range-topping version of its upcoming Tiguan Coupé with 300bhp by no means unique - it's simply further evidence of the trend for halo SUV models.
Even with the current downward turn in China’s economy, there are few signs of the nation’s love for SUVs slowing down. Sure, peak growth of sales is at the cheaper end of the market, to the point that domestic makers are at last grabbing a foothold, but that shouldn’t distract from the power of these halo products. As the sector grows, so too does the appetite for standout models.
The question is whether they can be sold with any authority as performance vehicles. With the laws of physics against them, that’s a big ask, but there is evidence from the likes of the Range Rover Sport SVR that it can be done. No matter where you sell cars in the world, authenticity is key; no one wants to drive around in the automotive equivalent of a show horse.
Nor does heritage guarantee success. VW may be able to lean on its long history with GTI and R models to justify its actions, but there will be no swifter way to wash away the equity they have built up than by abusing it. As inevitable as its going on sale may be, the Tiguan Coupé must deliver on the road as well as in the marketing brochure.