VW’s R vehicles can best be thought of as the poor man’s Audi S. Less expensive, less luxurious and not quite as fast, VW’s performance models are built to bring reasonable speed to the masses, at a price that still allows you to drink Hacker Pschorr Oktoberfest instead of swilling Miller Light. Carscoop reports that VW has given select journalists a peek at what could be if enough customers say, “ja, bitte”: a VW Jetta R sedan. Not content with simply throwing more horsepower at the Jetta, the Jetta R previewed sports a 3.6 liter V6 engine, mated to a DSG gearbox, sending power to all four wheels via a 4Motion all wheel drive system. The prototype was built as a true Q-Ship, with only bigger wheels and quad exhausts signaling that this isn’t your average Jetta.
That leaves me with two questions: will VW build it, and will we see it on this side of the pond? VW says that building a 4Motion Jetta isn’t a problem, and if customers demand a Jetta R then VW will build it. As to whether or not it will make the trip across the pond, that’s an entirely different matter. In the EU, buyers can opt for a Golf R (which we should see here next year), a Scirocco R and (soon) a Polo R. It isn’t likely that VW will import a Jetta R here unless the Golf R sells well; even then, the huge price differential between the EU Jetta and the American Jetta (roughly $13,500, according to Carscoop) may price a Jetta R out of the market. Until the Jetta R becomes a reality, VW fans will have to be satisfied with the 200 horsepower, front drive VW Jetta GLI, expected to hit U.S. dealers in early 2011.