In recent years, the Detroit Auto Show has threatened to turn into the battery-car show. But while there are plenty of hybrids, plug-ins and the like waiting on the Cobo Center floor this year, there’s a clear revival of performance.
And while the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette is clearly one of the show’s stars, Detroit makers aren’t the only ones emphasizing muscle. Volkswagen is expanding its R-Line and showed the Passat Performance Concept at the North American International Auto Show.
With the Passat setting a record with more than 117,000 sales in 2013, a performance-oriented model could help add to that total. But VW isn’t waiting to give some of its existing models a boost.
Among the many models on the Volkswagen stand, showgoers can discover R-Line trim packages for the Tiguan and Touareg SUVs.
For the Tiguan, the special model rides on 19-inch rims and has a color-matched body kit, fender flares, rear spoiler, LED license plate illumination and an R-Line badge on the grille. The Tiguan R-Line interior gets a flat-bottom steering wheel, stainless-steel scuff plates, aluminum sport pedals and black headliner. The R-Line package is available on the SEL trim model with front- or all-wheel drive.
Modifications to the Touareg R-Line are similar to those on the smaller ute, except for larger 20-inch rims. The Touareg R-Line also gets a sport-tuned suspension. The sportier package is available for the Touareg Lux model equipped with the 3.0-liter VR6 or 3.0-liter TDI diesel.
VW didn’t announce pricing for the R-Line crossovers, but both are expected to arrive in showrooms next fall. VW already offers R-Line versions of both the CC and Beetle coupe.
Will the Passat be the next to get a performance boost? The Passat Performance Concept uses VW’s 1.8-liter, turbocharged and direct-injected four cylinder that produces an impressive 250 horsepower. While VW calls it a concept, a production model would seem likely to find its way to dealers at some point.
Currently, the Passat is offered with a 2.5-liter five cylinder, 3.6-liter V-6 and 2.0-liter turbodiesel four cylinder.
The Passat concept also features lowered ride height and a number of visual enhancements, including dual exhaust tips, 19-inch wheels, LED taillights and carbon-fiber style mirror caps. Inside, the seats get specific two-tone leather and the dash has carbon-fiber-like pieces.
Bryan Laviolette contributed to this report.