The high-performance SUV segment is booming, and it’s no longer off-limits to mainstream brands. Volkswagen threw its hat in the ring when it unveils the fire-breathing T-Roc R at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It’s a taller, more spacious alternative to the Golf R that packs a similar punch. It’s billed as a near-production concept car, meaning it’s almost ready to go on sale.
Starting with a T-Roc, a sub-Tiguan model developed primarily for the European market, Volkswagen’s performance wizards added a deeper front bumper with larger vents to direct more cooling air into the engine bay, and flared fenders to fit larger tires wrapped around 18-inch alloy wheels. Diagonal LEDs integrated into the front bumper add a high-tech touch to the look.
The R’s flagship role in the T-Roc range ensures it receives the latest in Volkswagen’s armada of tech features. It’s available with a driver-configurable digital instrument cluster, and a large, high-resolution touchscreen on the center console for the infotainment system. The software perfectly reflects the T-Roc R’s two missions in life: It includes a race mode, and an off-road mode. Cloth upholstery comes standard, and leather is available at an extra cost.
As expected, power comes from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine borrowed from the Golf R. It delivers 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to the four wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and a sport-tuned version of Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system. The T-Roc R accelerates to 62 mph from a stop in 4.9 seconds, and it reaches its top speed at 155 mph.
There’s no sense in stuffing a 300-hp engine in an SUV if the brakes and the suspension aren’t upgraded as well. Bigger brakes and a firmer suspension are part of the R package. The brakes also come from the Golf R that the T-Roc R shares its basic platform with.
We expect the Volkswagen T-Roc R will go on sale before the end of 2019. When it arrives, it will be the first R-badged SUV, and it will mark the first time Volkswagen’s go-fast R division sells two models at the same time. Don’t get your checkbook out just yet, though. Digital Trends learned from a Volkswagen representative that the T-Roc R will not be sold in the United States.
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