VW’s little SUV to get the full 227kW R treatment

A more aggressive-looking Volkswagen T-Roc, that looks to be an R version of the little SUV, has been spotted testing at the Nürburgring. Despite wearing a jazzy disguise, you can see that the prototype car has a tougher stance, bodywork that allows greater cooling and more serious wheels than ordinary T-Rocs, indicating that the SUV will join the Golf R in VW’s top-tier performance range.

Earlier this year an undisguised car, that we assumed was a T-Roc R thanks to its four visible exhaust outlets, was spotted on the road. However, there was very little else about the way the car looked that suggested it would be the sportiest of the T-Roc range. There was a subtly redesigned front apron, a bigger grille and more brightwork, but nothing too extreme.

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This new car, although covered in a camouflage wrap, looks like a much more comprehensive performance package. The bumpers look even bigger, with a greater amount of vents in it for cooling at the front and a deeper valance at the back surrounding the two sets of dual exhausts.

As well as the chunkier bodywork, the entire car looks as though it sits lower over a set of wheels that are remarkably similar to the Golf R’s 19-inch ten-spoke Pretoria wheels.

If this is a T-Roc R, and the wheels and exhausts certainly suggest that it is, then we can expect it to be powered by the same turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder engine that the VW Group puts in the majority of its hot hatches. As an R, the T-Roc is likely to get the full 227kW and 400Nm of torque – the most that engine has produced in factory trim.

The T-Roc and the Golf are built on the same platform, so transplanting the Golf R’s oily bits into a T-Roc body won’t require a major re-engineering project and most elements will be carried over with relative ease. The main aspect that separates the Golf R from its GTI relatives is its four-wheel-drive system rather than just having front-wheel drive. The Golf R’s Haldex system, that uses a clutch pack ahead of the rear differential to engage the rear axle whenever extra traction is needed, is already seen on the ordinary VW T-Rocs so will certainly make it to the R version.

As the Golf R is no longer available with a manual gearbox, it’s extremely likely that the upcoming T-Roc will also only be available with VW’s DSG seven-speed dual-clutch ’box.

One extra element we would expect the T-Roc to have over a standard Golf R is a set of adaptive dampers. The more sophisticated suspension is optional on the top-spec Golf as its lower body doesn’t absolutely need variable damper rates to keep the body in check while also maintaining sufficient levels of comfort. The T-Roc’s taller ride height, however, is likely to require some more high-tech suspension to cover the same range of abilities.

While Volkswagen is yet to officially sanction the T-Roc R, you’d be silly to bet against it coming to fruition. VW bosses recently admitted to evo that the marque’s R brand, currently exclusive to the Golf, would diversify and cover a wider range of models – the T-Roc R seems to be the first.