Volkswagen T-Roc R: 306bhp hot SUV caught testing at the Nurburgring

Volkswagen T-Roc R: 306bhp hot SUV caught testing at the Nurburgring

Sighting follows VW boss Herbert Diess’s confirmation that performance SUV will skip GTI and go straight for an R version

Volkswagen will launch a 306bhp T-Roc R to rival group stablemate the Seat Ateca Cupra, as shown by new pictures of a development model testing at the Nürburgring.

Wearing a set of larger diameter wheels and featuring a quad exhaust setup, the spotted hot SUV is powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine as its main rival. However, the VW model will likely come with a slight power advantage over its 300bhp sibling to help justify a higher price – mimicking a trend seen with the Golf R and Leon Cupra.

Much will be shared with the hot Golf, because the T-Roc is based on the same MQB A underpinnings as the hatchback. But even with the same outputs, the T-Roc R’s additional weight and higher centre of gravity will ensure it falls short of matching the 4.6sec 0-62mph time and dynamic handling of its smaller sibling.

In typical VW R style, the future performance T-Roc’s styling will likely remain restrained, giving it an understated look like the Golf R

This early ‘in the metal’ sighting comes four weeks after VW research and development boss Frank Welsch told Autocar that he had comissioned the build of a development car to test the T-Roc R formula. Welsch said he “liked the idea” and expected it to “go well in the UK”.

VW chairman Herbert Diess revealed earlier this year that the fastest T-Roc would bypass the GTI name because “GTI is for us the hot hatch; a sporty car, classless and accessible for many. It should be this car – a hot hatch.” For an SUV, Diess said “we have another sub-brand, R”.

The Volkswagen T-Roc has been revealed. Read more here 

The T-Roc R would sit above the current most potent 187bhp T-Roc, which Welsch believes will help the model stand out in its busy segment. 

“We have a 187bhp T-Roc, which is more than the competitors offer,” he said, “and we’ll see if lots of people take that”.

Further T-Roc range expansion

The commonality of parts for cars using the MQB A platform on which the T-Roc sits also raises the prospect of the new SUV being sold in plug-in hybrid GTE form along with, potentially, a warm GTD set-up. However, the future of diesel engines in smaller cars remains up for debate as manufacturers weigh up the cost of meeting new emissions regulations for diesels against how much of a premium car buyers will be willing to pay. A pure-electric version of the T-Roc is unlikely, however, as VW is set to launch a bespoke family of electric models on its MEB platform from 2020.

Welsch’s openness to branding a fast T-Roc as an R model rather than a GTI also signals a clear policy to reserve the latter badge for its famous hot hatches. Even so, the firm is looking to broaden the appeal of its GTI range, with the entry-level Up GTI set to launch early next year.

As the SUV sector booms, car makers are looking to exploit sales niches while creating halo models that attract attention to a line-up. For example, Nissan launched Nismo models of its Juke, but VW’s decision to launch an R version of the T-Roc would signify a stepping up in the mainstream performance SUV stakes.

Read more:

We’ve driven the Volkswagen T-Roc prototype – read about it here

Comment: will a hot Volkswagen T-Roc be a sales success?



Source: Autocar Online

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