296bhp Volkswagen T-Roc R makes first UK appearance at Goodwood
On sale in autumn, performance crossover closely follows segment-leading Golf R hot hatchback
First revealed at the Geneva motor show in March, the T-Roc R looks set to become one of the major players in the burgeoning performance crossover market when it launches.
That means it has the VW Group’s EA888 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine – now fitted with a particulate filter and in 296bhp tune – part-time Haldex-based all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Despite a close hardware relationship with the Cupra – and the Audi SQ2 – settings are unique for each car. Although it sits higher than the Golf, the T-Roc R is 20mm closer to the ground than the standard T-Roc thanks to lower suspension and firmer settings. Passive dampers will be standard but VW’s DCC system will be an option.
The T-Roc R gets 18in wheels as standard, with 19s as an upgrade option. All versions will have the beefy 17in brakes from the Golf R Performance. A quad tailpipe exhaust sits below the rear bumper and there will be the option of an Akrapovic system.
Other visual changes include beefier bumpers, an anodised finish for the radiator grille, matt chrome mirror caps and R badges. The cabin gets some carbonfibre trim and a sportier steering wheel, plus the option of the Golf R’s sport seats. Pricing is unconfirmed, but expect the T-Roc R to start at around £35,000.
Q&A with Jost Capito, R division boss
What are the fundamentals of the R brand?
“It is all-wheel drive, it is sporty and – after discussions with customers in a lot of countries – we know they want to see cars around 300 horsepower. People say why not go higher, but we need to hit a certain price, a sweet spot: we sell more than 20,000 Golf Rs a year.”
How do you stop confusion with GTI models?
“Firstly, they have two-wheel drive, but also they are more extreme. The R models have to be less racy, but with the same capability or even more. They always have more horsepower but are more about everyday usage. A TCR or Clubsport is much more aggressive. The GTI is in Up, Polo and Golf – and we are saying that R is starting with Golf.”
So will there be several other R models?
“The task I’ve been given is to make R to Volkswagen what M is for BMW. That means different positioning from just having a Golf R. There will be a wider spread. For the future, the Golf and T-Roc will not be the only ones, that’s for sure.”
Source: Autocar Online