Golf R too obvious? T-Roc R too small? Golf R Estate too dowdy? The Tiguan is here
By Matt Bird / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Loading comments
Never let it be said that Volkswagen doesn't offer its buyers choice, especially when it comes to fast cars. Already we have five derivatives of performance Golf, with a sixth to follow soon, the Up GTI serves to remind us that fun doesn't need 400hp, and the Arteon R is imminent as well – with a swoopy Shooting Brake estate, too.
Thursday's news is that the Tiguan R is now on sale to UK customers, priced from £45,915. Surprisingly, it's the first proper performance flagship for the Tiguan range since its 2008 launch – don't expect it to be the last. It makes use of the Golf R's powertrain, predictably enough, with 320hp and 310lb ft from the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder channelled through a seven-speed DSG. A 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds is a couple of tenths off the Golf R's, and just the thing to make an impression on the way home from school. Top speed is 155mph.
Also like the equivalent hatch, the Tiguan R boasts the latest generation of 4Motion all-wheel drive, meaning R-Performance Torque Vectoring that can apportion up to 100 per cent of the torque to the outside rear wheel. VW reckons this "leads to noticeably more agile handling and eliminates understeer". The DCC adaptive dampers are standard for the Tiguan where they are optional on the Golf; still, with these snazzy but very large 21-inch wheels as standard, the best suspension possible might be wise. The front brake discs are the same size as the standard Golf R wheel, at 18-inch diameter.
There are a few more boxes to dab in on the VW R bingo card before we're done: note the four exhausts, matt chrome mirrors, black rear diffuser and blue brake calipers. An Akrapovic exhaust doesn't yet have a price confirmed, but will be an option for UK customers – excellent.
Perhaps the biggest area of differentiation between Golf and Tiguan is inside, the SUV continuing with an older design of interior and so featuring – get this – buttons. The HVAC controls also look a little more logical, even if they appear to have switched physical switches for haptic ones. Notable upgrades for the cabin include an R button on the steering wheel to cycle through drive modes (also selectable on the dial by the gearstick), chunky shift paddles like the Golf R and sports seats in 'Sardegna' cloth.
As mentioned, the Tiguan is kicking off from £45,915, or £6,645 more than the standard Golf R hatch. Which actually leaves it in an odd place market-wise, undercutting premium rivals like the BMW X3 M40i and Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 – both comfortably more than £50k – but also carrying a premium over cars like the Cupra Ateca, which starts at £38,600. Nevertheless, it isn't hard to see the Tiguan R proving popular in a territory with an insatiable fast SUV appetite. And if this isn't the VW that perfectly suits your lifestyle, then the Touareg R is on sale next month. No, really…
- 2021 VW Golf R | UK Review
- 320hp Arteon R Shooting Brake revealed
- VW T-Roc R vs. Ford Focus ST estate
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