Volkswagen is going all out with their R performance editions in New Zealand. The Golf R has been with us for a long time, but the addition of R to the Tiguan and the T-Roc has been more than welcome. New Zealand has been a bit behind on the latter, as Europe have had access to the T-Roc’s R treatment for a wee while now.
Anyway, the T-Roc R is here and better late than never. Sitting atop the T-Roc range, it knocks the T-Roc R-Line down a peg in the family and will set you back $71,990 plus ORC and a Clean Car Fee of $1660. This actually undercuts the Golf R by a snip under $10k which isn’t too bad considering the T-Roc R runs on the same Golf platform.
The T-Roc R is, in essence, a jacked-up Golf R. However, despite packing a 2.0L four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, it is the older unit. This means the T-Roc R produces 221kW of grunt instead the 235kW you get in the Golf R. Torque figures remain the same at 400Nm and both get a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission and 4MOTION AWD with torque splitting differential. The only difference with this set up is the Golf R gets torque vectoring whereas the T-Roc does not.
Despite this, the T-Roc R can still shift. Use launch control and you will reach the national limit in a claimed 4.6 seconds and go on, while in an appropriate legal setting, to a top whack of 250km/h. Volkswagen claim combined fuel consumption figures of 9.3L/100km and 215g/km of CO2.
Like the Golf and the Tiguan, the R makes its sporting intentions known to everyone at first glance. It sits 20mm lower than the regular T-Roc and gets a set of tasty 19-inch Estoril alloys very much like what you get on the Golf and Tiguan R. There are also Matrix LED Headlights, blue brake calipers, R-design front and rear bumpers, a rear spoiler, larger intakes and matt chrome wing mirrors. There was also an optional $5500 Akrapovic aftermarket exhaust system fitted, but more on that in a tick. Oh, and that deep shade of blue is called “Lapiz Blue” in case you were wondering.
Inside will be immediately recognisable to anyone familiar with a current Volkswagen cabin. The R seats blend a decent mix of comfort and support and the R sports steering wheel feels good to hold. The shift paddles for the seven-speed DSG don’t feel as refined as the rest of the interior trim pieces and the drive mode selection switch looks outdated compared with the new touch buttons on the centre console.
While this aforementioned set of touch buttons work fine, the ones situated on that sports steering wheel are not so good. You have to really press them firmly and sometimes require two dabs from your thumb to engage. It is very much the same story with others in the range and personally, will be glad to see the back of them, which according to Volkswagen, will happen from next year.
The T-Roc R claws back brownie points by giving you a substantial amount of kit. There is plenty here, from a 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system containing Android Auto and Wireless Apple CarPlay, a 10.25 LCD instrument cluster, nappa leather heated seats, heated steering wheel, sat nav to name but a few. Safety is also well catered for with the T-Roc R getting adaptive cruise control, parking assist, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, city emergency braking, forward collision warning, reversing camera and hill descent control.
Boot space is rated at 392L which grows to 1237L with the second row stored flat. Its certainly much more practical than the Golf R, but how does it stack up on the road? When you get moving, its quite difficult to notice any deficit in power when compared to the Golf R, despite the powertrain near identical. From around 2,000rpm to around 4,000, the T Roc R’s ability to go hard becomes apparent.
I wouldn’t call it blindingly fast, but it’s certainly more than enough for most. Plus, those Akrapovic pipes give all the joyous the snap, crackle and pop you would expect when you lift off. It’s also just that little bit louder too, especially at high rpm.
The seven-speed DSG like all VW products is pretty darn slick on the way down, but ever so slightly delayed on the way up. Then again, this is probably nit-picking, as it’s a proven system and a good one nonetheless.
What is also very good is the T-Roc R’s dynamic chassis control or DCC. These electronically controlled dampers mean that what ever drive mode you are in, Eco, Normal or even Race mode, the system can tailor the dampers to suit your driving style.
This comes in dead handy when you press that blue R on the steering wheel and you feel like giving the T-Roc R some oomph in the twisty stuff. It corners very much like a Golf R. In fact, you have to really concentrate at first to tell the difference between the two on the handling front. The Golf R is probably just that little bit sharper and gets Drift Mode, but the T-Roc R is still mighty impressive.
Settling back down into ECO mode, it becomes very compliant and I must say, the ride is actually a lot calmer and more composed than its racy appearance would suggest. While I didn’t get the chance to test its ability off road, not that I would imagine many T-Roc buyers will be frequenting a muddy paddock on a daily basis, its nice to know the R comes with Snow, Off Road and Off-Road Individual modes on tap.
For a daily hot small SUV with character and the ability to give you a fun jaunt to and from the office, the Volkswagen T-Roc R is great. Some will want to fork out the extra dough and get the Golf R for its slightly sharper responses and extra grunt, but the T-Roc makes far more sense as a daily driver.
There is fast becoming a plethora of options for those wanting a raised hot hatch in their life and your choice just got even harder thanks the Volkswagen T-Roc R. This one is a good un.