Latest photos show a different prototype to one spotted before, with a different body colour and the same distinctive hoop daytime running lights of higher-spec cars. A production T-Roc R would undoubtedly follow this distinction.
Volkswagen remains coy about the car's existence, even announcing the launch of a T-Roc cabriolet on the way in 2020. The T-Roc R was mentioned nowhere in the announcement, despite an expected launch date in 2019 (the cabriolet's due in 2020). The R's more advanced stage of development makes it almost a cert to arrive first.
Volkswagen sources hinted at the hot SUV being developed to become the most agile offering in its class, with chassis development guru Karsten Schebsdat and professional racing racer Benny Leuchter on hand to ensure its competitiveness.
Speaking at the launch of the new Volkswagen Polo GTI, Schebsdat, who has led the development of models such as the Golf GTI Clubsport S and previously headed up chassis development at Porsche, said the T-Roc is already well suited to a performance application and therefore would be an effective R model.
"I think the standard T-Roc with 4Motion [four-wheel drive] and the DCC chassis with 19in wheels is the most agile SUV in that class," he said. " If there will be a T-Roc R, it will definitely be even more fun."
The model, a rival to group stablemate the Cupra Ateca, will have 306bhp and has been spotted testing recently at the Nürburgring. Leuchter has been drafted in to provide input for the car's set-up. He was a key contributor to the Clubsport S's final technical settings and was the man behind the wheel when it set an earlier Nürburgring front-wheel drive lap record.