What is it?
There’s no question about modern Volkswagen's ability to build an extremely desirable four-wheel-drive performance hatchback.
That car has a name, of course: the Golf R. But the proposition changed last week, because the Golf R officially went off sale (don’t worry, it will be back in Mk8 form) and the T-Roc R arrived to step into its 296bhp shoes.
Individual preferences being what they are, the fact that the T-Roc R is a crossover will automatically have made the notion of an ultra-quick, all-weather Volkswagen hatch less desirable to many people. And this being Autocar, you may well be one of them.
Equally, many people will only now begin to consider buying an ultra-quick, all-weather Volkswagen, because they can finally get one with crossover styling and a marginally roomier interior.
And in this sense, the T-Roc R is quite a rare thing: the first Volkswagen R GmbH-developed SUV since the 2008 Touareg R50, which today is a model that any product planner would be escorted from the building at gunpoint for merely suggesting; it used a 5.0-litre V10 turbodiesel.
The point is that there may well be even greater demand for the T-Roc R than there was for the Golf R, and the owners will have subtly different priorities. Money will be a universal factor, however, because the T-Roc R costs more than £40,000 once you’ve ticked an option box or two – and we'll come back to that uncomfortable fact shortly.