It’s an obvious move – one we’ve often discussed here at Autocar. But for various reasons it has taken Volkswagen close to 13 years to bring the R name and the performance-enhancing modifications for which it is now quite well renowned to the Tiguan line-up.
There have been various R styling lines for the Tiguan down through the years, of course. But with a further developed version of the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine used by the Golf R and more recently introduced T-Roc R, the new Tiguan R is easily the most powerful and the fastest variant of Volkswagen’s best-selling SUV yet.
Power peaks at 316bhp, with torque building to 310lb ft on a range of revs between 1200rpm and 5200rpm. To put this in perspective, the next most powerful petrol model in the facelifted Tiguan line-up develops a more modest 148bhp and 184lb ft.
Drive is sent through a standard seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with both manual and automatic shift modes and a newly developed version of Volkswagen’s 4Motion four-wheel drive system featuring a torque-vectoring function on the rear axle, which allows it to individually alter the amount of drive sent to each rear wheel.
Visual differentiation from the rest of the second-generation Tiguan line-up comes via a uniquely styled front bumper and other exterior elements featuring design cues similar to those seen on different R models, including standard 19in wheels.
Subtle changes brought to all new facelifted Tiguan models include a more advanced version of VW's MEB infotainment system, which supports wireless Apple CarPlay and live traffic data, multi-coloured ambient lighting and a touch-sensitive digital control module for the climate functions along with a number of typical R equipment upgrades.