The best all-rounder around? VW Tiguan R spotted

Published: 01 November 2016

► New Volkswagen Tiguan R spy shots
► Spotted undergoing tests at the Nürburgring
► VW’s riposte to the upcoming Ateca Cupra

The appeal of the perfectly serviceable and entirely dull Volkswagen Tiguan could be about to increase considerably – because this recently spotted prototype suggests that a full-fat high-performance R version is in the works.  

Isn’t this just an R-Line?

At a glance, it does look that way. However, our spy photographers report that this mule was far louder, and far quicker, than any Tiguan they’d seen previously.

There are a few visual clues that this isn’t just an R-Line, either – see that exhaust system? Reminiscent of the Golf R, isn’t it…

2017 VW Tiguan R spyshots

Couple punchy performance with the Tiguan’s practicality and ease of use – plus that tall, commanding body style that myriad buyers needlessly lust after these days – and VW could certainly have a popular package on its hands.

So, how powerful will it be?

If it’s the usual parts-bin VW affair then we’d expect the Tiguan to feature the EA888 TSI petrol from the current Golf R. That would grant the Tiguan R 296bhp and 280lb ft.

We can’t imagine that VW would offer a manual version, although stranger things have happened; it’s most likely that the new Tiguan R would utilise a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. 

2017 VW Tiguan R spyshots

Power will be sent to all four wheels via VW’s 4MOTION system, allowing the Tiguan to get off the line smartly and making it far more appealing to those routinely hacking around in poor weather.

Why launch a hotter Tiguan?

There will no doubt be a few customers out there looking for a quicker version of the brand’s practical SUV – and VW does have a history of upping the ante with its off-roaders. Let’s not forget that, for example, it dropped a V10 TDI into its steadfast Touareg.

2017 VW Tiguan R spyshots

Launching a Tiguan R will also provide VW with a rival to the upcoming Seat Ateca Cupra which, for all intents and purposes, is the same car with a different badge. Can’t have the cocky Spanish brand stealing sales from its master…

When’s the Tiguan R set to arrive?

This prototype appeared to perform very well but, given that nothing else obvious appears to have changed, we suspect it’s only a powertrain mule. The brakes, for example, look like standard Tiguan affairs. That said, VW will likely have all the parts it needs on the shelf – so with a few cosmetic tweaks and upgrades elsewhere, the Tiguan R could be good to go. 

Consequently, assuming there are no major hurdles to overcome, we’d expect the Tiguan R to make its first official appearance next year. Besides being of interest in its own right, it’ll likely draw some attention back to the regular Tiguan line-up, too.

Read CAR magazine’s VW Tiguan reviews

2017 VW Tiguan R spyshots

By Lewis Kingston

Formerly of this parish. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car