Volkswagen’s T-Roc made its debut last summer and now engineers are out testing a high-performance version of the compact crossover SUV.
Spotted at the Nürburgring racetrack this month was a new T-Roc prototype sporting the same quad-exhaust tip design of the Volkswagen Golf R. The engine note also matched the noise of the popular hot hatch, according to our photographer.
This suggests VW is cooking up a fiery T-Roc R, something the German automaker’s execs have been hinting at since last year's appointment of Jost Capito as the head of the R division. We don't expect a GTI badge as VW says those famous letters are reserved for hatchbacks only.
The Golf R’s engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 delivering 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque (in other markets it delivers 305 hp and 295 lb-ft). The engine is paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive in the Golf R, and VW is likely to use a similar combo for any T-Roc R, although we've heard that the 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 from the Audi RS 3 and upcoming RS Q3 is also a possibility.
The latest T-Roc prototype was sporting a new front fascia with enlarged intakes and a new grille treatment. A new fascia is also found at the rear. It incorporates a small diffuser insert between the separate pairs of exhaust tips.
Given the lack of camouflage, the debut of the hotter T-Roc can’t be far. An appearance at the 2018 Paris auto show this October is a possibility. Note, this won't be the first SUV from Volkswagen R. Some readers will recall the V-10-powered Touareg R50 launched a decade ago.
2019 Volkswagen T-Roc R spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
A VW spokesperson wasn’t willing to comment on the potential T-Roc R.
The automaker has confirmed however that a T-Roc convertible is in the works. This model is due to enter production at a plant in Osnabrück, Germany starting in 2020.
Sadly, we won’t see any of the models in the United States as the T-Roc is off-limits for our market. Instead, VW will launch a lower cost compact SUV resembling the mid-size Atlas here. It will enter production at VW's Pueblo, Mexico plant in 2020.