The most powerful Volkswagen T-Roc is brisk. Its 2 litre turbocharged petrol engine can push the T-Roc from 0-100km in less than 5 seconds! But this stellar performance comes at a price in a number of ways.
The R version of VW’s T-Roc plays to our obsession with SUVs and crossovers. On paper a hot, sorry very hot version seems a bit silly. The 300hp, 400nm, ‘4Motion’ all wheel drive T-Roc R sits on the same MQB modular platform used in VW Group’s hot hatches (VW/SEAT/Audi/Skoda). This begs the simple question why would you put all that racing tech and power in to something with a higher centre of gravity – you never hear a Formula 1 designer raising the ride height! Yes I know there are lots of powerful SUVs all over the place but if you want a thrilling engaging drive surely a lower-slung hot hatch is the way to go and its cheaper too! The T-Roc R at €54,695 is about 5 grand more than a Golf R. In fairness even then I’d prefer a Golf GTI to a Golf R as a daily driver.
The T-Roc R features exterior styling that is subtle and quite understated for a performance car and this is a strong point. The rear view with four exhaust pipes peeping out from the diffuser gives the game away to those who might think it was just an ‘R Line’ with notions. In the not too distant future these pipes will be targets for coutless pitchforks thrown by climate activists (okay that’s probably all of us) but for now we can enjoy them.
The R’s cabin gets the usual nods to sportiness and is well equipped but the dash layout is all of a sudden a little dated despite its touch screens and digitalisation. The arrival of Golf 8 and its sister cars from the VW Group with their flush surfacing displays seem to contrast with the T-Roc – how fickle we are!
The seats are supportive and this is a god thing as the dynamic ability of the R when changing direction will see your internal organs seek out new positions in the body. The T-Roc R’s ride quality is firm and very un SUV-like. Drive with enthusiasm and the car will grip incredibly well. A 7-speed DSG auto gearbox, with paddle shifts, is standard. Traction is great thanks to the clever 4Motion all wheel drive set up. There are a number of selectable terrain modes and driving modes that fully utilise the engine and drivetrain’s capacity. The driving mode to use is ‘Race’ and its also the one that makes the most noise – in a good way!
The R can be equipped with optional packs. Our test car had the technology upgrade that adds a reversing camera and ‘Discovery’ media. We also had a huge panoramic opening sunroof, We-Connect, Keyless access and 19 inch alloys. Our test car weighed in at €57,916. Annual motor tax in Ireland is €750 (based on CO2 emissions).