The Volkswagen Tiguan R has finally landed in SA. So, how is the firm’s more family-orientated R? We take it for a drive…

The most potent Tiguan is here and ready to tear up our roads. Within reason, that is! The latest Tiguan rendering to hit our shores from our Wolfsburg friends is the Tiguan R. Yes, you read that right. Not R-Line, but R! The first “race ready” midsize SUV from VW to brace our presence. 

Tiguan R

We recently went on the local launch, and to say I was elated to get behind the wheel, would be an understatement. All the media folk at the launch was gunning for the new Golf R (which was launched on the same day), but not me, no sir. I was eager for a bite of the Tiguan R. So what does it mean to place the “R” badge on a car more traditionally known as a family car? 

In layman’s terms, the 2.0-litre petrol motor has been “souped-up” to deliver a whopping 235 kW and 400 Nm of torque. Just to put that into perspective for you. The range-topping Tiguan also has a 2.0-litre turbopetrol motor but only (still pretty impressive in the segment) delivers 162 kW and 350 Nm of torque. Handling in the Tiguan R is greatly supported by the 4Motion all-wheel-drive with R-Performance Torque Vectoring. This has allowed the car the agility and handling ability one would expect from the Golf R. 

Tiguan R

This is still a family car. The method behind the madness of the Tiguan R is to keep it in the VW family. It’s to ensure that the Golf owner doesn’t veer off the VW track when they decide to look at a family car. They now get to “upgrade” to a bigger body but not lose out on the performance they have grown to love. A very clever move from the Germans if you ask me.

The engine catapults the Tiguan to the 100 km/h mark from a standstill in a claimed 5.1 seconds. It has a top speed of 250 km/h. A fierce seven-speed DSG transmission is at the helm of all the magic. An R driving mode, activated via the multi-function sports steering wheel, further sharpens performance. 

Tiguan R

The exterior of the Tiguan gives just as much as the engine does. I have always envied sports cars for their cool and bright-coloured brake callipers. It lends that sense of performance. Now, imagine seeing bright blue callipers on a Tiguan. That is linked with the awe-inspiring R design bumpers, gloss black rear diffuser, insanely cool chrome mirror covers and, wait for it, 20-inch Misano alloy wheels, and you are ready to take charge of any situation. Other standards include a panoramic sunroof and front and rear park assist.

The Tiguan R sports Nappa leather seats with “R” insignia, with a neat Carbon Grey finish in the cabin. The trusted Discover Pro infotainment system in the Tiguan R is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible. Keyless entry and an electronic tailgate remind you of exactly how family-friendly this car still is. It just now comes with a bite!

There is a tonne of optional extras that can be added, but the one that I would go for would be the Akrapovič exhaust system.

Happiness personified! That is what the Volkswagen Tiguan R is! That happiness comes at a price, however. The Tiguan R will set you back a cool R999 900. The price tag includes a three-year/120 000 km warranty and a five-year/100 000 km maintenance plan.

At a glance 

Volkswagen Tiguan R 

  • Price: R999 900
  • Engine: 2.0 L, 4-cyl, turbopetrol
  • Transmission: 7-spd dual-clutch
  • Driven wheels: 4
  • Power: 235 kW @ 4 500-6 200 r/min
  • Torque: 400 Nm @ 2 100-5 350 r/min
  • 0-100 km/h: 5.1 seconds
  • Top speed: 250 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 8.8 L/100 km
  • CO2: 201 g/km