Volkswagen hasn't sold two R-badged models side-by-side since the Scirocco R. Expect this one to be wildly popular
Having flown under the PH radar for the past few months, the T-Roc R has suddenly returned to our screens in the form of a production model that, from today, can now be ordered in the UK. The starting price? Β£38,450 to you - a sum that (predictably) makes it more expensive than the outgoing Golf R, a car it has a great deal in common with.
Volkswagen makes no mention of the hatchback in its press release, preferring instead to get itself into all sorts of trouble by drawing a non-existent line between the quickest T-Roc and the Touareg R50 of 2008 vintage. That was the last go-faster SUV the firm made, of course - but in reality its new compact crossover has precisely nothing to do with the decidedly left-field, V10-toting monster truck that VW failed to shift a decade ago.
The T-Roc R is as middle-of-the-road as New Labour, and very much intended to give the people exactly what they want. It is also exceedingly familiar - not just for its connection to the soon-to-depart Golf, but also the Cupra Ateca, with which it shares practically everything of note. That means you get 300hp and 295lb ft of torque from the ubiquitous 2.0-litre EA888 unit, a seven-speed DSG 'box, 4Motion all-wheel drive and a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds.
UK customers get a 19-inch Pretoria alloys as standard; which is a nice touch, until you learn that the (virtually non-negotiable) adaptive dampers are on the option list and priced at Β£695 - pushing the car beyond Β£39k before you've even got to the colour choice. The Ateca, meanwhile, starts at Β£36,695. Or Β£32,990 if you're prepared to accept 500 miles on the clock.