The Tiguan R is ridiculous…for all the right reasons

The Volkswagen Tiguan is hands down one of my favourite SUVs and has been since it launched way back in 2008, when, interestingly enough, was when I started my career as a motoring journalist. Coincidence? I think not! It also happens to be the best-selling model for Volkswagen. I feel like I have enjoyed similar success…ha! If only. Anyway, back to the Tiguan, and more importantly, the Tiguan R.


No, I mean the Tiguan R. That’s right. What you love about the Golf R is now available for the Tiguan. Now look, I think a performance SUV is a ridiculous concept. But like most customers who are buying them, I can’t help but love them. And the same goes for this Tiguan R. It is a performance family car (which makes no sense) that will undoubtedly sell like hatchbacks hot cakes. It’s ridiculous. But awesome.


Like Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, Volkswagen also wants to offers it customers a performance version of its standard family SUV offering. And what better model than the Tiguan? It comes with all the spirit that the Golf R exudes, but with more space. It’s basically my ideal car.

You will be able to tell the difference between a standard Tiguan and the R model by the R badging, blue brake calipers, unique wheels and exhaust ends. It is available in six colours, three of which are exclusive R colours.

It’s got the sporty interior with the R button on the multi-function steering wheel for Race mode as well as paddles for manual control of the seven-speed DSG gearbox. All the features that you expect from the Golf R are inside in the Tiguan R, including Nappa leather seats with an ‘R’ logo, a customised Digital Cockpit with an integrated lap timer, and Carbon Grey decorative trim. You can also expect the Discover Pro system with satellite navigation, Wireless App-Connect and Voice Control as well as Keyless Entry with safelock and an electric tailgate and a panoramic sunroof.

In typical VW fashion, however, there are an array of optional features that you will more than likely want but will have to pay for such as IQ.Light LED Matrix Headlights, Akrapovič Exhaust, 21-inch Estoril alloy wheels, Head-Up Display, wireless charger, Harman Kardon sound system, Area view camera system with Park Assist and Park Distance Control, rear view camera system with Park Assist and Park Distance Control. Even Adaptive Cruise Control is only available as an optional extra.


Giving it all the thrills is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol engine which puts out 235 kW and 400 Nm. All this power is sent to all four wheels via the quick-shifting DSG which will get you to 100 km/h in just 5.1 seconds. Is it really all that exciting, though? I hear you ask. It is! Even from standstill. Do a little launch control and you’ll be hurled back in your seat feeling queasy if you’re not careful. If you want to see what I mean, check out my video of it on Instagram. The optional Akrapovič exhaust setup on our test unit made for an even more theatrical affair. Overtaking is an effortless dream and even when the speedometer shows you readings over 190 km/h, the car feels planted, solid and very comfortable. You might not even realise just how quick you’re going. It sits a bit lower than the standard models and so you are able to really throw it in and out of corners and know it’s going to handle it all quite elegantly. What I am trying to tell you is that it feels like a true performance VW.


Yoh, if I won the lottery and had an extra R999 900 to spare, I would 100% have this in my garage. I would happily have it as my everyday car. But, I think that you’d be an absolute idiot if you bought it purely based on image and didn’t actually have the bank balance to back it up. Like I say, performance SUVs are ridiculous, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t loveable. VW has taken one of my favs and added punch to it, of course I am going to love it! Ridiculous as it is.

The Tiguan R comes standard with a 3 year/120 000km warranty, 5 year/ 100 000km EasyDrive Maintenance Plan and a 12-year anti- corrosion warranty. If it’s Golf R pricing you are after here, you will have to wait until 2023 for that I’m afraid.

I’m Julz, South African motoring journalist with a passion for cars and a questionable sense of humour. I am not your average motoring journalist, and this is not your average motoring website.

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