Volkswagen has unveiled the first ever Tiguan R. Yes, Wolfsburg’s popular midsize SUV (last year, one in seven of the 6.18 million cars VW produced was a Tiguan) is getting the high-performance R treatment for the first time ever – think of it as the SUV version of the Golf R, which “combines the dynamic performance of a sports car with the variability of an SUV”.

Under the hood is the latest generation of the EA888 2.0 litre turbo-four engine, as seen in the latest Mk8 Golf R that was unveiled earlier this month. The “evo4” TSI unit makes 320 PS and 420 Nm of torque, with the latter available from 2,100 rpm flat all the way to 5,350 rpm. Paired to a DQ500 seven-speed DSG gearbox and AWD, 0-100 km/h is done in 4.9 seconds, just two tenths slower than the smaller Golf R.

Also from the hot Golf is the 4Motion with R-Performance Torque Vectoring system. Here, VW has implemented a rear final drive with two multi-plate clutches for the first time. This system does not just distribute the drive power between the front and rear axles, but also splits it between the left and right rear wheels. With this, VW claims noticeably improved handling agility in the corners, hailing the Tiguan R as “a new benchmark for SUV driving dynamics”.

In the chassis department, the Tiguan R comes with upgraded 18-inch brakes with blue calipers (front units have the R logo), DCC adaptive damping and 10 mm lowering. The driving profile selection gets an additional R mode that can be activated by pressing the blue R button on the steering wheel (new sports unit with big paddles). Also standard are ESC that can be switched off and a four-branch sports exhaust system.

Exterior bits that set the R apart include bumpers in R design with aerodynamic elements in high-gloss black or body colour, wing mirror caps in matte chrome, a unique rear diffuser in gloss black, black wheel housing extensions and 20-inch Misano alloys. On the options list are a titanium exhaust system from Akrapovic and 21-inch Estoril alloys. A Black Style design package gives you even more exterior black trim.

Inside, there are sport seats with integrated head restraints and the R logo (unique to the Tiguan R), a customised Digital Cockpit with integrated lap timer, as well as R-specific decorative trim in Carbon Grey, illuminated by background lighting. Also illuminated are the R logos in the aluminium front sill strips. Lastly, stainless steel pedals.

A higher riding, more family-friendly Golf R – what do you think?