Dimensionally, it’s a bit different, of course, being both shorter in length and wheelbase than the previous Golf, but also taller, wider and (slightly) heavier than the hatchback. There’s a more aggressive suspension tune that makes its ride height 20mm lower than a standard T-Roc’s, as well as a new aluminium front subframe and revised engine mounts. UK cars get smart-looking 19in Pretoria alloy wheels as standard and the larger performance brakes that were once an option on the Golf R are also included free of charge.
All of this combines to paint the T-Roc R as a seriously quick cross-country machine, at least on paper. With its standard-fit launch control engaged and Race mode selected, it can cover 0-62mph in just 4.8sec, Volkswagen claims, and it has a top speed of 155mph. So it’s easily in the same ballpark as the likes of the Cupra Ateca, Audi SQ2 and BMW X2 M35i in terms of performance, although with a base price of £40,735, the T-Roc R is pricier than its VW Group compatriots, if cheaper than the BMW.
And when you delve into the options list, there’s scope to bump up that price even further – as demonstrated by our, shall we say, enthusiastically specced, £47,844 long-termer. Its headline option is the titanium Akrapovic sports exhaust, which adds a hefty £3050 to the bill but, as well as shaving 7kg, makes the T-Roc R sound a bit naughtier than it otherwise would.
Other options include – but aren’t limited to – a rearview camera (£190), Lapiz Blue metallic paint (£755), a Winter Pack with heated front seats (£305) and keyless entry (£400). The most important option, however, is the £695 Dynamic Chassis Control, which adds adaptive dampers and an all-important Comfort drive mode. Many of the fast crossovers we’ve tested in the past year either came without or weren’t available with any variability in their suspension settings, and they suffered from overly firm, brittle rides as a result. I recall the X2 M35i being a chief offender in this regard.
As far as our T-Roc R is concerned, those dampers are paying dividends already. With the engine needing to be run in properly before any B-road thrashes can really take place, my trips have so far been limited to short dashes to the supermarket and a few lengthier drives up the motorway for the small number of photo shoots we’ve been able to make happen as lockdown eases further.