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Hot Volkswagen Tiguan spied ‘Ring testing

VW Tiguan reportedly with Audi 2.5-litre five-pot seen testing at Nurburgring

23 Aug 2017

VOLKSWAGEN has been spied putting what appears to be a warmed-up version of its Tiguan mid-size SUV through its paces on the Nurburgring, with the test mule sporting an engine note reminiscent of the 2.5-litre five-cylinder powerplant from the Audi RS3, TT RS and RS Q3 performance models.

The footage comes days after Volkswagen Australia officially confirmed its desire for a hotter, possibly R-branded version of the Tiguan to sit above the 162TSI, currently the most powerful variant in the Tiguan line-up.

The all-aluminium 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine has yet to be used in a Volkswagen product, however Volkswagen Group – of which Audi is a part – has a long history of sharing components and powertrains.

Volkswagen Australia general manager corporate communications Paul Pottinger told GoAuto that introducing the 2.5-litre aluminium donk to the VW range was not out of the realm of possibility.

“We obviously successfully share a great many drivetrains from Golf to Amarok with our fellow VW Group brands and it doesn’t seem illogical (to introduce the 2.5-litre engine to VW products),” he said.

Speaking at the launch of the Golf Performance line last week, Volkswagen Australia product marketing manager Jeff Shafer said the manufacturer would like to see a more potent Tiguan in its line-up.

“The Tiguan 162TSI has been a really strong seller for us, and I think it shows me that Australians really enjoy their performance, together with the practicality that you get with an SUV,” he said.

“Certainly I’d love to see something even further in terms of a performance SUV.”

The Tiguan is built on the same ubiquitous MQB platform as the Audi A3-based RS3, so homologation of the engine into the mid-size SUV should not be a stretch for the company.

Under the bonnet of the RS3, the newly-updated engine is capable of a whopping 294kW/480Nm, enough to give the likes of the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 and Porsche Macan Turbo a serious scare.

Given the aforementioned rivals retail for $101,400 and $133,800 plus on-roads respectively, a Tiguan R could offer buyers similarly potent performance for significantly less money.

The most expensive variant in the Tiguan line-up is the 140TDI Highline, which retails for $49,990 plus on-roads.

As for the naming convention of the hot Tiguan, earlier this year Volkswagen chairman Herbert Diess told British publication Autocar that the company would bypass the GTI name for SUVs, and would instead use the R nameplate.

“GTI for us is the hot hatch: a sporty car, classless and accessible for many.

It should be this car - a hot hatch,” he said.

“(For an SUV), we have another sub-brand, R, which we are considering.”

The other obvious powertrain option for an R-branded Tiguan is the 206kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine from the Golf R, which is also used in other VW Group models such as the Passat, upcoming Arteon and Skoda Superb.

Visual differences on the Nurburgring test mule were minimal, wearing an R-Line bodykit with a slightly different bumper and beefy twin exhaust tips, similar to those on the RS3 and TT RS.

If a Tiguan R were to come to Australia, punters should not expect to see it until at least next year.

Mr Pottinger alluded that more details on the mystery Tiguan will become available at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

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