Volkswagen’s new direction seems to be “performance everything”, and we’re definitely here for it. Following the introduction of the Touareg R earlier this year, Volkswagen has now unveiled a full-fledged R model for the Tiguan, alongside the launch of the facelift for the SUV’s second-generation model.

Honestly though, A performance variant of the compact SUV isn’t all too surprising given that the Tiguan is actually VW’s best selling model, with more than 910,000 units moved last year. VW’s chief of marketing for the Tiguan, Hendrick Muth also pretty much confirmed the new “hot SUV” before its launch, but we digress.

Underneath the skin, the all-new Tiguan R isn’t much unlike the Arteon R that was unveiled last week. The performance-oriented SUV is powered by the marque’s Evo4 version of the EA888 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which makes 320 hp and 420 Nm of torque.

The engine is paired to a seven-speed DSG gearbox, with power sent to all four wheels through the new R-Performance Torque Vectoring system, which can direct up to 100% of torque to any one wheel. The Tiguan R also sits 10 mm lower than its siblings, thanks to the Dynamic Chassis Control system.

On the styling, the updated Tiguan receives a reworked front fascia, featuring new slimmer LED headlights and a reshaped grille to bring it more in line with the brand’s other offerings.

Of course, being a facelift, new bumpers front and back are a given. The rear gains a new set of LED taillights with new light signature similar to that of the new Passat, while the “Tiguan” script has now been moved directly below the new VW logo – a new trend started by the eight-generation Golf.

The Tiguan R, being the top-of-the-range model, gets the most elaborate and aggressive front bumpers with massive air intakes. A set of 21-inch wheels are standard on all four corners, and you can even opt for the Akrapovic quad-exhaust system!

Inside, the general architecture of the Tiguan is pretty much unchanged, but Volkswagen has given it a few nip and tuck to make it feel a little more modern – such as the inclusion of a 15-colour ambient lighting system.

The 2020 VW Tiguan gets a new touchpad-based multifunctional steering wheel, and a new Modular Infotainment System (MIB3) which includes updated digital instrument cluster, and a new infotainment touchscreen display with support for natural voice commands, wireless AppConnect, and the like.

Other modernising touches include two illuminated USB-C ports on the centre console, and an optional touch-controlled air-conditioning control panel which uses touch sliders to control temperature and fan speed settings, and of course updated safety technology including the Travel Assist semi-autonomous driving assistant at speeds of up to 210 km/h.

Aside from the hot Tiguan R, Volkswagen is also introducing a plug-in hybrid variant for the first time on the compact SUV model. It’s a familiar powertrain – as seen on the Arteon, Golf, and Passat eHybrid variants – which pairs a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a total system output of 218 hp. The Tiguan PHEV promises a electric-only range of 50 km, at speeds of up to 130 km/h.

The full range of global powertrain options has not been announced yet, but our friends over at the United States will be getting an EA888 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine under the hood – similar to the Tiguan R – but detuned to 187 hp and 300 Nm of torque.

The updated 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan is expected to go on sale in Europe “shortly”.


2020 Volkswagen Tiguan R

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line and eHybrid