Volkswagen has given its mid-sized Tiguan SUV a fire-breathing R flagship as part of its mid-life update – and Volkswagen Australia wants it.

    The updated Tiguan range will touch down in 2021 with carryover engines from the current range, but the range-topping Tiguan R hasn’t yet been locked in.

    If it can get it, Volkswagen says it would “love” to bring the Tiguan R to Australia.

    “Australia remains one of the biggest markets worldwide for R cars, so it would be a perfect fit for us,” said a Volkswagen Australia spokesperson.

    Power in the Tiguan R comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with 235kW and 420Nm, sent to all four wheels through a 4Motion all-wheel drive system capable of shuffling power between not only the front and rear axles, but individual wheels on each axle.

    It sits 10mm lower than the regular Tiguan range, and rides on 21-inch alloy wheels behind which hide 18-inch brake discs. An Akrapovic exhaust is optional for a dash of extra rasp, if you’re so inclined.

    The wider Tiguan range has benefitted from a new look inspired by the Mk8 Golf. The headlights feature a new LED signature, and the front bumper has been reworked extensively.

    The changes down back are more subtle, with new taillights, a new Tiguan badge on the boot lid, and detail changes to the bumper rounding out the update.

    Changes are similarly low-key inside. The new Volkswagen steering wheel features, as does a new climate control binnacle with touch-based controls in keeping with the new Golf.

    Volkswagen’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument binnacle will be offered, along with adaptive cruise capable of following the car in front and maintaining its position in a lane between standstill and 210km/h.

    A new plug-in hybrid has been added to the European range, but Australia is expected instead to receive three petrol options at launch making 110kW, 132kW, and 162kW.

    The Tiguan is a critical car for Volkswagen, both globally and in Australia. The mid-sized SUV usurped the Golf as the top-selling Volkswagen worldwide for the first time last year, as global demand for SUVs swells.

    In Australia, the Tiguan goes head-to-head with the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, and Nissan X-Trail in one of the nation’s most popular segments.

    With 1905 sales to the end of May, it’s Volkswagen Australia’s second-best-selling model behind the Golf.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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