Geneva preview: 2019 Volkswagen T-Roc R concept

Golf R power in a more family-friendly package.

Volkswagen wants a slice of the lucrative high-performance SUV segment. The Wolfsburg-based company has unveiled the hot-rodded T-Roc R online ahead of its official debut at the 2019 Geneva auto show. It's not the final production version, though; Volkswagen calls the crossover a near-production concept car.

Turning a high-riding family hauler into a performance car is easier said than done. Volkswagen explained it tested the T-Roc R on the grueling Nurburgring track, and it asked high-profile race car drivers like WRX world champion Petter Solberg for their input during the development process. Power comes from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine tuned to deliver approximately 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to the four wheels through a dual-clutch automatic transmission, and Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

The sprint from zero to 62 mph takes 4.9 seconds, and the T-Roc R doesn't stop accelerating until its speedometer shows 155 mph. Brakes from the Golf R Performance and a lowered suspension keep the turbo four's power in check.

The T-Roc fits into the R family with a more muscular-looking front end that gains a deeper front bumper, LED daytime running lights, model-specific 19-inch alloy wheels, and four oval exhaust outlets. Stainless steel inserts, R emblems, and a three-spoke steering wheel add a touch of sportiness inside.

Though the T-Roc is, officially, a near-production concept, it's a very accurate preview of the model we'll see in showrooms in the not-too-distant future. Don't look for it in America, though. Volkswagen has confirmed its first R-badged SUV won't be sold in the United States.

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