Does this prototype prove Volkswagen is planning a hot version of the compact crossover?

We’ve become used to fast, full-size SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Range Rover Sport SVR, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, and Audi SQ7. But with that end of the market almost saturated, it seems like the fast SUV concept is about to come down the size scale.

Rumors persist that SEAT is working on a Cupra version on the new Ateca, while Peugeot has admitted that a GTi version of the latest 3008 is a possibility. And it seems a Volkswagen Tiguan R could be added to the pile, if these spy shots are anything to go by.

The casual observer might be fooled into thinking this prototype - spotted near the Nurburgring - is just a common or garden 2016 Tiguan R Line, for it wears exactly the same bodykit, wheels, and even badges. But at the back, where there would normally be just a pair of tailpipes, there is a quartet, which is one of the Golf R’s markers. A subtle clue, but a noteworthy clue all the same.

If the Tiguan R does become a reality, it would share the Golf R’s 300 horsepower (224 kilowatts), 2.0-liter, four-cylinder TSi engine and 4MOTION four-wheel-drive system. A six-speed DSG gearbox would likely come as standard, as it does in the Golf R wagon.

This same prototype was spotted a couple of weeks ago circulating the Nordschleife at a spirited pace, the exhausts producing the same sort of breathy blare as the Golf R. Another clue to the shared powertrain, surely?

Currently, the most powerful engine available in the second-generation Tiguan is a 2.0-liter, twin-turbo diesel unit producing 240 hp (179 kW). Gas-fueled choices are topped by the same 220 hp (164 kW), 2.0-liter TSi motor found in the Golf GTi.

Should it be signed off, the Tiguan R would probably make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next March, though it could be held back until the Frankfurt show in September.

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