The Tiguan R features the usual Volkswagen qualities but with a lot more personality.
The Tiguan R features the usual Volkswagen qualities but with a lot more personality.

2009 Volkswagen Tiguan R

When the Tiguan was launched here last year it was a pleasing vehicle to drive: not thrilling, just pleasing. This is where VW excels: it produces accessible, quality, affordable and reliable vehicles. Which is why motoring journos prick up their ears when an 'R' version is mooted, because it's the exception that offers that bit more spice to our daily drive. While the Tiguan is only R-Line rather than a full blown 'R' like the Golf R32 or Passat R36, it definitely has a stronger personality and offers a more zestful drive than the standard Tiguan Sport & Style variant. This is the result of an eager and responsive 200bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged fuel injection engine which suffers only from momentary turbo-lag before the power starts to pull you ever closer to the horizon.

Then there is VWs patent 4Motion four-wheel-drive system and the 19-inch "Omanyt" alloy wheels specific to the R-Line variant. Our test vehicle only featured the capable six-speed automatic. Maybe only isn't the right word as it still features a set of ratios ideally suited to both the engine's power and the range of driving styles someone with R-Line aspirations might apply. But sadly the DSG gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddleshift, which has proven to be such a stunner in the Golf GTI and R32, the Passat and Touran, to name but a few, is not yet an option in this region.

While you wouldn't want to take the Tiguan R-Line far off-road, the 4Motion all-wheel drive does feature VW's push-button "off-road" mode, which offers various safeguards including: pulling away aid for hills or loose surfaces; accelerator pedal adaption for gentle throttle control at low speeds for maximum traction; electronic diff lock for better all-round traction; and downhill drive assist to help maintain safe descent speeds.

4Motion also has benefits in everyday motoring, giving the SUV a feeling of stability and confident cornering grip, also aided by a Sports Suspension package with tuned shocks all round. Although the nose of the Tiguan with its angular headlights looks long in comparison to the squat rear, the transverse-mounted engine means there's little significant weight forward of the front axle, so the tail end follows around corners like a well-trained puppy.

Given its driving dynamics, the Tiguan R-Line also looks the part. Sporting the R-Line Plus Package it can be differentiated from your run-of-the-mill Tiguan by matt black wheel-arch extensions and colour-coded sills; its twin-ribbed front 'matt chrome' grille; colour-coded and re-designed bumpers with an integrated rear diffuser; chrome inlays along the lower portions of the doors; and the trademark 'R' logo on the front wing. These enhancements, although generally subtle, give the Tiguan R-Line more exterior dynamism even if they are generally cosmetic.

Where this design dynamism counts for more importantly is in the interior. The R-Line is developed on the already well-equipped Tiguan Sport & Style variant, so you get bolstered front seats (electrically adjusted in the case of the driver) in 'Monte Carlo' fabric with the 'R' logo sewn into the head restraints - unless you plump for the brown tan Vienna leather interior package which is altogether more stylish. Build quality is excellent throughout.

The driver is greeted by a three-spoke perforated leather sports steering wheel with aluminium-mounted R logo behind which is the typical two-analogue dial instrument cluster . As a treat for the feet the R-Line also gets a rally-inspired brake and accelerator pedal design. Most of the driving gadgetry in the R-Line is carried over from the Sport & Style Tiguan and includes a flick-of-the-switch cruise control and the innovative auto-hold function, which is a godsend at traffic lights, allowing you to remain in gear but take your foot off the brake pedal to relax. And finally there is the park assist system to help you parallel park. This is weird if you've never tried it before.

Basically, the Tiguan steers itself into the parking space while you just control the speed and braking. The drawback being that the system requires one and a half times as much space to park the car as a good driver would need if parking manually. With VW ever concerned with offering the most comprehensive range of vehicles for all tastes, the Tiguan R-Line is another example of a niche vehicle.

How many of these models will be sold when you have to order them specially through your local dealer is questionable though. Nevertheless, it is capable of trouncing its main competition.

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices


Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded


Director: Nayla Al Khaja

Starring: Jefferson Hall, Faten Ahmed, Noura Alabed, Saud Alzarooni

Rating: 3.5/5


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Company profile

Company: Zywa
Started: 2021
Founders: Nuha Hashem and Alok Kumar
Based: UAE
Industry: FinTech
Funding size: $3m
Company valuation: $30m

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Jurassic Park

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough
Rating: 5/5


Twenty20 International series
Thu Oct 26, 1st T20I, Abu Dhabi
Fri Oct 27, 2nd T20I, Abu Dhabi
Sun Oct 29, 3rd T20I, Lahore

Tickets are available at

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Suggested picnic spots

Abu Dhabi
Umm Al Emarat Park
Yas Gateway Park
Delma Park
Al Bateen beach
Saadiyaat beach
The Corniche
Zayed Sports City
Kite Beach
Zabeel Park
Al Nahda Pond Park
Mushrif Park
Safa Park
Al Mamzar Beach Park
Al Qudrah Lakes 


Director: Richie Mehta

Starring: Nimisha Sajayan, Roshan Mathew, Dibyendu Bhattacharya

Rating: 3/5


Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5


Get the highlights of our exciting Weekend edition every Saturday

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy