A prototype believed to be the rumoured Volkswagen T-Roc R has been spied this week near the famed Nurburgring circuit in Germany.

Compared to the standard model - which was revealed just weeks ago - this development vehicle sports unique LED daytime-running lights (strips on this car compared to the circular ones of the market version) and quad tailpipes out the back.

The large 20-inch alloy wheels seen here are already available on the standard T-Roc range, and already have been seen on R-Line versions of the larger Tiguan.

A month ago the UK's Autocar reported that Volkswagen was mulling a flagship R variant of its smallest crossover, which could potentially use the 200kW+ 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the Golf R and Audi S3.

"It’s working [in the UK for Golf R], and given all the feedback we get on the car, I’m sure there are lots of customers who would like this combination," said Frank Welsch, research and development boss for Volkswagen, of the company's performance models.

"We [already] have a 187bhp (139kW) T-Roc, which is more than the competitors offer, and we’ll see if lots of people take that, and then it’s time to decide."

Should a T-Roc R make it to market, it will be the second R-branded SUV model since the first-generation Touareg, which was offered in 257kW/850Nm R50 guise.

It would also be one of the few small performance SUVs available anywhere, with the only options currently being the Audi RSQ3Mercedes-AMG GLA45, and the less potent Mini Countryman JCW.

Considering there have also been reports of an S version of the Audi Q2 - of which the T-Roc shares its underpinnings - we could be closer to a T-Roc R than you might think.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for more updates in the coming months.

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