What is it?
The latest version of Volkswagen’s big SUV which has now seen the addition of the Touareg R eHybrid, a new performance flagship for the range.
It is also a flag waver for VW’s technology, loaded with equipment, which can be driven in purely electric mode, albeit with fairly limited range by today’s standards. It’s also, conversely, the most powerful road-going Volkswagen of all time.
The new PHEV R model uses a 340PS 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine mated to a 136 PS electric motor and 14.3 kWh battery.
With a total of a maximum 462PS, it provides more power than even the 6.0-litre W12 petrol unit offered in previous Touareg models.
The Touareg R is able to run on pure electric power alone at speeds even above the national speed limit but at more regular speeds the it can cover around 28 miles on electric power alone.
The hybrid functions are controlled by pressing the via the menu button on the driver-mode toggle switch. E-MODE or Hybrid mode can be selected on the central screen. In Hybrid mode it is possible to manually set the level of engine and brake energy recuperation into the battery.
The Touareg R uses a permanent 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system with an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox and Torsen central-differential lock allowing a maximum of 70% of drive to reach the front axle and up to 80% to go to the rear
It also features the largest brakes of any current VW with front discs 400mm in diameter complete with six piston calipers
There are seven driving profiles: ‘Eco’, ‘Comfort’, ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Individual’ for on-road driving and the ‘Offroad’ and ‘Snow’ profiles for venturing off the beaten path
What do we think?
It might be the most powerful VW if all time, but the whole package comes across as being designed comfort rather than speed.
It might carry the same badge as the Golf R we recently tested, but it is a very different animal. It has the looks of something dangerous but as VW explains – buyers of a large C-segment SUVs from Volkswagen have different expectations to a Golf R customer as they do not particularly want racetrack performance.
Not sure you are after racetrack performance from any SUV, but the Touareg R is a smooth road performance but it does feel very stable at high cornering speeds, maybe not up there with the BMW 5-series, but pretty good all the same.
Lots of toys to play with. The flagship Touareg packs a vast array of standard equipment including VW’s Innovision Cockpit with 15-inch central screen and 12.3-inch driver display; Park Assist package with 360-degree Area View camera; Adaptive Cruise Control; Lane Assist; dynamic road sign display; 4-Zone climate control; panoramic sunroof; 14-way electrically-adjusted active climate (heated and cooled) front seats; keyless access/start; and 30-colour interior lighting
Inside, the seats are finished in black Puglia leather-upholstered, diamond-quilted ergoComfort seats, with contrasting blue stitching and piping.
These also feature heating and cooling and the Touareg R is available with an optional power-folding towbar with Trailer Assist for those wishing to take advantage its 3.5 tonne towing capacity
Two charging cables are included with every Touareg R, one for 7.2 kW/32 A wall boxes (mode 3) and another for standard mains sockets (mode 2). The battery can be charged in as little as 2 hrs 30 min using the former method.
Most of my time with the Touareg R was spent short-hopping into the local towns and villages. Daily topping up with the home wallbox allowed for very little need of petrol – and hence an average of 291mpg!
VW claims efficiency of 94.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 67g/km, which means the R qualifies for a BiK company car tax rating of 17%.
The hybrid system does affect the performance, taking the edge off all that available power, but we come back to the comfort over speed compromise and the Touareg R does everything pretty competently.
It switches between electric and combined propulsion seamlessly and the power is there when you need it with the electric motor’s torque supporting that smooth V6 and providing impressive acceleration when overtaking or pulling out into traffic.
Inside the Touareg R is cavernous with masses of room front and back while you can still get plenty of cargo in the rear.
For the driver there’s a massive 15-inch central touchscreen which is easy to rear and works well. This is part of an impressive technical array which includes sat nav, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, heated and ventilated leather sports seats, keyless operation, a panoramic roof, a 360-degree camera, front and rear parking sensors, four-zone climate control, powered tailgate and loads of safety equipment.
And the price? £71,995 so this is not a cheap car and puts it up there in BMW and Audi country. Our test vehicle came with an additional Driver’s Assistance Pack Plus – Emergency Assist; Front Cross Traffic Assist; Predictive Pedestrian Protection; Proactive occupant protection; Side scan; Traffic Jam Assist (£885) and Head-up display (£1,110) bumping the price up to £75,225.
Touareg R 3.0-litre V6 TSI eHybrid 4MOTION
P11D Value: £71,925
Engine: 3-litre V6 turbo
Maximum power: 462PS (V6 340 PS)
Plug-in hybrid system: Lithium-ion battery, 136PS electric motor
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Top speed: 155 mph (limited)
0-62mph: 5.1 seconds
CO2 emissions: 67 g/km
Electric range 28 miles
Bik tax rate: 17%
Insurance group (1-50) 48 E
Battery warranty 8 years100,000 miles
Warranty 3 year/60,000 miles; 3 year paint; 12 year body protection Breakdown assistance 1 year Volkswagen Assistance (UK & Europe)