Of all the German luxury SUVs you can buy, none are stealthier than VW’s Touareg. And for an increasing number of wealthier South Africans, having all the ability without that aristocratic automotive public image, has become important.
There’s only one issue with the third-generation Touareg, and that concerns a lack of engine options. For most users the 3-litre V6 has abundant reserves of performance, but for those who require their large German luxury SUV to pass multiple trucks in a single surge of overtaking, there is a desire for something more potent under the bonnet.
VW has recognised this eventuality by announcing the addition of a V8 engine option to the range. The 4-litre V8 turbodiesel powered Touareg retains that elegantly understated style, subtle V8 grille badging is the only clue. There is nothing remotely subtle about its performance, though.
There aren’t many seven-seater luxury SUVs which can run a 4.9 second 0-100kph sprint, but this new Touareg is one of those. Deconstruct the V8 engine’s engineering details and it becomes apparent why VW has managed to build a huge SUV with the responsiveness of a sportscar.
Powering the Touareg V8 is a slightly detuned version of the sequentially turbocharged 4-litre V8 first seen last year in Audi’s SQ7. For the VW application it boosts 310kW and 900Nm. The secret of this engine’s immense performance and driver appeal is that it pairs brilliantly with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system and eight-speed automatic gearbox – and as such, is virtually guaranteed to never be caught in the wrong gear.
It’s a formula which works exceptionally well and balancing the Touareg V8’s substantial performance, is a reactive air-suspension system. Supporting the active air-suspension bellows at each wheel corner, are electrically powered anti-roll bars, which can react in a millisecond to any sudden change of direction or emergency braking action, preventing excessive body roll from the big SUV.
VW’s marketing strategy for the Touareg V8 will differ slightly from the norm, as some markets are transitioning away from diesel-powered luxury SUVs. Fortunately, South Africa is not one of them. Global deliveries for Touareg V8 are expected to commence by May of this year.
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