Ahead of this year’s Geneva Motor Show in March, Volkswagen has unveiled the new Touareg R, which is the high-performance version of the third-generation SUV. Featuring a powerful plug-in hybrid powertrain, the hot SUV is the third PHEV in the carmaker’s European line-up after the Golf and Passat, and is the first all-wheel drive model in its PHEV range.
Said powertrain is essentially the same one used in the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera, and consists of a 3.0 litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine with 340 PS as well as a 136 PS electric motor that sits between the eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.
The electric motor draws power from a lithium-ion battery placed under the luggage compartment, which has an energy capacity of 14.1 kWh. For now, the carmaker has yet to reveal the vehicle’s efficiency figures, maximum possible range when running in EV mode, or even charging details – for the aforementioned Porsche models – both use a 14.1-kWh battery – the charging time is between 2.3 to 3.6 hours.
Another aspect of the drivetrain is Volkswagen’s 4Motion permanent all-wheel drive system that includes a centre differential lock to enable asymmetric dynamic torque distribution. The system allows for a maximum of 70% of the drive force to reach the front axle and up to 80% to the rear.
All elements combined, the drive system provides 462 PS and a maximum torque of 700 Nm, beating out the V8 TDI-powered version of the Touareg (421 PS and 900 Nm) in terms of horsepower but not torque. In any case, the Touareg R is good for an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h, and should you choose to run in E-Mode – the Touareg R’s fully-electric driving mode – the top speed is capped at 140 km/h.
You can also set your preferred state of charge (SoC) in Hybrid mode, and if route guidance is active, the system will ensure the desired battery level is available when you reach your destination. Beyond the E-Mode and Hybrid options within the 4Motion Active Control interface, there are also several driving profiles available, including Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Individual, Offroad and Snow, all of which are selectable via a dedicated dial in the centre console. With the optional off-road package, two additional profiles – Gravel and Sand – are added to the mix.
In terms of styling, the Touareg R sports body-coloured R-style bumpers, wheel housing extensions and lower door sections, as well as louvres on the air intakes, window line trim, lower apron trim and mirror caps that are all finished in black. Darkened lighting clusters, several R logos, black 20-inch Braga alloy wheels and trapezoidal-shaped tailpipes complete the exterior look.
Moving inside, Silver Wave aluminium trim is applied on the dash panel and door inserts, while the centre console trim is in High Gloss Black and Silver Look. More R branding is seen on the Vienna leather comfort seats, stainless steel sill plates and steering wheel.
Other standard features include the Innovision Cockpit that includes the Digital Cockpit (12-inch digital instrument cluster display) and the Discover Premium Infotainment system (15-inch centre touchscreen). There’s also IQ.Light LED matrix headlamps, a panoramic sunroof, Air Care Climatronic four-zone climate control.
For even more items, the vast list of options includes Trailer Assist and Travel Assist, the latter providing assisted driving at speeds of up to 250 km/h and relies on systems like Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist to do so.
Volkswagen also offers a 780-watt Dynaudio sound system, Night Vision, Front Cross Traffic Assist and exclusive R options. On the last bit, there’s a Lapiz Blue Metallic exterior finish, 21-inch Suzuka and 22-inch Estoril wheels, as well as a Puglia leather package with Sepang Blue piping.