The new V8 Touareg on civilized Belgian pavé... we tested the V6 versions off road (see further)
Not less than 500,000 customers chose to buy the first generation of the Touareg, and therefore the launch of the second generation Touareg is quite important indeed. The new car adjusts the idea of a top level multipurpose SUV to the spirit of the times: it has now a range of engines which are up to 25 percent more fuel efficient and offers many new driving assistance and safety systems.
A new V8 TDI replaces the V10 TDI
The V8 TDI, the newest turbodiesel with 250 kW /340 PS, is truly amazing. Its power and maximum torque of 800 Newtonmetres , the combined fuel consumption of 9.1 l/100 km (equivalent to 239 g/km CO2) is extremely good − 2.8 litres less than the now retired V10 TDI.
We drove a Touareg with this beautiful engine, already if it were only for its sound. When pulling away, the typical V8 throb is a joy to the ear, and the breathtaking staccato through the gears when accelerating when entering the motorway is an absolute audio bliss. All this is accompanied by truly impressive performance, and this time excellent frugality. It has a top speed of The SUV reaches a top speed of 240 km/h and accelerates to 100 km/h in just 6.5 seconds.
World’s first SUV with 8-speed automatic
All Touareg versions are now shifted by a standard 8-speed automatic transmission – the first of its kind in the world in the SUV segment. The 7 th and 8 th gears are laid out as fuel-efficient overdrive gears. The 8 th gear reduces engine speed by 34 percent compared to 6 th gear. The box has smooth changes, and does this always at the very correct moment. Considering this alertness of the gearbox, the high gearing is not detrimental to performance, with the engine having ample torque.
Lighter in weight and more aerodynamic
The weight of the base model Touareg has been reduced by 208 kilograms. Yet, the body has five percent greater torsional rigidity, which makes it class leader. Designers attained also a significantly improved Cd value, which was reduced from 0.38 to 0.35. Along with aerodynamic refinement measures, this Touareg sits lower to the ground than the previous model. This, together with a front end in the style of the new Volkswagen "Design DNA", results in a smaller frontal area.
All-wheel drive comes in two versions
Another element that has been modified in the quest for reduced fuel consumption is the Touareg’s standard all-wheel drive. In the base version (4MOTION), all new generation Touaregs have all-wheel drive with Torsen limited-slip differential (4MOTION can cope with a 31 degree climbing gradient).
We tested the V6 versions off road...
L.ike the Tiguan Track & Field, the Touareg also has an "Offroad driving programme", which − via a two-position rotary switch − tunes the ABS, EDS and ASR for off-road duty, activates Hill Descent Assist and adjusts shift points of the automatic gearbox.
As an option, the V6 TDI can be ordered with an optional "Terrain Tech Package" instead of a Torsen differential, it has an even more rugged transfer case designed for off-road driving. It includes reduction gearing and centre and rear differentials, each with up to 100 percent locking (4XMOTION, and coping with a 45 degree climbing gradient).
Similar as the system on the first Touareg generation, this "4XMotion" also has a five-position rotary switch which allows the driver to adapt the car to specific conditions over five levels.
We drove this V6 TDI 4XMotion version on terrain, and – as the pictures show – what the Touareg can take into its stride in off-road conditions is very impressive indeed. What astonished most was the way the Touareg tackles steep downhills: completely… automatically, with no driver intervention at all, it adjusts the speed of the descent, bringing you down safely. The only thing you have to do is steer… and watch what the car is doing thanks to the cameras of the Area View function which show the cars surroundings at the front and underneath the car. On the open road, the V6 TDI offers plenty of performance too, with 176 kW and 240 PS ready to move the Touareg with plenty of verve. The European version of the common rail turbodiesel (injection pressure: 1,800 bar) with 2,967 cm3 displacement develops a strong 550 Newton- metres torque from 2,000 rpm and consumes a pioneering low 7.4 l/100 km (equivalent to 195 g/km CO2); this is 1.9 litres less than on the previous 240-PS version. CO2 emissions were also reduced: by 49 g/km compared to the previous Touareg V6 TDI and a respectable 24 g/km compared to the already very good predecessor with BlueMotion Technology and 168 kW/225 PS. The new generation of the Touareg V6 TDI BlueMotion Technology reaches a top speed of 218 km/h and accelerates to 100 km/h in a sporty 7.8 seconds. Need we say more?
More space for everyone
The new interior is even more functional, the seats are even more comfortable and legroom in the rear is increased thanks to a 41 millimetre extension of the wheelbase to 2,893 millimetres. Now the rear bench seat has 160 millimetres in longitudinal adjustment, and the backrest angle can be altered. As an option, it can be electrically unlatched at the press of a button; it then folds down in seconds to free up 1,642 litres of cargo space.
The top version offers a radio-navigation system with a 60 Gigabyte hard drive and 3D representation of buildings.
Innovative and safe…
The parking brake is now activated by a push button. The V6 versions who boast Blue Motion technology and stop/start gather valuable kinetic energy during braking and coasting and store it.
You will not find an oil dipstick anymore on your Touareg. The engine oil level is displayed electronically. As an option, the tailgate can be opened and closed automatically. The Touareg can also be ordered with a large panoramic sunroof – the largest ever used on an SUV − to provide maximum light in the cabin even on overcast days. We enjoyed it in the V8 version we drove, and indeed it gives the car a light and airy ambiance.
There are innovative features in the vehicle’s assistance systems too.The new Area View utilises four cameras located around the car that transmit an accurate view of the Touareg’s surroundings to enhance safety. Also offering protection are up to nine airbags. Lane Assist ensures that the vehicle does not stray from the right path; meanwhile, Side Assist warns of vehicles approaching from the rear when changing lanes. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) plus Front Assist can brake the car to a stop in an emergency. Proactive occupant protection, also completely new, networks the assistance systems and ensures that in case of an accident not only are the belts tensioned, but the windows and panoramic sunroof are closed as a result of any sudden lateral change in direction.
A world first: Bi-xenon headlights with Dynamic Light Assist.
This camera- based continuous main beam headlight actually "sees" oncoming traffic and automatically adjusts – via the curve lighting module and individually for each headlight − the main beam to eliminate unwanted glare. The enhanced safety and convenience offered by Dynamic Light Assist is as significant as the introduction of Xenon technology itself once was.
The Touareg comes also with a hybrid version, with a V6 TSI petrol engine with 245 kW /333 PS combined with the 8 speed automatic transmission. The electric engine or "E-motor" delivers 34.3 kW, bringing the total system power to an impressive 279 kW /380 PS. When we will get our hands on it, we will let you know our impressions.
In the meantime, suffice to say that VW has made the Touareg into a formidable car, which will again win the hearts of many thousands, if not millions of users…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
With a simple turn of the knob you can choose between on or off road conditions...