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Volkswagen Touareg: Third time charm

By Ghaith Madadha - Aug 15,2022 - Last updated at Aug 15,2022

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

Filling the role of luxury SUV in a Volkswagen line-up that includes a larger, more affordable, but less sophisticated Teramont SUV, the current Touareg is hardly the first Volkswagen flagship SUV to share architecture with more upmarket cousins in the wider Volkswagen group stable. 

The third generation Touareg is, however, the German manufacturer’s most convincing luxury SUV yet, and takes the model line from competent and capable, if uninspiring near-premium SUV, to a bona-fide premium player with the right performance, comfort, dynamic, luxury and technology credentials.

 

Sharper style

 

Sharing its MLBevo group platform with the Audi Q8 and Q7, and Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne exotics, the current Touareg was launched in 2018. Classier and more athletic than its more rounded and comparatively blander predecessors, it incorporates tauter, more chiselled surfacing, more deliberate lines, and sharper edges. With slimmer heavy browed headlights, vast multi-slat chrome grille, and more defined wheel-arches and sills, the Touareg now also includes dual exhaust ports, tailgate-top spoiler and slimmer, more stylish rear lights for a more statuesque stance. Underneath, it also incorporates more lightweight aluminium construction elements.

Available in Middle East markets with a choice of two turbocharged direct injection engines including an entry-level 2-litre four-cylinder developing 248BHP and 273lb/ft torque, it is, however, the larger 3-litre V6 that is the more impressive option better suited to the Touareg’s newfound premium status. Developing 335BHP and 332lb/ft, the Touareg’s V6 engine is quick spooling and responsive from standstill. Building in a smooth, refined and urgently welling manner towards its rev limit, the Touareg’s engine meanwhile rides on an easily accessible and muscularly broad mid-range torque sweet spot.

 

Responsive and refined

 

With near absent turbo lag from standstill and an abundantly rich mid-range underwriting power accumulation, the Touareg is effortlessly confident when overtaking on highway or on inclines. It is meanwhile responsive coming back on power when exiting corners. Driving all four wheels through a quick and smooth shifting 8-speed automatic gearbox with a wide range or ratios to ensure efficiency, versatility, refinement and responsiveness, the Touareg is meanwhile impressively quick through the 0-100km/h acceleration benchmark, which it dispatches in an estimated 5.9-seconds, before reaching for a 250km/h top speed.

A sure-footed drive with engine located slightly forwards of the front axle and pressing down to gain excellent traction, the Touareg’s four-wheel-drive system is, meanwhile, able to vary power distribution between a maximum of 70 per cent to the front and 80 per cent to the rear, as necessary. With reassuring road holding and various driving modes to choose from that adapt various parameters for different driving situations and styles, the Touareg also features an optional off-road package that includes individualised driving settings and sand and gravel driving modes. 

 

Party tricks

 

With optional air suspension that provides for an increased ride height and 550mm water fording capability, the Touareg rides in a comfortably refined manner with supple absorption of road imperfections, even when equipped with firm low profile 285/45R20 tyres. Forgiving in its ride, the Touareg avoids a feeling of disconnection or vagueness, but rather turns in tidily with light but reasonably direct steering feel, and progressively settles into body lean through hard driven corners, as its electronically controlled anti-roll bars tauten up.

With weight pressing on the outside and rear, the Touareg’s four-wheel-drive meanwhile allocates power as necessary and finds the traction to pounce out onto the straight. A more wieldy and manoeuvrable SUV than its size and approximate 2-tonne weight suggest, the Touareg’s best party trick is perhaps its optional four-wheel-steering. Turning rear wheels opposite to front at low speeds to effectively shorten its wheelbase and make it more agile, the Touareg’s rear wheels, however, turn in the same direction at speed, for responsive and stable direction changes.

 

Extensive equipment

 

Surprisingly nimble through winding roads and easy to manoeuvre in tight parking garages with its 11.9-metre turning circle, the Touareg is, meanwhile, well-equipped with a variety of standard and optional driver assistance systems that includes parking cameras, night vision thermal cameras, heads-up display, interactive LED headlights, partly automated steering and lane departure, and Traffic Jam Assist system. More so, with a 48v battery system already powering adjustable electro-mechanical anti-roll bars, the Touareg could also potentially be equipped with other 48v-powered systems, such Audi and Bentley cousins’ high tech motor-driven adaptive suspension. 

A premium SUV with a classy and uncluttered cabin, quality materials and textures, and plenty of comfort and convenience features — including massaging front seats — the Touareg notably features a huge high definition 15-inch infotainment screen and 12-inch configurable digital instrument panel. Sophisticated and user-friendly, the Touareg’s digital displays are complemented by an airy ambiance and interior mood lighting. Meanwhile, the Touareg’s driving position is comfortable and well-adjustable, rear space generous and cargo volume accommodating, expanding from 810- to 1,800-litres with rear seats folded.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: 3-litre, in-line, turbochargedV6-cylinders

Bore x stroke: 84.5 x 89mm

Valve-train: 24-valve, DOHC, direct injection

Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 335 (340) [250]

Specific power: 111.8BHP/litre

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 332 (450)

Specific torque: 150.2Nm/litre

0-100km/h: 5.9-seconds (est.)

Top speed: 250km/h (est.)

Fuel capacity: 75-litres

Length: 4,878mm

Width: 1,984mm

Height: 1,702mm

Wheelbase: 2,894mm

Track, F/R: 1,653/1,669mm

Ground clearance: 188mm (+70mm adjustability)*

Approach/departure angles/break-over: 23.3°/17.2°/13.5° 

Water fording: 550mm*

Aerodynamic drag co-efficient: 0.32

Headroom, F/R: 1,049/990mm

Cabin width, F/R: 1,584/1,547mm

Luggage volume, min/max: 810-/1,800-litres

Kerb weight: approximately 2,000kg 

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Turning Circle: 11.19-metres**

Suspension: Five-link, optional air suspension

Brakes: Ventilated discs

Tyres: 285/45R20

*With optional air suspension

**With optional four-wheel-steering

 

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