Volkswagen’s Touareg, which made its world debut recently at the Paris Motor Show, is being displayed in left-hand drive form ahead of its UK launch in summer 2003. It has been designed to set a new benchmark for its class in both on-road and off-road performance.
The Touareg will have the widest range of powerplants in its class, each of which reflect the high level of engineering evident throughout the vehicle. Three petrol and two diesel engines will eventually be available, with the 220 bhp 3.2-litre V6 petrol and the 313 bhp 5.0-litre V10 diesel offered at launch.
Shortly afterwards, the 4.2-litre V8 engine from the Phaeton will be introduced, along with a 2.5-litre five cylinder TDI which will be the most popular unit. The 6.0-litre W12 petrol unit is expected to complete the Touareg line-up in 2004.
With an exceptional 553 lbs ft (750 Nm) of torque peaking at just 2000 rpm and 313 bhp, delivered though a purpose-designed six speed automatic, the refined and powerful V10 TDI truly sets new standards for the diesel engine. It uses the Pumpe Düse or PD unit injection system – featured throughout the Volkswagen diesel range – which develops far greater injection pressures than even the best common rail systems.
The Touareg is as capable off road as it is on it – unlike some of its competitors – with a host of features designed for efficient progress when travelling off the beaten track. These include permanent four-wheel drive transmission; a low ratio transfer gearbox incorporating a 2.7:1 reduction (allowing full control during very low speed off-road driving); electronic traction control linked to the auto-locking centre differential; optional, selectable mechanical rear differential lock; and optional pneumatic suspension with selectable ride height control. Additionally, the Touareg has generous ground clearance and maximum wading depth figures, plus maximum approach and departure angles that combine to put it straight to the top in the off-road category.
With a monocoque construction, ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) plus the optional pneumatic suspension, the Touareg has the on-road manners of a luxury car. Refinement levels are similar to those found in the luxury car category, while handling and steering dynamics belie the fact that this is also a serious off-road vehicle.
Six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models, except those with the 2.5-litre TDI and 3.2-litre V6 engines, where a manual gearbox will also be offered. An automatic hill start facility is also fitted to all models, preventing the Touareg from rolling backwards during a hill-start.
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