We digress and dream about a new car: a test drive of the Volkswagen Touareg R – three times the flagship

We digress and dream about a new car: a test drive of the Volkswagen Touareg R - three times the flagship

The idea of a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) suddenly became more relevant than ever: in the city – you can drive without fuel, for a long distance – go with confidence. If earlier such cars were bought only for innovation and power, now the idea around which they were actually created has become appreciated. But how relevant is this approach for the expensive Volkswagen Touareg R crossover? And what is more here? Innovation and technology? Prestige and comfort? Or maybe sports? After all, for a reason the car received the letter “R” …

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Crossover Volkswagen Touareg R – what is it?

Firstly, this is the “older” version in the Volkswagen Touareg model line in terms of positioning, equipment, and price. Secondly, it is also the R-version: the most “charged” and sports car among its kind. Along the way, we have the first plug-in hybrid (PHEV-hybrid) among all Volkswagen R-cars. Finally, there is a third definition: the Volkswagen Touareg R crossover is the most powerful Volkswagen production car to date. That’s how many “first” and “most-most”: it turns out a kind of “three times the flagship” within the Volkswagen model line.

The creators of the car tried their best to emphasize this. But, at the same time, they did it with German restraint. Therefore, the already familiar body can be painted with the unique Lapiz Blue paint: for the first time, such a color for the Volkswagen Touareg became available precisely with the debut of the R-version. And the car also gets original wheels: 21-inch Suzuka or 22-inch Estoril (feel the hints in the names, right?). Finally, each copy of the Volkswagen Touareg R “by default” has an R-bumper and Black Style trim, which are available for other versions of the car either as a paid option or as part of a package (again, for an extra charge).

The famous appearance of the Volkswagen Touareg in the special Rversion is distinguished by a unique body color, original rims and powerful 400 mm brakes under them (front), plus the obligatory R -logos. A gloss black package and sporty R -bumpers are available as an option for any Volkswagen Touareg variant . But here they are initially included in the car.

These are the nuances found in the cabin. The already familiar shape of the seats – but now with beautiful diamond embroidery and blue stitching. The famous steering wheel – but now with a proud letter R on the central spoke. The front panel with two huge displays received silver metal inserts, and the door cards are now covered with leather with a beautiful pattern, similar to the seats. Salon sparkled with new colors (of course, with blue accents): inside, the feeling of advanced “techno” and the feeling of an expensive car are successfully combined. I remember when I first met the new Volkswagen Touareg , I had problems with this. As it turned out, you should carefully select finishing materials and colors – and the salon can prove itself much better, more expensive, more noble.

But with what there were no problems even at the first meeting, it was with a sense of spaciousness or a comfortable fit. Plenty of space both front and rear. The driver and front passenger will be pleased not only with the adjustment or memory of the seats, but also with a massage. And people behind put a sofa with the ability to adjust, heated seats, a separate “climate”. However, we will analyze the nuances of the configuration (and prices) below. Now the main thing is to look into the trunk. After all, it is there that the main distinguishing detail of the Volkswagen Touareg R hybrid is hidden: a Samsung lithium-ion battery with a nominal capacity of almost 18 kWh, of which about 14 kWh are actually used. The battery is so skillfully packed in the underground of the trunk that it practically did not affect the volume and shape of the latter – a comfortable, large, well-thought-out luggage compartment of the correct rectangular shape.

The familiar interior of the Volkswagen Touareg sparkled with new colors (mostly blue): beautiful diamond-shaped upholstery, contrasting stitching, metallic inserts, R -accents. All this is new for this model. But good space and comfortable seats are already known. The battery for the hybrid system is located in the boot floor: this detail brings us to the next point.

How does the Volkswagen Touareg R plug-in hybrid work?

Perhaps, I will not tell you that the Volkswagen Touareg was created on the MLB platform and received a combined body, which is 48% aluminum. By the way, including the use of aluminum in the power structure, which ultimately made it possible to lighten the body by 106 kg relative to its predecessor. Also, I will not talk in detail about permanent all-wheel drive with a full-fledged Torsen differential and independent air suspension (clearance 148-258 mm). Because all this was described in detail during the first review of the Volkswagen Touareg . And then there was a second article on the gasoline version of the Volkswagen Touareg V6 TSI . But we won’t go into too much detail here either. Just think, a 340-horsepower 3-liter EA 839 turbo engine, which managed to “throw” a 2-ton crossover to the test “hundred” within 5.7-5.8 seconds, while eating quite sane 13 liters per 100 km in city.

However, it is important for us now to note that it is this gasoline engine that underlies the eHybrid hybrid powertrain of the Volkswagen Touareg R crossover. Only now it has been paired with an electric motor with a capacity of 100 kW (136 hp) with a torque of 400 Nm. The electric motor is actually integrated into the body of the 8-speed automatic transmission, it is installed literally at the junction of the internal combustion engine and the “automatic”. Let me remind you: in the case of hybrids, the power and torque of the gasoline engine and the electric motor cannot be added directly. But the final result is still impressive – 462 hp. and 700 Nm.

The second important addition is the already mentioned battery packed in the luggage compartment. The manufacturer promises that its real-used capacity of 14 kWh will be enough for 47 km of run according to the rules of the WLTP measuring cycle. You can charge the battery while driving (using the recuperation effect or when the internal combustion engine is running in generator mode), or from an external power source – for which, in fact, such rechargeable hybrids are created. When connected to a regular household outlet, it will take 7-8 hours to fully charge the battery, but when using the so-called. “accelerated charging” can already be met in 2.5-3 hours.

The main differences of the Volkswagen Touareg R hybrid were described above , but there are still a lot of “little things”: for example, the adaptive cruise control (ACC) radar is now also used to adjust the intensity of deceleration and recuperation. Another example: the displays in the cabin are the same – but the graphics on them are new. So, the place of the tachometer was taken to indicate the level of consumption and energy recovery, plus the zone for switching on the internal combustion engine (tachometer with speed marks) and the zone for the operation of the electric motor (blurred blue line around the circle) are also indicated here. And on the central touch screen, in the driving settings section, a hybrid system control window has been added: you can set the desired battery charge level and force the mode switch – electric drive “ E MODE ” or hybrid, etc. All this allows you to manage it as flexibly as possible with 462-horsepower power unit.

Is high power a guarantee of excellent dynamics?

Both “yes” and “no” at the same time: it all depends on the battery charge. Why yes”? Because when the battery is fully charged, or almost completely, then the increase from the electric drive is very significant, noticeable, palpable. When starting from a standstill, this “blue block” spectacularly crouches on the rear wheels and rushes forward with such dynamics that it takes your breath away! Literally: pressing into the seat and overloading on the chest when it’s hard to breathe is a sure sign of a 5-second car. And after all, the Volkswagen Touareg R crossover did not let us down: in the best attempts, it steadily “leaves” from five seconds!

But as the battery drains, so does the speaker. Half the battery – and the Volkswagen Touareg R hybrid has been driving for 5.3-5.5 seconds. Minimum charge – and measuring 0-100 km / h gives more than six seconds. But why? Therefore, the hybrid system, along with additional power, also brought additional weight: plus about 400 kg relative to a conventional gasoline crossover with a V6 engine. For example, only the hybrid battery draws in 140 kilograms – and all this “hangs” on the rear wheels. Plus, due to the design features, the Volkswagen Touareg R hybrid is deprived of the roll suppression system that is found in other hybrids on the same platform.

Such a mixture leads to the fact that the car has rather large rolls in corners: it does not fall yet, but this weight is constantly felt. Just don’t confuse roll with the general concept of “handling,” which also includes steering sharpness, cornering response, cornering stability, possible drift/skid, and more. Because the Volkswagen Touareg R hybrid is doing well with these points: it drives clearly and collectedly, executes commands quickly, and is easy to manage. The weight of the whole structure seems to additionally press the car to the road, gives a feeling of confidence and solidity. Plus, good suspension comfort has not gone away: depending on the selected driving mode, the car can be either “just soft” or “very soft”. Yes, yes, all this strangely fits with the designation “R”, under which it is customary to assemble powerful, light, rigid cars with maximum equipment. It’s just that in the case of the Volkswagen Touareg R, there is power and maximum equipment, but there is no stiffness and lightness. Let’s put it this way: the R-formula has changed…

A couple of numbers. Acceleration 0-100 km / h fits in five seconds (repeated several times and obtained even on winter tires), but with the discharge of the battery, the results begin to fall. The promised range of 47 km was not achieved in winter – my measurements gave 28-33 km on one full battery charge, but colleagues in April-May already drove 40-50 km on the same car. Another figure was confirmed already without reservations: with the promised 140 km / h on the electric drive, I got at least 138 km / h – this is from the start to reaching speed without a single inclusion of the internal combustion engine. Thus, we can state: yes, you can really drive this hybrid without a drop of fuel if your route between outlets is within 30 km plus/minus. And if you drive in the “how it goes” mode and the internal combustion engine will often start, then the city fuel consumption will be 8-10 liters per 100 km of track – better than a petrol Volkswagen Touareg , worse than a diesel one. But there is always a lot of power under the hood: even at 30-50% of the battery charge, the increase from the electric motor turns out to be very noticeable, accelerations on the go come out active and lively, no thoughtfulness and “turbo pit”. But if you have to charge on the way, when the gasoline engine turns the wheels, and the generator to generate electricity, then get ready for a consumption of 15-16 liters. A lot, but then you will get + 10-20-30 km on the electric drive with a consumption of “0”. And the last thing: the Volkswagen Touareg R hybrid has a classic all-wheel drive – both the internal combustion engine and the electric motor “twist” a real central differential, shafts in the transfer case, and wheel drive. And therefore, you can safely send it to primers, into snow and ice, drive along forest roads – no “glitches” or overheating.

And how much does a Volkswagen Touareg R crossover cost?

At the time when I took this car for a test drive (early 2022), the estimated price of the Volkswagen Touareg R was about $ 100-105 thousand, depending on a couple of ordered or not ordered options. And it’s actually a couple or three…

Because everything else is already included in the Volkswagen Touareg R package: IQ.Light Matrix LED headlights (note – not just LED, but adaptive matrix), 4-zone climate control, Innovision Cockpit interior (12-inch instrument panel) and multimedia of the maximum level Discover Premium (15-inch touch screen), Vienna leather upholstery and much, much more. For other versions of the Volkswagen Touareg, you had to pay for each such item – which, as a result, led to a noticeable increase in price. However, in the case of the Volkswagen Touareg R, this equipment is already included. And therefore, the price tag of $100+ thousand at the beginning of 2022 looked quite adequate for “maximalist” buyers who put a plus sign in front of every possible Volkswagen Touareg option.

Matrix optics, 4-zone “climate”, top-end multimedia, large displays, all-round visibility, background contour lighting, double soundproof glass – the Volkswagen Touareg R crossover fully corresponds to the flagship status in terms of equipment.

In the end: buy or not?

This question is very difficult to answer. And it’s not even about a full-fledged war that is now tormenting Ukraine – but in which, I believe, we will win and become a stronger nation. The fact is that even before the start of a full-scale war, the situation with the Volkswagen Touareg R for Ukraine was quite difficult: remember the delay in car deliveries due to the semiconductor crisis? And even the price of about $100,000 did not guarantee a quick delivery of the car: it had to be ordered and waited for. But wait for what? After all, if we talk about buying this car as an R-version, then everything is ambiguous here. On the one hand – the real ability to “go out of 5 seconds” and almost five hundred horses. But on the other hand, the dynamics depend on the battery charge and a noticeable weighting of an already difficult car. And if we talk about some kind of savings, then the diesel versions of the Volkswagen Touareg also give low fuel consumption, but for much less money.

So the question is: what is the Volkswagen Touareg R in the eyes of the buyer? In fact, the answer has already been found and written at the beginning – this is “three times the flagship”. It is Volkswagen’s leader in three different areas: cutting-edge innovative technology, high performance, individual top-of-the-line equipment. If we consider the Volkswagen Touareg R crossover not in detail, but from a general integrated point of view, then it fully justifies itself. The only caveat is that the car should have been called not the Volkswagen Touareg R, but somehow in the style of the Volkswagen Touareg GTE or Volkswagen Touareg Prime – after all, it is what it is: an example of the maximum possibilities for this model. I am sure that admirers of such an approach, “maximalism”, will definitely be found in our peaceful Ukraine – soon!

We digress and dream about a new car: a test drive of the Volkswagen Touareg R - three times the flagship

Specifications Volkswagen Touareg R

Body – crossover, 5 seats

Dimensions – 4.88 x 1.89 x 1.71 m

Wheelbase – 2.9 m

Clearance – 148-258 mm

Trunk – from 470-810 liters (5 seats) to 1,800 liters (2 seats)

Load capacity – 850 kg

Curb weight – 2,420 kg

Motor – plug-in hybrid (PHEV), 3.0L V6 petrol plus electric motor

Power – 462 hp

Torque – 700 Nm

Specific power and torque – 191 hp per 1 t; 289 Nm per 1 t

Drive – permanent all-wheel drive with Torsen center differential

Transmission – 8-st. Automatic transmission (traditional hydromechanical automatic transmission)

Dynamics 0-100 km / h – 5.1 s

Maximum speed – 250 km / h

Fuel consumption (passport), combined – 2.6-2.7 liters per 100 km

Test vehicle tires – Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 SUV 285/40R21

The price of the car (projected) is about $100,000.

Car provided by Porsche Ukraine, Volkswagen branch

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