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by Tim Beissmann

The Volkswagen Touareg V8 TDI R-Line will top the German manufacturer’s local line-up when the 800Nm luxury SUV lands in Australia in March.

The flagship Touareg R-Line becomes the first V8-powered model in the range since 2006, when Volkswagen phased out the high-performance petrol variant from the first-generation line-up.

Powered by a 4.2-litre turbo-diesel engine with 250kW and 800Nm, the new Volkswagen Touareg TDI V8 R-Line becomes the second-most powerful Volkswagen ever offered in Australia, trailing only the now-discontinued first-gen 258kW/850Nm 4.9-litre twin-turbocharged V10 Touareg R50.

While lacking that car’s true ‘R’ pedigree, the second-gen V8 R-Line more than counters it with enhanced performance, slashing one second off the R50’s 0-100km/h time (5.8secs) while using 27 per cent less fuel on the combined cycle (9.2 litres per 100km).

The new Touareg V8 is also significantly more powerful than the top-spec 3.0-litre V6 diesel of the current range, which produces 180kW and 550Nm and takes 7.6 seconds to reach triple figures from rest.

Differentiating the Touareg R-Line from the rest of the range is a sporty bodykit with unique front and rear bumpers, side sills and rear spoiler, as well as 21-inch alloy wheels, dark-tinted rear windows, dual oval chrome exhaust outlets, LED tail-lights and R-Line badging.

Inside, the new range-topper benefits from push-button start, four-zone climate control, 12-speaker premium audio system, electrically adjustable heated leather steering wheel with paddle-shifters, front sports seats with three-position memory, heated rear seats, two-tone Nappa leather upholstery with stitched R-Line logos, stainless steel scuff plates and pedals, and aluminium trim inserts.

A series of safety features are also added to the standard equipment list, including adaptive cruise control, Front Assist with City Emergency Brake, Side Assist lane change assistant, proactive occupant protection system, 360-degree Area View camera system, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

Volkswagen Australia will reveal pricing of the new Touareg R-Line closer to its showroom launch in March. The V6 4XMotion tops the current price list at $83,990, suggesting a starting price for the V8 closer to $100,000.