There’s a new flagship Volkswagen Touareg plug-in electric (PHEV) derivative set to premiere in Geneva next month, but Australian enthusiasts will have to head to Europe if they desire one.
The Touareg R is the brand’s first R-Line model with a PHEV drivetrain, and its third PHEV in Europe. Electrified versions of the Golf and Passat already exist, while its ID family of fully electric vehicles (EVs) are also being slowly revealed.
The Touareg R pairs a 250kW turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine with a 100kW electric motor. When they’re both combined to maximum potential the system output is 340kW and 700Nm.
The R features a 14.1kWh-capacity battery under the boot floor, an eight-speed automatic transmission with torque-converter, and 4Motion permanent electro-mechanical AWD with centre locking diff and maximum rear torque split of 80 per cent. It has been homologated to tow 3.5 tonnes.
While Volkswagen has not offered either full electric range or combined-cycle fuel use figures yet, the company does claim that the battery capacity is designed “so that the Touareg R can cover the average daily commute under electric power”.
Any figure less than 40km would be disappointing.
Volkswagen says the Touareg R can also do speeds of up to 140km/h in EV mode, before the petrol engine kicks in, and always starts in EV mode for maximum smoothness like a conventional hybrid does.
As with all PHEVs it charges from a wallbox or fast charger, but also through brake energy recuperation or power generation from the engine (if you’re headed to a low emissions zone).
You can also just leave the car in hybrid mode and let its electronic brain decide how to balance the power sources, or tell it to use petrol power and maintain a set level of electric charge.
The Touareg R is intimately related to the Audi Q7 60 TFSI e, and appears to use the same electric architecture as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid V8. That is no surprise since all three share the same VW Group architecture.
Inside you get the familiar ‘Innovision Cockpit’ with its massive 15-inch touchscreen and 12-inch digital driver’s instrument cluster. You can view the system’s energy flow via an animation on the screen, just like other PHEVs.
The Touareg R also has highway driving assist features such as active cruise control and lane-keeping aid that work up to 250km/h, for Autobahns. Plus, it’s fitted as standard with Matrix LED headlights. It also comes with Night Vision, which detects people and animals in the dark using a thermal imaging camera.
The Lapiz Blue Metallic paint is exclusive to the Touareg R, as are the 22-inch Estoril wheels in burnished black). Volkswagen also developed a leather interior package tanned “sustainably using olive oil”.
In short, Volkswagen is focusing this Touareg R at the European market. Factory supply for small markets like ours without great buyer demand for PHEVs is tethered, according to Volkswagen Australia.
“More advanced markets will be prioritised,” claims its local general manager of corporate communications Paul Pottinger.
However, there is scope for an expanded range of Touaregs beyond the extant 190 TDI diesel.