Volkswagen's most powerful R model yet is in line for Australia, with discussions around a local launch reportedly progressing well.
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The Volkswagen Touareg R plug-in hybrid performance SUV is coming ever closer to Australian showrooms, with the brand confirming plans are advancing for a local launch for Volkswagen R's flagship model.

Volkswagen Australia has confirmed it is "in discussion" with its German counterpart to bring the 340kW/700Nm, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Touareg R to Australia, as the fifth Volkswagen R model on sale locally, following the Golf, Tiguan and T-Roc R product onslaught planned for 2022.

While a launch date has yet to be confirmed for the large PHEV, it's understood a local arrival could occur as soon as 2022 (or as late as 2024).

Unveiled in February 2020, the Touareg R was previously ruled out for an Australian launch, owing to poor fuel quality and a lack of emissions regulations, which have seen fuel-efficient plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) prioritised for other markets with such targets – but two recent factors have changed that decision.

"First, the V8 [Touareg] has sold out, and there isn't going to be another one. There is a position at the top of the passenger car and SUV range for a halo vehicle," a Volkswagen Australia spokesperson told CarAdvice, noting that the plug-in R's performance, price and capabilities align with those of the outgoing V8.

"[Secondly] the Federal Government recently announced at last that we would have decent petrol ... only 10 years behind Europe, not 13," the spokesperson added, noting that Volkswagen Australia was told "you can't have [the R]" by the brand's global operation prior to the V8's local success and the fuel quality announcement.

Pricing for the model has yet to be confirmed, though it's understood it will fall closer to the V8 diesel-powered 310TDI R-Line's $136,490 before on-road costs than the V6 diesel 210TDI R-Line's $108,990 before on-roads sticker.

Powering the high-performance SUV is a 250kW/450Nm 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine, paired to a 100kW/400Nm electric motor to develop a combined 340kW and 700Nm – up 30kW, but down 200Nm over the current most powerful Touareg currently offered Down Under, the diesel 310TDI.

Drive is fed to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, enabling a 5.1-second sprint from zero to 100km/h.

A 17.9kWh (gross, or 14.3kWh net) lithium-ion battery is good for a 47km range on electric power alone according to Europe's WLTP test cycle, and a combined WLTP fuel economy claim of 2.7L/100km. A 7.2kW home wallbox can recharge the battery from empty to full in 2.5 hours.

If Volkswagen Australia's talks proceed as desired, the Touareg R would become the first plug-in hybrid Volkswagen ever sold in Australia – and there's a chance it (and the improved fuel quality standard due in 2024) could open the gates for more PHEV models to be imported by Volkswagen Group Australia, along with cleaner petrol engines in the brand's regular models.

It's a major departure from the last R-badged Volkswagen Touareg sold in Australia, the 2008-10 R50, which sought power from a 5.0-litre twin-turbo diesel V10 good for 258kW, 850Nm, and a 6.8-second 0-100km/h sprint time.

The Touareg R would become the fifth Volkswagen model on sale Down Under, joining the Golf R hatch and wagon, and Tiguan R SUV due in February 2022, and the T-Roc R small SUV due in the second half of 2022.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest Volkswagen Touareg R news.