Volkswagen unveiled its Touareg R as its range-topping SUV recently, showcasing its most powerful production car to date. It’s powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain, reflecting Volkswagen’s more widespread adoption of electrified powertrains.
But as well as its punchy engine setup, the Touareg has also been given a host of tricks and features - which we’ll take a look at in more detail now.
The exterior of the Touareg R builds on the imposing looks of the regular car with a host of gloss black elements applied to areas such as the front grille and wheels. The trim for the windows is also finished in gloss black, giving the whole car a more undercover look.
Around the back, there’s little to showcase the R’s performance, though some subtle badges do help to differentiate it from the rest of the range.
The Touareg R builds on the cabin you get in the regular - and very good - model. It means there’s a high use of quality materials, backed by the level of fit-and-finish that you’d expect from a Volkswagen.
There’s plenty of space to enjoy for those sitting in the back, while those in the front get a commanding view of the road ahead. When it comes to boot space, there’s an impressive 810 litres available as standard, rising to 1,800 litres with them folded down.
The cabin of the Touareg R is bristling with technology, with highlights including a 12-inch digital cockpit screen that can be configured to show a variety of different readouts. They’re clear and easy to read, too.
In addition, there’s a huge 15-inch central infotainment screen that houses all of the main media and satellite navigation functions. Together, they combine to create a particularly high-tech feeling cabin.
As we’ve already mentioned, the Touareg R takes the title as the most powerful production Volkswagen to date. This comes through the fitment of a plug-in hybrid setup, bringing together a turbocharged V6 engine and an electric motor with 14.1kWh battery. Together, they produce 455bhp and 700Nm of torque.
With power going to all four wheels, the Touareg R can dash from 0-60mph in just 4.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 155mph, yet return up to 94.2mpg and around 28 miles of electric-only driving range.
Since the Touareg R effectively takes the top spot in the SUV’s range of trims, there’s just one specification to choose from. However, it comes with a comprehensive list of equipment including a full sports bodykit, an eight-speaker sound system and adaptive cruise control.
You also get 22-inch alloy wheels, an around-view parking camera system and automatic headlights with LED separate daytime running lights.
VW Touareg R - Features include:
What is it?
It might surprise you, but this is the most powerful production Volkswagen ever made. You might think the car that carries that tag would be a hot hatch, super saloon or even an electric vehicle, but no, it’s a large SUV called Touareg R.
This is also the first plug-in hybrid to wear the firm’s famous R badge, so we’ve been behind the wheel to find out what it’s like.
Most of the Touareg R’s new features are under the bonnet in the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain, but there are actually a wide range of updates including an ultra-wide infotainment system and LED Matrix headlights.
It also gets trailer assist, making it the only PHEV on the market with this technology, while you also get the same practical cabin and imposing looks as the regular model.
What’s under the bonnet?
Unlike many PHEVs, the Touareg R doesn’t make do with some tiny petrol engine, instead boasting a 3.0-litre V6 unit that’s hooked up to an electric motor and batteries. The result is a combined output of 456bhp and 700Nm of torque.
Despite its size, that performance means this is one quick SUV. The 0-60mph sprint comes up in 4.9 seconds while the top speed is limited to 155mph. Despite being this rapid, official fuel consumption figures read 95.2mpg while CO2 emissions are just 67g/km. It can also go 29 miles on electric power alone.
How does it look?
Even the regular Touareg has a lot of road presence, but in R trim this is turned up to 11, with sporty styling tweaks and black accents across the body work.
It’s not overtly sporty, though, looking more like a high-spec trim level than a high-performance model, which gives it some understated class. It looks more like a premium product than a lairy sports SUV.
What’s it like inside?
Much like the exterior, the interior doesn’t do much to shout about its sporting credentials, but that’s no bad thing because the Touareg has an excellent cabin. There are plenty of high quality materials and it’s incredibly spacious for all passengers.
The PHEV powertrain does mean the R has slightly less boot space than the regular model, while the charging cable bag takes up quite a bit of room too. That said, the boot floor is flat and folding the rear seats expands the space on offer considerably.
What’s the spec like?
There’s plenty of standard equipment on offer because the Touareg R sits at the top of the firm’s SUV line-up, with prices starting at just under £72,000. For example, diamond-quilted seats with contrast blue piping, four-zone climate control and a full panoramic sunroof are all included.
There’s also a large central touchscreen infotainment system measuring 15 inches, while a 12-inch digital cockpit is located ahead of the driver.
The Volkswagen Touareg R feels like it’s caught in the middle of being two things at once. On the one hand, it’s a quiet and comfortable cruiser that can see off shorter journeys on pure electric power. However, it also has a lot of performance, yet doesn’t really manage to excite.
It actually serves to remind just how good the regular Touareg is. If you’re looking for a comfortable SUV and don’t need the extra performance of the R, the regular model might serve you best.