Hubert Burda Media

Bland To Grand

The new VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG is innovative, efficient and an all-in-one comfortable ride.

If you’re in the market for a premium SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle), chances are you’re already sussing out the usual suspects. From BMW to Audi and Land Rover, these top-tier automakers have traditionally been the go-to brands. However, among the burgeoning list of models entering the luxury market are also competition from lesser-known players in the segment. Offering equally impressive stats, some of these brands can even claim to prioritise functionality, practicality and adroit engineering over brash exuberance.
The Volkswagen Touareg is one case in point. In fact, this consistent seller has repeatedly outperformed many of its peers, selling approximately 720,000 units worldwide over the past decade. Its charm (despite what may be described as an innocuous exterior design) is its litany of advance features and a well-curated interior — a strategy the latest rendition of the formidable Touareg doesn’t stray far from.
Prestige was among the first in the world to attend the launch of this exquisite multi-terrain vehicle in Munich, Germany, where three engine variants — V6 TDI, V8 TDI and the Hybrid — were showcased. Each of these versions, regardless of its engine configuration, were designed with the same formula as its predecessors were built, combining the comfort and convenience afforded by a superior SUV with the off-road characteristics of a sophisticated off-roader. While the Touareg is a skilled mud-eater, it has all the makings of a luxury daily driver: Comfort, style and superior road handling.
Despite improvements in performance over the outgoing models, the new Touareg managed to improve fuel efficiency across the board as well. The new V6 TDI engine — with approximately 260 horsepower and 580Nm of torque with an impressive timing of 7.3 seconds from 0-100kph and a maximum speed of 225kph — saw a drop in consumption to 6.9L/100km (previously 7.3L/100km), equating to 180g/km of CO2. Consumption on the V6 TDI 201 horsepower variant has also been reduced from 7L to 6.6L of diesel per 100km, which equates to CO2 emissions of 173g/km.
The V8 TDI with approximately 335 horsepower — the most powerful TDI in the Touareg range with unusually high maximum torque of 800Nm, clocking 5.8 seconds from 0-100kph and a top speed of 242kph — consumes a modest 9.1L/100km (equating to 239g/km CO2), while the supercharged Hybrid version (TSI plus electric motor), which puts out a whopping 375 horsepower and a top speed of 240kph, has a low fuel consumption of just 8.2L/100 km (equating to 193g/km of CO2).
At first glance, the new Touareg is identified visually by its redesigned front and rear. Larger, trapezoidal-shaped bi-xenon headlamps (now standard across the line-up) bookend the new grille, which is fitted with a quartet of chrome fins where previously there were only two. The headlights and grille now form a wide band across the Touareg’s front end, giving it more prominence. The lower fascia takes inspiration from the new Scirocco R, with the lower air inlet now forming a stylised “A”, giving the SUV a more dynamic stance.
The newly designed fog lamps and the splitters have also been integrated into the new look for better kerbside appeal with optimal aerodynamic properties. The range of colours has also been updated (new additions: Reef Blue Metallic, Sand Gold Metallic, Black Oak Brown Metallic and Moonlight Blue Pearl Effect), while the designers have also given a new look to four out of the 16 total styles of alloy wheels available: Arica (18-inch), Salvador (19-inch from Volkswagen R), Masafi (20-inch) and Talladega (20-inch from Volkswagen R).
Just as impressive is the redesigned interior that comes decked out with high-end materials and finishings, including aluminium switches, which look as though they have been milled from a solid block of metal. All buttons and switches are now illuminated in white (instead of the previous red), giving a refined feel to the ambience. The range of interior colours and styles of leather has been extended to include Bonanza (dark, reddish brown), in addition to Vienna leather, Titanium Black, Corn Silk Beige and Nature Brown.
In combination with the RNS 850 radio/navigation system and mobile phone preparation, the Touareg will, for the first time, come available with online services. These include a Point-of-Interest (POI) Search via Google, map display provided by Google Earth, the Google Street View function and online traffic information.
While the Volkswagen R-Line package heightens the sporty characteristics of a Volkswagen, the new Volkswagen Exclusive features is all about elegance. Developed by Volkswagen R, both lines — the R-Line and Volkswagen Exclusive — have helped to accentuate the different profiles of the vehicle. The Volkswagen Exclusive options allow drivers to customise the Touareg with refined details, such as a range of decorative inlays (Piano Black, Silver Net and the fine wood inlays in Ash Tree Heartwood Olive Silky Sheen), door tread plates in stainless steel (those at the front are illuminated), a two-tone nappa leather interior with comfort seats in the front and a multifunction leather steering wheel with wooden rim in Piano Black. In the other special edition that is available, the Touareg Exclusive, a select range of these features come already stylishly assembled.
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