VW Touareg V8 TDI

23 Nov, 2011 3:00pm Jack Rix

We get behind the wheel of the range-topping diesel Touareg SUV


The combination of a powerful diesel and smooth auto makes this range-topping Touareg fantastic to drive. But take a closer look and the case for it begins to unravel. At nearly £60,000, it’s £15,000 more expensive than the marginally slower but just as capable 3.0 V6 TDI. More significantly, it’s £13,000 more than Porsche’s Cayenne diesel, which feels more special inside and is more accomplished.
You can now order VW’s full-size Touareg SUV with a 4.2-litre V8 turbodiesel, which delivers a huge 800Nm of torque – 50Nm more than the old V10 diesel.

The new car sits above the £57,970, 34.4mpg hybrid at the top of the new Touareg range, but can VW really compete at this end of the SUV market?

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the VW Touareg

With the creamy-smooth V8 ticking over under the bonnet, and the excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox blurring the ratios, the powertrain is certainly befitting of the price. Just like with a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, it always feels like there’s plenty of performance in reserve should you need it.

Under full throttle, the acceleration is immense. There’s a swelling surge and, if you’ve selected the softest suspension setting, the nose tips skywards and you rocket down the road. However, this understated off-roader always feels more comfortable cruising around and taking things a little more slowly.

The optional air-suspension does a brilliant job in a straight line, ironing out bumps in the road with ease. We drove across a loose manhole cover and heard the wheels crash over it, but didn’t feel a thing from the driver’s seat.

In corners, though, the body rolls as the car struggles to contain its weight. Things can be improved by switching to the firmest of the suspension’s three modes, but you lose the suppleness over broken surfaces.

By most standards the cabin is sumptuous. It’s spacious, the build quality is superb and the large central touchscreen and good-sized display between the dials are intuitive to use and look great.

But somehow the VW lacks the depth of luxury that you’ll find in its sister car, the Porsche Cayenne, or the BMW X5. Still, the Touareg is well equipped for some light off-roading, with hill-hold, hill-descent and start-assist systems all included as standard. There’s a handy dial for you to toggle through the various off-road settings, too.

Disqus - noscript

Why did I first notice the ad adjoining this article, loudly claiming VW had removed 200kgs from the weight of the Toe-rag. Well AE, did they?? Your reports are becoming more and more superficial, with weight, co-effient of drag etc irrelevancies. And by the way, what about the 3rd ugly sister, the Q7? They were all joined at the chassis at birth, yes?? I have a complete irrational love of Audis, however this 3-sum [Aye-canne, Toe-rag, and Q7] really have no place/use on the planet. Range Rover have a massive amount to be responsible for, starting this 4WD trend, and all the would-be imitators. Will the car maker that leads please stand up. The world is full of 2nd rate followers.......

I sold my Touareg V10 TDI and got a BMW X6M, while the Beamer is quicker I miss the Touareg as it was more comfortable and somehow just an easier drive while still having massive performance. I look forward to seeing the new Touareg R in Australia, although I suspect the pricing will be a killer.

Key specs

* Price: £59,580
* Engine: 4.2-litre V8 turbodiesel
* Transmission: Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
* Power/torque: 335bhp/800Nm
* 0-60mph: 5.8 seconds
* Top speed: 150mph
* Economy/CO2: 31mpg/239g/km
* Equipment: Panoramic glass roof, adaptive air suspension, leather seats, climate control, electric windows, touchscreen sat-nav
* On sale: Now
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