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New 2020 VW Touareg R revealed with plug-in power and 456bhp

The hot Volkswagen Touareg R SUV combines a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 with a 134bhp electric motor

This is the new Volkswagen Touareg R. The most potent version of the firm’s flagship SUV packs a 456bhp plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of returning CO2 emissions of around 44g/km, says VW.

Those figures are made possible by a petrol/electric powertrain largely carried over from the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. That means that under the bonnet there's a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine with 335bhp. It’s paired with a 134bhp electric motor housed within the eight-speed automatic gearbox to deliver permanent four-wheel drive in both combustion and electric driving modes.

Combined, the two systems offer a total of 700Nm of torque. Performance figures are yet to be confirmed, but Volkswagen believes that the Touareg R will cover the 0-62mph sprint in around five seconds.

The Touareg R is able to drive at up to 87mph in fully electric mode, while a 14.1kWh battery stored between the back seats and the boot allows for an estimated all-electric range of 27 miles. The larger battery does not affect passenger space, but the boot has shrunk to 610 litre capacity.

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As with other Touaregs, the R shares its underpinnings and tech with other big SUVs like the Audi Q7Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus. The R rides on air suspension, but while some of its sister vehicles feature four-wheel steering and active anti roll suspension, the packaging constraints of the hybrid system means that the R does without either. However, Volkswagen engineers confirmed that they are looking to introduce the systems at a later date.

From the outside, the Toureg R is set apart from the rest of the range thanks to unique alloy wheels measuring between 20 and 22 inches in diameter.

The Lapiz blue paint finish, a signature of the brand’s R models, also features here, while the Touareg is the first hot VW in Europe to feature the new ‘R’ logo. The black exterior pack offered as an optional extra on other Touaregs is standard here, and the rear of the car is finished off with a pair of large trapezoidal tailpipes.

Inside, the Touareg R gets a new sports steering wheel and unique seating upholstery. The ‘Innovision’ in-car tech, which comprises a 15-inch touchscreen and 12-inch digital driver’s display, is standard, as is a semi-autonomous driving function that can take care of acceleration, steering and braking at speeds of up to 155mph.

Prices of the Touareg R are still to be announced, but should be confirmed a little closer to the release date, expected to be the fourth quarter of 2020.

What are the best plug-in hybrids on sale? Head over to our sister site DrivingElectric to find out...

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