2013 TOUAREG V8 DIESEL R-LINE REVIEW
Vehicle style: Large all-wheel-drive SUV
Engine/transmission: 4.2 litre V8 TDI turbo diesel mated/ eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy listed: 9.2 l/100km | tested: 10.7 l/100km.
Since then, it has carved a solid if unspectacular sales niche. And, to my mind, should have done better.
Enter the new VW flagship - the $112,990 Touareg V8 TDI R-Line - and it comes armed with a thumping 250kW/800Nm turbo-diesel and a sprint time to 100km/h of a sizzling 5.8 seconds.
When the Touareg first arrived here back in September 2003, one of the engine options was a gut-busting V10 turbo-diesel with 230kW and 750Nm.
But instead of that V10’s five litres, the new V8 is just a tad over 4.1 litres (VW lists it at 4.2litres).
Despite what it gives away in capacity and cylinders, the new V8 turbo diesel is stronger, faster and a whopping 27 percent more fuel-efficient. This is a seriously good donk.
Quality: VW’s Audi cousin does just about the best vehicle interiors on the planet, and it’s fair to say that the new Touareg’s cabin accommodation is right up there.
There is plenty of leather, stylish brushed-metal highlights, soft plastic trims and big easy-to-read dials with white numbers on a black background.
Comfort: The Touareg’s classy leather-clad front seats are really well-bolstered for the hips, back and thighs; there’s also plenty of electric adjustment as well as memory settings for both front-seat passengers.
The outer two rear-seat passengers have not been forgotten and their seating positions also have subtle but effective hip-and-thigh bolstering.
Equipment: There’s a huge inventory of standard features like 21-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, stainless-steel door sill-plates and pedals, an optical parking system, front-and-rear parking sensors, sat-nav, a superb 12-speaker Dynaudio 620W premium audio system with 12-channel digital amplifier and media-interface with USB cable.
Also on the menu is a four-zone automatic climate-control dual air-con, electrically adjustable door mirrors with memory function, automatic kerb view when reversing, heated steering wheel (with memory) and keyless entry.
Storage: The rear cargo area (with auto-open and close tailgate) is good for 580 litres of luggage with the rear seats occupied. This rises to a handy 1642 litres with the 60/40 split-fold rear seats folded.
There are large door-pockets, cup holders in front and rear doors and also in the rear fold-down centre arm-rest, plus a good-sized bin in the console.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: When you’ve got peak power of 250kW and a monumental 800Nm of torque at your beck and call (the latter available from 1750rpm-2750rpm), it’s hard to complain.
This is a very powerful and rapid machine, and completely untroubled by a load of any size.
It’s also user-friendly: it’s easy to get set behind the multi-function reach and rake steering wheel (with electric adjustment and heating) and all-round visibility is generally good.
The only blind-spot is to the left where the B-pillar and front-passenger head restraint intrude.
Fire it up, and the eight-speed automatic transmission is a delight – all that torque and eight speeds means it is never wrong-footed.
When hustling things along, you can take things in hand with the steering-wheel-mounted paddles which can add to the driving fun (though they’re a bit on the small side).
Refinement: Despite the diesel fuel powering the Touareg’s eight cylinders, it sings through its two big chrome oval exhausts with an unmistakable V8 burble.
Certainly, the big 2264kg SUV cruises effortlessly and is very refined on the highway (you wouldn’t know there was a turbo-diesel under the bonnet).
So quiet is it that you have to keep your eye on the speedo or you’ll find autobahn-like speeds coming up in the blink of an eye and without the slightest hint of effort.
Suspension: The big Touareg rides on gas dampers with coil-springs, double-wishbones front-and-rear and anti-roll bars.
There’s a rolling switch on the centre-console for selecting between three suspension settings – normal, comfort or sport.
I spent most of my time in sport and, though certainly firmed up, it wasn’t uncomfortably harsh.
Off-road, you’ve got approach and departure angles of 27 degrees, ramp-over of 22 degrees and a respectable wading depth of 580mm.
Braking: The big Touareg’s anchors are among its stand-out features with big ventilated discs all-round for fade-free braking despite the big SUV’s more than 2.0 tonne heft.
The Touareg offers a braked towing capacity of an impressive 3500kg.
ANCAP Rating: 5 Stars
Safety Features: The big VW comes standard with nine airbags, ASR, EDL and ESP with active rollover protection, EBC and off-road function with the ABS-plus anti-lock braking system and hill-descent assist.
There is also adaptive cruise control, a proactive occupant-protection system and a lane-changing assistance system.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years, unlimited kilometres.
Servicing: Service intervals are 12 months or every 15,000kms. VW Australia offers capped-price servicing over six years beginning at $507 at 12 months; $507 at 24 months; $689 at 36 months, etc.... check VW Australia website for full details and pricing.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Audi Q7 4.2 litre TDI quattro - $128,800: Cousin to the Touareg, but while the Audi boasts 280kW compared with the VW’s 250kW, the Touareg wins for torque – 800Nm versus 740Nm.
The Audi is less thirsty (7.7 l/100km versus 9.2 l/100km), is half a second quicker to 100km/h and is also available as a seven-seater. (see Audi Q reviews)
BMW X5 M50d - $147,500: The six-cylinder Beemer stumps up a hefty 280kW and 740Nm, but is way dearer than the Touareg.
The X5 is quicker to 100km/h (at 5.4 seconds), and, thanks to the smaller engine, averages 7.5 l/100km fuel consumption. However, the Touareg has the BMW’s 2700kg braked towing capacity whipped. (see BMW X reviews)
Range Rover Sport SDV6 Luxury - $113,400: Two fewer cylinders than the Touareg and ‘just’ 180kW and 600Nm, Its 9.2 l/100km fuel-consumption is the same but it’s no match in the acceleration stakes (at 9.3 seconds 0-100km/h).
Comfortable, very English (in all the good ways), and swift, it is a very appealing buy. (see Range Rover reviews)
Note: above prices do not include on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The grunt-filled Touareg V8 TDI is monstrously powerful, but can be as docile as a lamb.
With it, VW has come up with a luxurious large SUV that manages to combine the performance of a sports car with saloon-car refinement and comfort.
The fact that it feels like it could tow a Kenworth B-double up and down the Hume freeway only adds to its appeal as a family hauler or tow vehicle.
Beautifully trimmed, it’s the flagship model in Volkswagen Australia’s local range. Have a close look; we think you’ll like what you see. You’ll also like – no doubt - VW’s capped price servicing.
Pricing (excludes on-road costs)
- Touareg 150TDI - $63,990
- Touareg V6 TDI - $79,990
- Touareg V6 TDI 4XMotion - $84,990
- Touareg V8 TDI R-Line - $112,990