VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia (VGA) has confirmed it will launch the German brand’s most powerful production SUV – the 310kW/900Nm twin-turbocharged diesel Touareg V8 TDI – in the fourth quarter, more than a year after expressing its desire to the bring the flagship of the third-generation large SUV series here.
Set to arrive in top-spec R-line form, the muscular oil-burning Touareg V8 uses the same 4.0-litre biturbo diesel engine as found in the just-launched Audi SQ7/SQ8 twins and Bentley Bentayga.
The Audi double act delivers an extra 10kW (310kW) and Bentley’s SUV pushes up to 320kW, while all produce the same 900Nm peak torque.
The VW’s maximum pulling power is available from 1250-3250rpm, before peak power comes into play between 3500rpm and 5000rpm.
Drive is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, resulting in a claimed 0-100km/h dash of 4.9 seconds.
Claimed fuel economy for the Touareg V8 TDI is 7.4 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.
Local pricing is still to be announced but a pricetag of around $140,000 plus on-road costs is anticipated.
For reference, the SQ7 starts at $161,500, while the Bentayga Diesel is in another league altogether, priced from $341,500.
VGA managing director Michael Bartsch said even a “fully loaded” Touareg V8 “will undercut the starting price of its rivals to be the best-value proposition in the premium large SUV segment”.
“Luxury SUV performance of the Touareg V8’s calibre won’t be found elsewhere for less than $160,000,” he said.
“Nothing will approach the value of the Touareg’s standard equipment for very much under $180,000 at the most competitive.
“The genuine car lover will discern that the true value of this most special Touareg is to be found in a cachet that time will only enhance.”
Mr Bartsch went a step further to describe the Touareg V8 TDI R-Line as a future cult classic in the mould of the V10-powered Touareg R50 and the reborn Scirocco coupe.
Australian equipment levels are still to be confirmed, although VGA has promised a minimalist options list with the only choices customers will need to make being the colour and the fitment of a panoramic sunroof.
As a guide, standard equipment on the entry-level Touareg 190 TDI includes 19-inch Osorno alloy wheels, hands-free power-operated tailgate, keyless entry/start, 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, four USB ports, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and Vienna leather upholstery.
The 190 TDI Premium includes air suspension, adaptive IQ Matrix LED headlights, ventilated front seats with massaging functionality and Savona leather trim, and includes the option of an ($8000) R-Line Package that should feature on the V8 TDI, covering four-wheel steering, active anti-roll bars, 20-inch Nevada alloy wheels and R-Line exterior and interior styling.
Advanced safety systems are prevalent on all Touareg models and include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep and steering assist, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality.
Speaking to GoAuto at the Australian launch of the third-generation Touareg last year, VGA product marketing manager Jeff Shafer said he did not expect the V8-powered SUV to be a big seller Down Under – if it made it here – based on the sales of previous models, but that the company was pushing to bring it here as the flag-bearer for the range.
“It’s never been huge, it’s always been in the five per cent mix level … but it’s important as the flagship of the flagship to show the maximum (potential of the vehicle),” he said at the time.
The second-generation Touareg was topped by a 4.2-litre V8 TDI producing 250kW/800Nm, while the first generation brought forth the wild R50 variant, complete with a 5.0-litre V10 TDI pumping out 258kW/850Nm. A ‘regular’ version also churned out 230kW/750Nm.
Last year, Volkswagen sold 1352 examples of the Touareg, accounting for 7.9 per cent of the $70,000+ large SUV segment, making it the fifth best-selling vehicle in the category.
So far this year ending April, 346 new Touaregs have been delivered (6.5% segment share), an improvement of 229.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.