A couple of generations, a couple of runs at the Dakar Rally and finally, in the 2009, Volkswagen achieved a one-two result! And who can forget the V10 towing a 747!
The story from 2002:
Volkswagen has released initial details of its first Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), the Touareg, to be launched in Australia mid 2003 (European sales start third quarter this year).
Powered by a V6 or V8 petrol engine or the world’s most powerful mass-market diesel, a V10 bi-turbo delivering a massive 750 Nm of torque and 230 kW of power, the Touareg is both luxurious and a full-blooded off-road vehicle.
Power is transferred to the driven wheels via a transfer box – which has off-road gear ratio reduction fitted as standard – and three locking differentials.
Both the gearboxes (manual and Tiptronic automatic) are six speeds. In Australia only the entry level V6 model Touareg will offer the manual transmission. Driving the automatic gearboxes, the driver can use DSP (dynamic shift program), the Tiptronic gear lever or, if fitted, the steering wheel paddles to influence gear shifting.
Short overhangs, ground clearance of up to 300 millimetres, wading depth of 585 millimetres, gradability of 100 per cent and the ability to roll to 45 degrees all reinforce Touareg’s claim to be a serious performer in virtually any off-road circumstance.
The Touareg is the third phase of Volkswagen’s luxury segment campaign – joining the high performance Passat W8 (Australian launch early next year) and Phaeton prestige sedan that will be seen in Australia in 2004.
Volkswagen’s first SUV is firmly positioned in the luxury off-roader segment and with a length of 4.75 metres, width of 1.93 metres, height of 1.72 metres and wheelbase measuring 2.86 metres, it has an imposing presence on and off the road.
Agility and safety are the key words for Touareg’s performance in all conditions: suspension is a double wishbone design front and rear with a noise-insulated subframe to provide the quietness and comfort of a luxury sedan, coupled with the precision of a sports car. V8 and V10 Touareg models come standard with pneumatic suspension and continuous damping control to provide an unprecedented level of ride comfort both on and off the sealed highways. A cockpit switch allows the driver to select suspension settings for sports or comfort ride.
The fully galvanized, unitized four-door body has a high degree of torsional stiffness, which not only comes into its own in extreme off-road conditions but also forms the basis of Touareg’s high level of comfort and refinement.
Interior design is in the style of Volkswagen’s superb Phaeton prestige sedan and uses an extensive range of high quality equipment to underline Touareg’s positioning as a true luxury SUV.
Crashworthiness and safety equipment meet the toughest specifications. Touareg does not have an aggressive design like many other more intimidating off-road vehicles – thus paying heed to weaker road users in the event of an accident. Further underlining Volkswagen’s responsible attitude in this regard, the Touareg comes with non-metal fenders and a soft aluminium bonnet.
The high standard of passive safety includes front, side and curtain airbags, active head restraints in the front and three-point seat belts on all seats.
ABS, TCS (traction control system), ESP (electronic stabilization program), EBC (engine braking control) and HBA (hydraulic brake assist system) are fitted as standard and provide safety levels normally associated with prestige/high performance passenger cars. The brake system with fixed calipers and ventilated disc brakes provides good braking characteristics, even when the vehicle is fully loaded inside and is towing to its high maximum capacity (3.5 tonnes in Europe).
Another safety feature – when the Touareg is fitted with pneumatic suspension, it is automatically lowered by 25 mm if the speed exceeds 125 km/h.
Practicality is vital for SUV buyers and the Touareg delivers – luggage capacity varies according to seating configuration from 555 to 1750 litres and the large tailgate/rear window can be opened separately.
Volkswagen Group Australia will reveal the complete Touareg model lineup and pricing closer to the launch date.
“It is no exaggeration to say our Touareg is a breathtaking vehicle – absolutely sensational in every way – and we can promise buyers in the luxury SUV segment that our pricing will be very competitive,” explained Volkswagen Group Australia’s Managing Director, Mr Peter Nochar.