THE most powerful model in Volkswagen's history is on its way to the UK in the shape of the new Touareg R luxury, high performance SUV.
Squarely aimed at buyers who might otherwise be looking in the direction of a high-end BMW or Mercedes SUV, the German company's new flagship model comes with a price tag of Â£71,995 and boasts a multitude of talents including sports car performance, luxury trim and fittings and surprisingly green credentials.
The latter is thanks to the fitting of a hybrid power train which Volkswagen claims provides the Touareg R with fuel economy and CO emissions of up to 94.2 mpg and 67 g/km respectively. It will run for up to 28-miles on electric power only and the battery can be recharged in two and a half hours at public charging points using the cable supplied with the car or in eight and a half hours from a household three-pin socket.
At the heart of the Touareg R is a three-litre V6 eHybrid plug-in powertrain producing 456bhp and 700 Nm of torque making it the most powerful production Volkswagen ever with a 0 to 62 mph sprint time of 5.1 seconds- only marginally slower than the iconic Golf R's 4.7-second figure. Top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
A number of sporting design features help the new high-performance model stand out from the rest of the Touareg family including specifically designed front and rear bumpers, a gloss black rear diffuser, and 22-inch, diamond-turned alloy wheels shod with 285/35 R22 tyres. Other styling cues include darkened tail-lights and a black grille, mirror caps and window trim.
The standard equipment list builds on the features of the Touareg Black Edition including an air suspension system with automatic self-levelling function, height adjustment and electronic shock absorption control.
Amongst a raft of high-tech luxury, safety and convenience features there's also a parking assistance package with a 360-degree area view camera. Intelligent LED matrix headlights use information from the car's front camera, navigation data and GPS information, steering angle and speed of travel to optimise lighting for numerous driving situations. The system also incorporates automatic high-beam control.
Like the Black Edition, the Touareg R also comes with a panoramic sunroof and on top of that a number of extra luxury features have been incorporated including bespoke black leather-upholstered, diamond-quilted seats finished with contrasting blue stitching and piping with active climate control for front occupants.