Volkswagen says its first vehicle capable of running on battery power, the Touareg R, has been approved for sale in Australia and is scheduled to arrive toward the end of next year.
This Plug-in Hybrid EV, whose combined electric motor and turbo petrol V6 delivers performance comparable to the now discontinued Touareg V8 turbo diesel, will also be the fifth R performance model to join Volkswagen’s local line-up next year.
The Touareg R will follow the Golf R, Golf R Wagon, Tiguan R (all due in late quarter one) and the T‑Roc R (quarter three).
Unlike these, which run high performance versions of Volkswagen Group’s 2.0-litre four cylinder turbo petrol engine, the luxury/performance SUV runs a 250kW/450Nm 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine paired to a 100kW/400Nm electric motor to develop a combined 700Nm and 340kW – more power than any production Volkswagen.
Drive goes to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, enabling a 5.1-second sprint from zero to 100km/h – barely behind the Tiguan R and T‑Roc R.
Power for the electric component of the Touareg R’s drivetrain is supplied by a 14.3kWh lithium-ion battery mounted beneath the boot floor.
A genuine self-charging hybrid, it can be charged either on the run using the combustion engine as a generator or via plug-in means at up to 7.2kW on an AC wallbox, or 10A domestic power point, for a full charge in 2.5 hours.
An electric range of some 47km is possible on the WLTP cycle.
At a possible 135km/h, the top speed in electric mode is considerably greater than Australia’s legal limit, while towing weight is 3500kg.
Volkswagen’s general manager of passenger vehicle marketing Ralph Beckmann said the replacement of a V8 Touareg with an equally rapid and capable, cutting-edge hybrid electric version as the brand’s halo vehicle was “richly symbolic and a strong message”.
“The Touareg R was not destined for Australia because Volkswagen PHEVs and EVs are naturally prioritised for markets with emissions targets,” Mr Beckmann said.
“Meanwhile the Touareg V8 was discontinued having rapidly sold through its local allocation.
“The Aussie appetite for the biggest and best Volkswagens combined with the overdue recognition on the part of government that Australians deserve the best quality petrol, and the progressive policies of NSW, all helped make the business case.
“We can’t at this point say that the Touareg R indicates that more affordable Volkswagen hybrids are coming to Australia, especially during a period of production issues related to the global semi-conductor shortage.
“We can say that despite formidable obstacles, we’re doing all that can be done to secure for Australian customers the same choices enjoyed by those elsewhere in the world.”
Mr Beckmann said that accessing a greatly expanded R portfolio was indicative of the importance of this market to Volkswagen’s performance brand.
“Australia has typically been the third biggest R market, behind only Germany and the UK in actual sales,” Mr Beckmann said.
“This has been achieved solely with the Golf R and, to much lesser extent, its Wagon variant.’’