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Volkswagen readies new Touareg

Coming: Volkswagen's next Touareg luxury SUV will be released at the Melbourne motor show on July 1.

First details of Australia’s next Touareg emerge as VW’s original luxo SUV bows out

26 May 2011

VOLKSWAGEN has readied four versions of its second-generation Touareg for launch in Australia ahead of the lighter, safer and higher-tech new luxury SUV’s release at the Melbourne motor show on July 1.

While the single remaining diesel variant of the original Touareg – on sale here since September 2003 - was discontinued in late April, Volkswagen has received Australian Design Rule certification for one V6 petrol and three V6 diesel versions of its successor.

They include a new entry-level 150kW ‘150TDI’ six-cylinder diesel, two higher-output ‘176TDI’ diesel V6s – one with an optional ‘terrain Tech’ off-road package – and a 3.6-litre ‘V6 FSI’ petrol variant.

Not all of those Touareg variants are guaranteed to be available from launch, however, although all of them should come with fuel-saving ‘BlueMotion’ technologies in the absence of a dedicated ‘green’ model like the Golf BlueMotion launched in Australia this week.

VW Group Australia has ruled out a petrol-electric version to match the mechanically identical Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid that delivers 279kW/580Nm, sips just 8.2L/100km and went on sale here in July last year.

Nor is there any sign of the 250kW/800Nm 4.2 TDI V8 model available in Europe since last year, or a replacement for the V10 diesel-powered R50 that topped the Touareg range here from May 2008.

3 center imageAs we reported when we drove the MkII Touareg in France last September, VW Australia has deemed the hybrid too expensive for Australia, where it will not offer any efficiency gains over diesel-powered versions of the new Touareg, some versions of which are up to 208kg lighter and 20 per cent more efficient than before.

Like its discontinued predecessor ($75,990 – the same price at which the 3.6 FSI petrol variant was last sold), the new Touareg 3.0 TDI delivers the same 176kW of power from 4000rpm and muscular 550Nm of torque from just 1750rpm.

Now weighing 2164kg (tare) and fitted as standard - like all new Touaregs - with an eight-speed (up from six-speed) automatic transmission that reduces engine speed by up to 34 per cent, the 3.0 TDI returns record-low fuel consumption of just 7.4L/100km while also reducing CO2 emissions to 195g/km.

Similarly, the Touareg 3.6 FSI petrol – which has an even lower tare weight of 2097kg in base five-seat form – offers the same 206kW/360Nm outputs as before, but lifts its efficiency by 2.5L/100km and 60g/km to a respective 9.9L/100km and 236g/km.

Efficiency figures remain unknown for the new 150TDI version, which weighs the same 2164kg as the 176TDI but makes its peak power at a higher 4750rpm, but the Terrain tech package brings the 176TDI’s tare weight to 2222kg.

The latter is likely to swap the standard Touareg’s temporary spare wheel-tyre for a full-size item, and although 17-inch alloy wheels will be standard a range of optional 18, 19, 20 and even 21-inch alloys will be available.

Other local options will include air suspension, Xenon headlights and daytime running lights, but all new Touaregs will come with Volkswagen’s ‘4Motion’ all-wheel drive system featuring a Torsen limited-slip differential, as well as a braked towing capacity of 3500kg (750kg unbraked) and 200mm of minimum ground clearance.

VW’s bigger new Slovakian-built Touareg, which is 41mm longer at 4795mm and 12mm wider at 1940mm but 14mm lower at 1709mm, will offer a 31-degree climbing angle thanks to a push-button ‘off-road driving programme’ that alters the brakes and stability/traction control while priming the hill-descent control and transmission gearshift points.

The off-road package’ Torsen centre coupling incorporates a transfer case with reduction ratios and centre and rear differentials with 100 per cent locking action, to scale inclines of up to 45 degrees. This ‘4XMotion’ drivetrain offers a console-sited rotary switch that selects between on-road, off-road, low-range, centre diff lock and rear diff lock modes.

According to VW, torsional body rigidity rises by five per cent, while aerodynamic improvements and a lower ride height reduce the new models drag Cd from 0.38 to 0.35.

Inside, the Touareg’s 38mm-longer (2893mm) wheelbase delivers substantial gains in interior length (by 41mm), front elbow room (by 45mm), front shoulder room (by 55mm) and rear knee room (by 68mm).

The rear bench seat now slides 160mm fore and aft and features a recline-able backrest. Cargo space is up by 72 litres to 1642 litres, thanks in part to a 190mm wider boot.

All models will offer a 6.5-inch touch-screen infotainment system, nine airbags and an electric parking brake.

In Europe, new Touareg options include automatic remote tailgate opening/closing, a panoramic sunroof claimed to be the biggest of any SUV, a four-camera ‘Area View’ monitoring function, a ‘Lane Assist’ lane departure warning system, ‘Side Assist’ blind-spot monitoring, ‘Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist’ and bi-Xenon headlights with ‘Dynamic Light Assist’.

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