The second-generation Volkswagen Touareg has gone on a diet and become more efficient
First DriveLowest-powered diesel Touareg offers decent performance with refinement, though pricing means you might as well go for the extra punch.
First DriveThe Touareg is well built and comes loaded with kit, but there are better large SUVs with more attractive price tags
What is it?
Peculiar as it is that Volkswagen has brought a 335bhp 4.2-litre V8 TDI to sit above the 328bhp petrol-electric hybrid model in the UK line-up, it has done. But the good news is that the diesel makes for a substantially more cohesive and enjoyable drive.
Of course, similar as the power outputs are on the two most indulgent Touareg models, the diesel produces a monstrous 590lb ft to the hybrid’s 325lb ft, and therefore is substantially faster to 62mph at 5.8sec.
What's it like?
In practice, the immediate and potent mid-range response is more rewarding than any sprint ability. Fitted with the company’s excellent eight-speed auto ’box, the powertrain provides exactly the sort of smooth, over-indulgent experience that this car needs if it’s to come close to justifying its £60k price tag.
But while the engine is seriously good the optional air suspension’s ride quality isn’t perfect. Acceptable, certainly, but lumpy over urban roads and with some fairly unsettled body control. It smooths out on motorways, where it serves as a seriously effective tourer, but even with this ability, allied to the responsive handling and the delight of having nearly 600lb ft under your right foot, the Tourag V8 never quite feels like the £60k car it is.
This is partly down to the interior, which has an appealing sense of quality but lacks the sumptuous finish that you get in the more premium brands. But in reality the price is simply beyond what you would expect to pay for a VW Touareg.
Should I buy one?
In isolation it is thoroughly likeable, but the excellent powertrain is not enough to justify the £15k premium it holds over the equivalent 3.0 TDI V6 Touareg. Or, more notably for those after something a little bit more special, the £13k you’ll pay for this over the new Porsche Cayenne Diesel.
Volkswagen Touareg V8 TDI Altitude
Price: £59,580; Top speed: 150mph; 0-62mph: 5.8sec; Economy: 31mpg; CO2: 239g/km; Kerb weight: 2297kg; Engine: V8, 4134cc, turbodiesel; Power: 335bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 590lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd auto