What is it?
The new range-topping Touareg indirectly replaces the short-lived Touareg V8 TDI – a car that was never officially offered for sale in the UK – becoming the first model in Volkswagen’s flagship SUV line-up to wear the R badge since the memorable 345bhp twin-turbocharged 5.0-litre V10 diesel-powered Touareg R50 was launched in 2007.
It’s not an exclusive Volkswagen R development, though.
The new Touareg R’s petrol-electric driveline is the same as that used in a number of upmarket Volkswagen Group models, including the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid, Audi Q7 TFSIe quattro and Bentley Bentayga Hybrid, albeit with some small tweaks aimed at providing the car with its own unique character.
Power comes from a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine developing 335bhp and 332lb ft of torque as well as an electric motor with 134bhp and 295lb ft. Together, they provide a combined system output of 456bhp and 516lb ft.
This is 80bhp and 74lb ft more than the same driveline develops in the altogether milder Touareg eHybrid, which is planned to see UK deliveries at the same time as the Touareg R by the end of 2020.
Drive is sent through a standard eight-speed torque-converter-equipped automatic gearbox with Tiptronic manual shifting capability via steering wheel mounted paddles and a Torsen torque-sensing four-wheel drive system engineered by Audi. The latter is capable of transferring up to 70% of drive to the front wheels or alternatively 80% to the rear wheels depending on prevailing traction.
Energy for the electric motor is supplied by a 14.3kWh lithium ion battery mounted beneath the boot floor. It can be charged either on the run using part of the combustion engine as a generator or via a plug at up to 7.2kW on an AC system, at which Volkswagen claims a charge time of two and a half hours.