What is it?
Volkswagen’s recently facelifted flagship 4x4, with its intriguing 10-cylinder turbodiesel engine.
VW facelifted the Touareg back in March and, as part of that update, replaced some 2300 individual parts. Among the new parts were the new VW corporate chrome grille, new door mirrors, new headlights, new leather upholstery, reshaped front seats and a redesigned instrument binnacle.
The main event with this particular 4x4, though, is still its mildly comic-sounding V10 diesel engine, which produces 309bhp at 3750rpm and an indecent 550lb ft of torque at 2000rpm.
There are only 12 cars currently on sale in UK that develop more pulling power than that; five of them are made by Mercedes-Benz and Maybach, two by Audi, two by Bentley, one by Bristol, one by Koenigsegg and a little known one by, err, Bugatti. With one exception, they cost at least three times as much as a Touareg V10.
So, four years after it first appeared, VW’s big daddy 4x4 still has a raison d’etre; it still offers you more tractive power-per-pound-spent than any other car on the road. Almost.
What’s it like
Big, gruff, and surprisingly brisk – but only up to a point.
First things first, behold the harbinger of all that urge. It’s a Touareg, sure, and looks much like the five-pot oil-burning models you see every day at the school gates. Some special styling touches set this one apart though; sporty bumpers front and rear, side skirts, a rear roof spoiler and 18in alloy wheels.
Inside, there’s piano black trim, some big, comfortable leather chairs, and a basic cabin layout that will be familiar to anyone who’s driven a Porsche Cayenne, VW Phaeton or Bentley Continental GT, but none the worse for the comparison.
Stir the sleeping behemoth under the bonnet into life, and it quickly adopts a tappety, chugging idle. The Touareg V10’s engine sounds very much like a marine diesel, in fact; all that’s missing is the swoosh of propellers and the bubble of churned up water. It all seems very incongruous from a brand-new, £60k SUV.