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850Nm VW blasts into SA

2008-11-19 12:44
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Volkswagen
Model Touareg R50
Engine 5L, twin-turbodiesel V10
Power 258kW @ 3 500r/min
Torque 850Nm @ 2 000r/min
Transmission Six-speed auto
Zero To Hundred 6.7 seconds
Top Speed 235km/h
Fuel Tank 100l
Fuel Consumption 12.6l
Front Suspension Independent double-wishbone
Rear Suspension Independent double-wishbone
Service Intervals 15 000km
Warranty 3 year/120 000km
Price R899 500
Rivals Q7 TDI
Need to tow your house? Audi’s Q7 4.2 TDI too hideous for you? How about a VW Touareg R50 then?

Audi Q7 4.2 TDI – with its 4.2l, 760Nm V8 turbodiesel engine – has caused quite a stir in the local SUV market. Besides being adorned with astonishingly unpractical (though gorgeous) 20-inch alloy wheels, and of questionable styling aesthetic, the Q7 is a powerhouse SUV.

When the Touareg range was launched in 2003, its 5l, turbodiesel V10 set a nearly unfathomable standard for SUV torque delivery, 750Nm, an almighty, supercar humbling number. Being bested by 10Nm (Audi's Q7 TDI makes 760Nm) has obviously proved palpably unacceptable to VW engineers.

Ten beats eight every time

Boasting an 800cc swept capacity advantage – thanks to two extra cylinders no less – VW engineers dabbled in a bit of ECU black magic and turbocharger refining to usher in a new torque peak of 850Nm at 2 000r/min.

Backed up by 258kW of power at higher engine speeds, the VW Touareg R50, despite weighing 2.6tons, is an unwittingly quick diesel powered SUV.

VW claims a 6.7 second 0-100km/h sprint time, top speed of 235km/h and average consumption around 12.6l/100km if you drive like an environmentalist, and use the kind of low-sulphur diesel South African refineries seem incapable of producing.

With its 235km/h top speed cruising potential the 295/35 tyres are hardly a surprise, rolling on a set of 21-inch multi-spoke alloys they all but erode any off-road ability the R50 might have had thanks to its air-suspension, central diff-lock or low-range transfer case.

The R50 features a sport chassis as standard, which means default ride height is always 20mm lower than comparable Touareg models; ground clearance is 280mm instead of 300mm on the standard V10 TDI.

Looks the part

Styling embellishments are particularly fetching, contrasting especially well with the standard ‘Biscay Blue’ colour scheme, which has become VW’s performance model distinguishing colour of choice in recent years.

The ‘R’ package body Tupperware includes a roof-mounted spoiler, wheel arch extensions and plenty of matt chrome inserts around the grille. Around the back the twin oval exhaust and diffuser leave you in no doubt: this is an autobahn stormer, not an Andes mountain climber.

To ensure you know where all you money went the interior is embellished with ‘R’ logos on the sumptuous Nappa leather sports seats, kick plates and even the pedals.

Standard kit includes first and second row (outer) heated seats, keyless entry, four-zone climate control, sunroof and adaptive Xenon headlights. Bizarrely, a powered rear tailgate is optional (R1 150), yet VW has added ‘decorative engine spin inserts’ to V10’s engine bay…

So, if you have R899 500, and want turbodiesel SUV performance bragging rights for the moment, the R50 is it – until the Q7 V12 TDI comes around…


VW Touareg R50 R899 500



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