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VW's road-legal desert racer

2011-01-27 08:35

SUPER SUV: It has the technology to do it, but will VW actually give its road-going Race Touareg 3 concept a production future?

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer VW
Model Race Touareg 3 concept
Engine 2.5l turbodiesel
Power 228kW
Torque 600Nm
Transmission Five-speed auto
Zero To Hundred 5.9 sec
What is the point of running a highly successful racing team if your victories can’t be translated into sales?

VW’s motorsport overachievers, the company’s all conquering Dakar Rally Touareg team, have been asking themselves this question for a while.

Now they’ve (finally) happened upon an answer, a possible way of translating the brand’s (substantial) Dakar racing success into a marketable model extension for Touareg SUV range.


Revealed at the Qatar auto show, the SUV in question is a road-legal version of VW's Dakar-winning Touareg racer.

Although rather unoriginally called the Race Touareg 3 Qatar concept, the technology it contains offers a compelling alternative to the usual SUV fare.

The Race 3 is based on VW’s full-competition Touaregs and, unlike many other outlandish concept cars that tease and tantalise despite having no production future whatsoever, this Race Touareg 3 is built from an existing parts bin...

Using the same spaceframe chassis and dressed up in two-door composite bodywork, the Race Touareg 3 retains many styling features from its desert-raiding race siblings, among them a large aperture roof air-intake duct, side louvre intakes ahead of the front wheels and an ornate rear spoiler.

The Race Touareg 3 concept’s distinguishing feature, setting it apart from its Dakar racing counterparts, are those 18" rims, far larger in diameter than the 16" BBS alloys used on the Dakar racing Touaregs.

INDUSTIAL DESIGN GENIUS: The configuration of an endurance off-road racer meets the craftsmanship of a limited edition design study – the result is a stunning cabin…

In the cabin, VW aimed to recreate an aircraft-inspired "stealth look" environment. It has Recaro bucket seats similar to those used in the Dakar with textured trim in leather and carbon.

Overall, it's one of the most striking SUV interiors you're likely to see, with the original race cockpit design architecture perfectly converted into a more comfortable road-car ergonomic environment.


The Race Touareg 3 concept has a 228kW version of the 2.5-litre, five-cylinder turbodiesel engine that has powered VW’s competition SUV's to three Dakar victories. Thanks to a torque peak of 600Nm, it should climb just about any incline imagineable.

Drive is apportioned between all four wheels via a five-speed transmission, with three limited-slip differentials (front, centre,rear) ensuring unmatched traction security at speed.

The Qatar auto show concept car also features a similar all-round double-wishbone suspension set-up to VW’s competition Touaregs, with 250mm of individual wheel travel courtesy of dual long-travel shocks and springs. Suffice to say, it should be awesomely capable across broken terrain.

Capable of a 0-100km/h benchmark sprint time of only 5.9sec, the Race Touareg 3 concept could become the ultimate licensed and legal on/off-road SUV toy. 

VW says it could easily produce the aluminium tooling required to fashion the car’s interior if the project got the go-ahead for (very limited) production; all other bits are all from the racing Touaregs, which means VW could easily build it in production form.

With Qatar's Nasser al-Attiyah having won the 2011 Dakar rally, and therefore becoming the Middle East's most prominent motorsport star in decades, VW would be keen to seize the profit oppurtunity of producing a limited edition (and very expensive) road-legal Touareg racer, something which would definetly sell well in the Middle-East...

Enthusiasts live in hope.


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