The 2012 Volkswagen Touareg V8 R line now looks muscular enough and promises sporty driving feel to take on the likes of the BMW X5. An industry first 8 speed gearbox for an SUV has been added to tame the fuel economy. So how does this, shall we say baby Cayenne, shape up in the real world?
Our tester came in the same brown color as the Mercedes ML63 AMG we had tested earlier and this color certainly compliments the more aggressive and the lowered stance of the new Touareg. The revised shape came up last year and Volkswagen has done a formidable job in maintaining the essence of the Touareg’s design while incorporating a new urban design theme. The roundness in previous design is gone and now what we see is a straighter edged lines which visually highlights the dimensions of the SUV. The 2012 Touareg is broader, longer and sits closer to the ground. Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen’s design head, incorporated the new Volkswagen Design DNA which in VW speak “aims for sustainable visual effect, timeless styling and showing dynamic proportions and presence”. Yes this is all marketing talk but it works, the 2012 Touareg is one of the more visually stunning SUV’s out there and our tester bearing the R Line’s beefier front end, side skirts and Scirocco R inspired dual exhausts is as striking as it gets.
The R Line carries the sport theme inside the vehicle with a tastefully done up interior. We could have written many paragraphs about it but that would not have done justice. It’s the pictures that really says a thousand words and our gallery is dedicated to such. The bucket seats and the leather grip of the steering wheel conveys the DNA of this Touareg’s design and mechanical philosophy. The rear leg space is increased by 41mm thanks to the increase in wheelbase of almost 30cm.
The 2012 Touareg V8 R Line comes with a power-plant producing 360HP at 6800rpm and sprints to 100kmph in 7.2 seconds. While its not awe inspiring performance, it is more than enough for the roads of Dubai, especially when approaching round-abouts and the occasional sprint on Al Khail Road. The sporty suspension in the R Line lives up to its name and switching the SUV’s direction is performed with minimum body roll. The 2012 Touareg is lighter than the 2010 model which helps but the sport suspension is tighter and clamps down on the body rolls just the same. SUV’s these days have started to feel more like sport hatch backs but with a lot of room to carry one’s loved ones in comfort. The ride was butter smooth which is not what one expects from a sport suspension but this one was just plush.
There are three driving programmes (Standard / Comfort and Dynbamic) to choose from. The feel of the first two are the same, though in the comfort mode the suspension dampening is slightly higher. Speed breakers in Dubai are notorious, they tend to pop out everywhere and having the Touareg in Comfort mode helps out. The Dynamic setting was rather special as the 8 speed gearbox forgot about the last 2 overdrive gears and kept the SUV always within its power band. Needless to say we kept the dials at Dynamic for our test. It also accentuated the exhaust note which, though not quite as deep as the Scirocco R’s, was subtle while still being loud enough to remind us that we were driving an R Line.
The 2012 Volkswagen Touareg R Line is a great urban SUV. It also comes with a tow hook which is electrically operated from the trunk and will lock back up when not required. A feature we hope that all the other SUV’s would include soon. The rear bed squats a few inches and helps us when we have to put luggage into the car.
These small features have been carefully integrated into the Touareg to make life that little bit easier. The steering is over-assisted and allows for very easy parking into the tightest places. Volkswagen need to pat themselves on their back for building what the world acknowledges to be an extremely rounded family SUV.
|TOUAREG V8 “R LINE”|
|Rated Output||265 kW (360 hp) at 6800 rpm|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||8 speed automatic gearbox|
|Fuel Consumption, combined, L/100km||12.1|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||7.2 s|
|Top speed||250 km/h*|
|Price (AED)||234,000 – 295,000 (As tested)|
Images by Brian Donegan