The Volkswagen Touareg has been launched on our shores and, with a choice of three engines, should make quite an impact here.

The Volkswagen Touareg has been launched on our shores and available in a choice of three engines, should make quite an impact here.

It is available with the R5 2,5TDI, a 4,2-litre V8 and the range-topping 5,0-litre V10TDI.

The fiery 5,0-litre V10TDI produces 230kW at 3 750 r/min and 750N.m at 2 000 r/min. Power is transmitted to the wheels via a new six-speed Tiptronic gearbox fitted with a sport option for rapid acceleration. Zero to 100km/h is covered in 7,8 seconds and the top speed is electronically governed to 225km/h.

Next in line is the less powerful, but equally imposing 4,2-litre V8 powered derivative. Power and torque outputs are 228kW at 6 200 r/min and 410N.m at 3 000r/min respectively . Top speed is 218km/h, with the zero to 100km/h sprint coming up in a fraction over eight seconds.

Lastly, there’s the R5 TDI, the only Touareg available with manual or Tiptronic transmission. Producing 128kW and 400N.m of torque, the five-cylinder is definitely nothing to ridicule. It zips from zero to 100km/h in 12,4 seconds for the six-speed manual, and 12,9 seconds for the six-speed Tiptronic versions. Top speeds are 184km/h and 179km/h respectively and fuel consumption at 9,9 litres per 100km.

However, the highly athletic aspirations of the Touareg should not belie its off-road capabilities. It is, after all, a 4X4...

For a start, permanent 4XMOTION four-wheel drive is standard across the range. Assisted by ABS, ESP, EDL (for off-road driving), brake assist and a tyre pressure control system, the Touareg should hold its own, both on and off the road.

A transfer gearbox with a centre differential, comes with a manually operated low range, that transfers powers to the drive wheel or wheels. Under normal driving conditions, the power split is 50-50 between the front and rear axles, but once the wheels lose traction, the centre differential will increase the power to the relevant axle to provide more grip.

Its ground clearance is quite generous, thanks to the CDC (Continuous Damping Control) air suspension. This system has a double wishbone suspension with aluminium upper links and steel lower links on the front axle. The rear suspension uses the same design and materials, but the upper links are made of forged aluminium.

The normal ground clearance of a Touareg is 237mm, but with the air suspension fitted (standard on the V10), this can be raised to 300mm. At speeds of 180km/h and over, the suspension is lowered to a ground clearance of 180mm.

Where safety is concerned, the Touareg is right up there, offering front, side and curtain airbags airbags as well as three-point inertia belts with pretensioners as standard.

Standard too are heated front leather seats, lockable wheel bolts and towing protection.

Options include a satellite navigation system, air suspension, xenon headlights, electric sunroof and park distance control , amongst others.

Service intervals are at 15 000km, but an oil change is needed every 7 500km for the diesel derivative. A three-year / 120 000km warranty and a five-year / 100 000km AutoMotion (maintenance) Plan are available.

Prices start at R454 700 for the manual R5 2.5 TDI and R467 000 for the Tiptronic version. The 4,2-litre V8 sells for R553 500 and the brutal 5-litre V10 for R690 000.

Original article from Car