Volkswagen is electrifying in a product offensive targeting the entire range.

The latest example is the brand’s flagship model – the exclusive Touareg R, with a new V6 plug-in hybrid drive. Volkswagen describes this big blue flagship SUV as a “paradigm shift”.

Rhapsody Magazine tested the new Touareg R, the most powerful model of the brand, with a system power of 340 kW, and a distinctly sporty setup and equipment. Touareg R has a high level of efficiency combined with outstanding all-round characteristics and equipments.

Touareg R, the first-ever plug-in hybrid model to come from the German carmaker’s performance sub-brand, stands out thanks to a dynamic and elegant design, maximum safety, comfort, state-of-the-art connectivity, and a largely digitalised cockpit.

It looks so good in this bright-blue exterior color (the Lapiz Blue Metallic paint), created exclusively for it, and the interior appears luxurious, with its large display screens and leather upholstery.

Among its unique styling touches is a new front bumper, a blackened grille with R logo, blackened front air ducts, black exterior mirror housings, blackened sills and darkened tail-lamp lenses and trapezoidal-shaped chromed tailpipes

One of the most modern SUV’s in the world, can be driven emission free on short journeys, and with great efficiency on long journeys. This is because the battery is permanently recharged by recovering energy while braking.

When route guidance is active in the navigation system, Touareg R is using a predictive hybrid strategy, with the purpose to realise economical consumption for long and medium trips.

The car has also the travel assist system, and the SUV takes over both longitudinal and lateral guidance.

The R does not just react to vehicles driving ahead, but also to speed restrictions and the course of the road.

Plus, it’s fitted as standard with Matrix LED headlights. It also comes with Night Vision, which detects people and animals in the dark using a thermal imaging camera.

The SUV comes with something called ‘Trailer Assist’ feature. Press the ‘Park Assist’ button once astride your chosen space, and you’ll get guidance on steering angle on how to reverse your trailer correctly. However, the most appealing feature is that can be autonomously driven in and out of a parking space, with the new Park Assist with remote control, using a smartphone app.

One of the new features in the Touareg is the optionally available Travel Assist. Until now, this system has made assisted driving possible up to a speed of 210 km/h. But for the first time, on German motorways this assistance is available up to a speed of 250 km/h. Travel Assist relies on systems including ACC Adaptive Cruise Control (longitudinal guidance) and Lane Assist lane keeping system (lateral guidance).

Travel Assist is activated using the new multifunction steering wheel. For legal and safety-relevant reasons, drivers must permanently monitor the system – meaning they must have at least one hand on the steering wheel. Thanks to new capacitive sensor technology in the Touareg’s steering wheel, drivers need merely to touch it.

Underneath there is a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine developing 250kW and 450Nm of torque, as well as an electric motor housed within the gearbox with 100kW and 400Nm. Together, they provide a total system output of 340kW and a generous 700Nm.

The batery can be charged either on the run using the combustion engine as a generator or via plug-in means at up to 7.2kW on an AC wallbox, at which Volkswagen claims a charge time of 2.5 hours.

Assuming the battery is charged, the Touareg R should always starts off in ‘E-Mode’. Economy figures are yet to be announced, though Volkswagen points to an electric range of up to 47km on the WLTP test cycle.

The Touareg R can speed up to 140km/h in EV mode, before the petrol engine kicks in. In its default electric mode, it is supremely quiet and smooth in operation with strong step-off qualities thanks to the instant torque delivered by its electric motor.

At typical motorway speeds, the Touareg R feels quite responsive with strong torque qualities that give it outstanding flexibility and the sort of in-gear acceleration.

It goes 0–100km/h in 5.1sec, and the maximum speed of the SUV is electronically regulated at 250 km/h.

Inside, there’s a display that tells you how much battery charge is left, and the ability to set the car to charge to a particular level, too.

When the battery charge runs low, it is possible to charge it to a preset level by using the combustion engine as a generator in Eco mode. At the same time, the energy regeneration is also increased, providing an added braking effect when you step off the accelerator along with the usual coasting function, which idles the engine on periods of trailing throttle.

Actual driving modes include Eco, Comfort, Normal and Sport (on-road), and Offroad and Snow for, well, off road and snow.

Inside you get the familiar ‘Innovision Cockpit’ with its massive 15-inch touchscreen that sits in the centre console, and 12-inch digital driver’s instrument cluster. You can view the system’s energy flow via an animation on the screen, just like other PHEVs.

Diamond-quilted leather heated and ventilated seats are a standard item, with the R also getting a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel too. The same pattern of leather for the seats is copied for the door cards, and there’s blue trim piping scattered all over the place. There’s ambient lighting with a choice of 30 colours as well, plus more R branding including on the scuff plates.

Air suspension with a self-levelling function is included in the price, plus there’s a 360-degree parking camera to help you put this behemoth into spaces easily.

Four-zone climate control comes as standard too, and you’ll get adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assistance and the ability to read road signs and match speed accordingly.

Technical data:

Touareg eHybridTouareg R
Petrol engine / Type3.0 TSI / Turbocharged petrol engine3.0 TSI / Turbocharged petrol engine
V6 TSI: Capacity / Cylinders2,995 cc / V62,995 cc / V6
V6 TSI: max. power output250 kW (340 PS)250 kW (340 PS)
V6 TSI: max. torque450 Nm450 Nm
Electric motor: max. power output, peak100 kW (136 PS)100 kW (136 PS)
Electric motor: max. torque, peak400 Nm400 Nm
Max. system power280 kW (381 PS)340 kW (462 PS)
Max. system torque600 Nm700 Nm
Battery typeLithium-ionLithium-ion
Battery size (net / gross)14.3 kWh / 17.9 kWh14.3 kWh / 17.9 kWh
Charging time AC 2.3 kW8 h8 h
Charging time AC 7.2 kW2.5 h2.5 h
Gearbox8-speed automatic8-speed automatic
Drive systemAll-wheel drive (4MOTION)All-wheel drive (4MOTION)
Combined fuel consumption (NEDC)2,7 l/100km3,0 – 2,8 l/100km
Combined power consumption (NEDC):21,1 kWh/100 km19,9 – 19,5 kWh/100 km
Combined CO2 emissions (NEDC)61 g/km69 – 63 g/km
Efficiency classA+A+
Combined fuel consumption (WLTP)2,6 l/100km2,7 l/100km
Combined power consumption (WLTP):24,2 kWh/100 km24,4 kWh/100 km
Combined CO2 emissions (WLTP)59 g/km62 g/km
Electric range (WLTP)approx. 47 kmapprox. 47 km
Combined range (NEDC)approx. 810 kmapprox. 810 km
All-electric top speed135 km/h135 km/h
Top speed250 km/h250 km/h
0-100 km/h6.3 s5.1 s
Max. length4,878 mm4,878 mm
Max. width1,984 mm1,984 mm
Max. height1,717 mm1,717 mm
Wheelbase2,904 mm2,904 mm
Luggage compartment capacity

665 – 1675 litres

665 – 1675 litres
Kerb weight (DIN) Max weight2,360 kg 3,010 kg2,533 kg 3,010 kg
Max. trailer weight3,500 kg3,500 kg
Tyre size255/55 R 19 (standard)285/45 R 20 (standard)
Equipment version/sAtmosphere and EleganceR