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Do you enjoy watching the Dakar Rally? If so, then you probably have day dreamed about driving those awesome off-road racers to the mall or to work. Only problem is, while these racers have minor details like the shape of the headlights and names in common with models you’d find in showrooms, technically, they’re completely different.
Take the Volkswagen Touareg for example. The one that races in the Dakar Rally has little in common with the one you’ll find in the showrooms. That, however, could change if they decide to put the Race Touareg 3 concept into production.
Unveiled at the Qatar Motor Show, this concept marries the madness of the rally machine with some civility from the road going version. Thankfully it is more like the rally car than the normal showroom model.
Not only does it look like the racer that just won the 2011 Dakar rally, but it has the same powertrain also. So you get the same 2.5-liter turbo-diesel engine that produces 296-hp and a whopping 442 lb ft of torque. Power is sent to all wheels via a 5-speed sequential gearbox that has a three-plate ceramic clutch and three limited slip differentials. In other words, this vehicle doesn’t even know the meaning of getting stuck.
It’s quick too, 0-60 mph takes just 6.1 seconds and tops out at 117 mph (due to those large dune bashing tires, otherwise it would have been even faster).
While the cockpit of the race versions have no interior trimming whatsoever, the Race Touareg 3 concept has a fully finished, well appointed interior.
And now the bad news, this awesome concept is just a concept. There are no production plans yet, but if everyone bugs VW enough, they could put it into limited production. Hey, these things have happened before. So if you would like to park one of these on your driveway, tell those Germans at VW to make one for you and your friends.
Watch out Ford Raptor.
Volkswagen may be looking to offer a rear-drive version of the Touareg SUV. This news comes from a report by French publication L’Automobile, citing an unnamed member of the Touareg engineering team and comes not long after the world premiere at the Geneva Auto Show.
The reason for the two-wheel drive option would he to improve fuel economy, both through reducing the number of wheels being powered, as well as cutting weight from the vehicle. Not only that, a two-wheel drive Touareg would also be less expensive – something that would no-doubt help sales of the SUV in a segment that continues to shrink as most automakers switch to crossovers.
What’s particularly interesting, however, is the rear-drive option, with most SUVs and crossovers offering AWD or FWD layouts – the front-drive setup delivering superior poor-weather traction (to RWD) and better fuel economy.
VW claims new Touareg can "conquer any terrain on Earth"
Ahead of its official debut at the Geneva Auto Show in early March, Volkswagen has decided to show-off its all-new 2011 Touareg SUV. Well, to be more specific, VW has decided to show us the new Touareg in Hybrid trim. That’s right, a hybrid second-generation Touareg, complete with a supercharged and direct-injection 3.0-liter V6, electric motor and eight-speed automatic transmission. The result is a combined fuel economy rating of 28.6 mpg in the EU cycle, which is likely to be more like 24-mpg combined for the U.S. That’s good, but not as impressive as you might think, when compared to the current TDI model with a rating of almost 32 mpg. Other engines offered include a 3.6-liter V6, as well as a 335-hp 4.2-liter TDI V8 (which won’t be available in North America).
Expect big gains in fuel economy across the vehicle range due to the 8-speed tranny as well as a vastly lighter overall weight (by 460 lbs). VW says the new SUV is 20 percent more efficient than the outgoing model.
As for style, we’re not sure if all the models (or just the hybrid) will have as low-slung a body, but we hope so. The SUV now looks considerably more crossover-like, with a sporty style that includes the two-bar grille found on the current Golf.
And while it may look like a crossover, the Touareg remains an SUV with true off-road capability. Gasoline models get VW’s 4MOTION system with all-wheel drive, a Torsen limited-slip differential and an off-road driving program that increases the threshold for ABS, EDS and ASR, while activating Hill Descent Assist and adjusting the transmission shift points. The V6 TDI can be had with an optional Terrain Tech Packet with a more rugged transfer case, as well as reduction gearing and both center and rear locking differentials. Like the first-generation model, the new Touareg has a rotary switch to control the different off-road settings. The five modes include: On-Road; Off-Road; Low, which includes off-road plus reduced gearing, higher shift points and no automatic upshift in manual mode; The addition of the center differential lock; and finally the addition of the rear differential lock. VW makes the rather (and almost absurd) claim that this AWD system allows the new Touareg to, “conquer any terrain on Earth.”
We’re not sure about that, but it sounds like a capable machine and certainly looks a lot better.
We’ll be sure to bring you more on the all-new Touareg with live coverage of the Geneva Auto Show starting March 1st.
GALLERY: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid
Official release after the jump:
Hybrid model expected to be one of the initial engine options
With a facelift back in 2008, the all-new “third-generation” Volkswagen Touareg is set to debut at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The new SUV is expected to go on sale mid way through 2010, with a variety of powerplants being offered – including a hybrid.
This will be the first gas-electric hybrid from Volkswagen has launched. There’s no official word on the makeup of the hybrid setup, but it is expected to use the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 from the Audi S4/A6 3.0T – just like the one found in the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid. It should get an average fuel economy rating of 26 mpg.