Euro-spec Volkswagen Touareg V8 diesel specification and pricing
The sign on the Autobahn read, “Berlin 224 km.”
“We'll be there in an hour,” I said.
This was entirely possible. We were driving a 150-mph, 335-hp Volkswagen Touareg turbo-diesel V8. It ruled the left lane. Lesser cars saw it pop up over the horizon in their tiny rear view mirrors and, knowing that in seconds it would be upon them, scurried like sand crabs for the safety of the far right lane. Normally that lane would be packed with lumbering trucks full of Polish bathtubs and cheap furniture from Denmark. But this was a weekend, and trucks weren't allowed on the autobahn, so we had it almost all to ourselves, just the rolling pavement, the 20-inch tires and the smooth, silent power and torque of the V8, quietly obliterating kilometers like a calm and patient Norse god from some Wagnerian opera.
You already know the Touareg diesel, of course. It's available in the US but only as a V6. The V6 is nice, there's a 3.6-liter, 3.0-liter TDI and a 3.0-liter hybrid. There's even an R model with a stiffer suspension for better cornering. They do the job stopping-and-going through city traffic. But the U.S. V6 line maxes out at 333 hp and 428 lb ft for the hybrid model. While peak horsepower is close, the V8 turbo diesel has 162 more pound feet of torque, and that makes a heck of a difference on die autobahn.
This car is a mighty and powerful 4.1 liters of turbo-diesel direct injection. What's the difference, you ask? In this rig I was able to cruise comfortably as close to the SUV's top speed as I could get given the sparse traffic and occasional downpours. Top speed I saw was 146 mph. It would cruise with supreme confidence at that rate for long, luxurious stretches of road. No one passed me. The Touareg was unruffled by crosswinds, solid as a German worker's pension.
Where in America would you ever be able to cruise that fast all day and not get arrested? That's right, nowhere, which is one of the reasons VW doesn't offer this car in America. The other reason is cost efficiency. VW wouldn't be able to sell enough of them to justify converting them to our extremely tight Federal standards, standards that assume no one's wearing a seatbelt and that everyone is texting and driving drunk (don't get me started on the whole international government standards subject).
I once got to drive a V10-powered diesel Phaeton on das Autobahn, too. That was a similarly enjoyable and almost transcendental experience.
Why can't we have fun things? Rear impact standards, side impact standards, extreme offset front collision standards, whacking-a-pedestrian standards, the list goes on and on. Of course, the list makes no sense. Why is a car safe in Germany and then suddenly unsafe once it rolls off the dock in dem oo-ess-ahh? Can't we all assume that a clean, safe car in Germany is a clean, safe car in America? Can't we all assume that the average Jurgen is the same shape and squishiness as the average Joe? Imagine a world where we could have had Porsche 959s, Polos, Lupos, T6 vans, T7 vans, not to mention Nissan R32s, Peugeot C&Cs, Mazda Bongo Friendees and Renault Kangoos. Are American safety and emission standards really that good? Or are they just different? Are bureaucrats just protecting their jobs into infinity? Is each country artificially protecting its market share? Is there a big, fat conspiracy out there that is keeping you from being able to buy a V8 diesel Touareg if you happen to want one?
Aw who knows? But every time I go to Europe I wonder the same thing: how can the European standards be so irreconcilably different from our own? Why can't VW just roll a bunch of these onto the boats with all the other cars? I think people would buy this, or a Sharan, up! or heaven forbid, a Scirocco? Somebody write your congressman, will ya?
On Sale: Not in the US
Base Price: 74,550 Euros
As-Tested Price: 79,150 Euros
Powertrain: 4.1-liter turbocharged common rail diesel V8; AWD, eight-speed Tiptronic automatic
Output: 335 SAE hp at 4000 rpm, 590 SAE lb ft from 1750 to 2750 rpm
Curb Weight: 5064 lb European spec
0-62 mph: 5.8 sec (mfr)
Fuel Economy: 20.7 mpg (AW)
Top Speed: 150 mph (146 mph observed)
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