VW Touareg V10 TDI SE Inverness

Not only did it have an exotic V10 layout, but it was the most powerful production diesel in the world at the time. Audi’s V12 Q7 TDI has since overtaken it, yet the Volkswagen SUV is still worthy of a place in our line-up.

Highland Car Crushers
01463 236265
3-5 Carsegate Road North
Inverness

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Corrie Motors
01463 226000
52 Harbour Road
Inverness

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Charter Flights Ltd
01463 230430
66 Harbour Road
Inverness

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Dicksons Of Inverness Ltd
01463 712800
28-34 Carsegate Road
Inverness

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Donald Mackenzie Ltd
01463 235777
62 Seafield Road
Inverness

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Calterdon Ltd
01463 236566
Harbour Road
Inverness

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Arnold Clark Automobiles Ltd
01463 230885
46 Harbour Road
Inverness

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Top Car
01463 713880
1 Harbour Road
Inverness

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Alistair Macpherson
01463 714448
21 Seafield Road
Inverness

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Highland Audi
01463 232255
35 Harbour Road
Inverness

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VW Touareg V10 TDI SE

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Bring together a diverse line-up of today’s most prominent 300bhp vehicles, and you’d expect to find a diesel. The acceptance of performance oil-burners is now widespread, yet the Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI caused quite a stir when it went on sale back in 2003.

Not only did it have an exotic V10 layout, but it was the most powerful production diesel in the world at the time. Audi’s V12 Q7 TDI has since overtaken it, yet the Volkswagen SUV is still worthy of a place in our line-up.

With 309bhp and 553Nm of torque, it has serious pulling power. Not that it shows off: unlike its more powerful and sporty R50 stablemate, our SE looks much like any other Touareg. Styling wise, though, the VW is showing its age, despite a mid-life update in 2006. It’s a similar story inside, with a dated dash and cabin, and while the car is well put together and gives a lofty view ahead, turn the key and engine refinement is a bit of a disappointment. The V10 takes its time to warm, and even when up to temperature it has a distinct diesel hum at idle. Under acceleration there’s a turbine-like roar, too, so it’s just as well that the unit backs this up with strong performance.

Although the big off-roader sprinted from 0-60mph in 7.6 seconds, in this group only the tractor and motorhome were slower! With an enormous amount of torque and four-wheel-drive transmission, the VW makes light work of its two-and-half-tonne weight, and it delivers plenty of in-gear punch on the move.

Unfortunately, it can’t match the linear throttle response of the Lexus, and its six-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox takes a while to kick down. Dynamically, the Touareg is beginning to feel its age.

Despite continuous damper control and air-suspension, the chassis fidgets over rough surfaces and doesn’t iron out undulations as well as more modern SUV rivals. A soft brake pedal and light steering that lacks feedback also limit driver appeal. With permanent 4WD, an electronic differential lock, hill-hold function and low- range gears, the VW doesn’t quite rival the John Deere in the mud, but it does have decent off-road ability. An optional £460 tow bar, the standard self-levelling air-suspension and plentiful torque also make it an accomplished tow vehicle.

This all comes at a price, though. In SE trim, the V10 TDI costs £55,170, and our car’s tinted glass, roof rails and 20-inch wheels are optional extras. Emissions of 315g/km mean it isn’t the cleanest SUV around, but it’s arguably a more low-key way of joining the 300bhp club than most
of the other cars in this test.

In detail:

VW Touareg V10 TDI SE