New 2021 Volkswagen Touareg R plug-in hybrid: prices, specs and on-sale date

The 456bhp, £71,995 Touareg is Volkswagen’s first plug-in hybrid ‘R’ model, featuring technology from the Bentley Bentayga

VW Touareg R

UK order books are now open for the new Volkswagen Touareg R, which is priced from £71,995. A high-performance plug-in hybrid SUV, the car lifts its electrified powertrain from the Bentley Bentayga. It's VW’s first R-badged plug-in hybrid, setting a precedent for what’s to come from the high-performance sub-brand.

It employs a 335bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine paired with a 134bhp electric motor to produce 456bhp and 700Nm of torque – enough for a 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds despite the car's considerable bulk. The 'TSI eHybrid' drivetrain promises fuel economy of 94.2mpg, CO2 emissions of 67g/km and up to 28 miles of electric running.

While impressive for such a large and high-performance model, those numbers aren't enough to get it into the lower reaches of the company-car tax table; it falls into the 17% band during the 2021/22 tax year. Maximum charging speed is 7.2kW, for a full top-up of the battery in two-and-a-half hours.

Volkswagen says the Touareg R can run in pure-electric mode at up to 87mph. Hybrid mode combines petrol and electric power as the system sees fit, while the driver also has the option to hold the remaining charge, or boost it via the petrol engine. In addition, the usual Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual drive modes are offered. If the optional off-road package is specified, Gravel and Sand profiles are also included.

Recognisable by its Golf R-inspired Lapiz Blue paint, the Touareg R also gets a bespoke bodykit, body-coloured bumpers, black detailing and darkened light clusters. A set of 20-inch wheels feature as standard, while the firm’s new ‘R’ branding can be seen front and rear.

The dark theme continues inside where the flagship Touareg gets special trim, plus Puglia leather with R logos on the headrests. On the technology front, it boasts VW’s 12-inch digital dials, a 15-inch infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, six USB ports, matrix LED lights and four-zone climate control, as well as illuminated treadplates and stainless-steel pedals.

Also standard are diamond-quilted seats with contrasting blue stitching and piping, as well as active heating and ventilation functions in the front. A heated leather sports steering wheel and 30-colour interior ambient lighting, plus keyless locking and starting, are also standard, along with air suspension and a panoramic sunroof.

As is often the case, VW will offer a plethora of options, including the 'Driver Assistance Pack Plus', which incorporates front cross-traffic alerts, predictive pedestrian protection and 'Travel Assist'. The latter is a camera and sensor-controlled system that can steer, brake and accelerate the car, providing 'Level 2' automated driving at up to 155 mph. Other optional features include a head-up display, night vision and a power-folding tow bar – the Touareg R is rated to tow up to 3,500kg.