I've said it before, and I'll say it again: electrification. Electric motors not only produce zero tailpipe emissions, but they also spin out extra power and torque. For speed freaks, that's totally a good thing.
At Volkswagen, the time has come to introduce this way of thinking to its performance vehicles, and the latest R is the poster child. Revealed on Tuesday ahead of its debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, the SUV includes not just the turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, but a single electric motor. Together, there's 455 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque on tap. VW said 134 hp comes from the e-motor alone.
Sending energy to the e-motor is a 14.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, but we don't know how far it'll take the Touareg R on electricity alone. VW's saving the detail for the auto show debut, though it should be a reasonable amount. In the announcement, the German brand said the performance SUV should cover "most commuter distances" on pure electric power.
Putting a spotlight on zero emissions is the E-Mode, which is the default mode after firing the Touareg R up, as long as the battery has a sufficient charge, and without any help from the engine, drivers can reach speeds of 87 mph. With both the engine and e-motor working as a team, VW said the SUV will top out at 155 mph. Rounding out the powertrain specs are an eight-speed automatic transmission and VW's all-wheel drive system.
If a hybrid drive style suits you best, all of the configurations are controllable via a hybrid menu. Of course, once the battery's depleted, the Touareg R will work as a traditional hybrid by default. In other words, for those not familiar with plug-in hybrids, don't expect any purely electric driving after the battery runs out of charge.
VW was light on other details, but the Touareg R shown here boasts a "Black Style" exterior package and rides on 20-inch wheels. Larger 21-inch wheels will be optional. As for the cabin, it looks like a mighty fine place to spend time in with the latest digital cockpit onboard.
We'll have full details on the performance SUV when VW shows it to the world for the first time next week. And no, it's not coming to the US.
Originally published Feb. 25.