With all due respect to Stanford University's race-winning robotic Touareg, this is the real VW desert racer. A revised version of the Race Touareg that won the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, The Touareg 2 has been developed with the express purpose of winning the 2006 edition  of the world's toughest cross-country competition - the Dakar Rally.

Details after the jump.

The completely redesigned Touareg will debut at the Portalegre Rally in Portugal later this month. The new version features a longer wheelbase for greater high-speed stability, but dramatically shorter overhangs make the overall length shorter than before and improve  mobility in rough terrain.

The tubular space frame chassis supports a double a-arm suspension on all four corners, unchanged in its basic design from the previous version, but with new-design uprights and new shock absorbers. The 5 cylinder TDI remains, but with a new, two-stage turbocharger system. A small, high-pressure turbo provides responsive low speed boost, while a larger, low-pressure turbo kicks in at higher rpm. The switchover between the two turbos is handled by a load-dependent exhaust valve.

VW will enter five teams in the 2006 Dakar Rally, which starts in Lisbon on December 31. Two of the teams feature the Dakar debuts of WRC legend Carlos Sainz and American Mark Miller.

[Source: Volkswagen Motorsports]

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