Volkswagen Touareg TDI – Click above for high-res image gallery The way Volkswagen talks up the $42,800 Touareg V6 TDI, you'd almost think it was the ninja of SUVs: a single package with so many highly developed capabilities that its gas-engined foes are annihilated and left on the side of the road with ninja shuriken lodged in their tailgates before they even realize they've been outdone. The engine alone promises reduced fuel consumption, fewer emissions, more power, more torque, better responsiveness and quiet progress. The only questions then are: Does it deliver and will anyone buy it? We took it for a spin to find out. Follow the jump for the story. %Gallery-43147% Photos Copyright ©2009 Jonathon Ramsey / Weblogs, Inc. The diesel Touareg is essentially unchanged from the gas Touareg, so the sole story here is the engine. Volkswagen has done a Manhattan Project on its oil burner, going over everything that could make it more appealing to customers. It's a three-horse race in the non-gasoline powerplant derby, and diesels, hybrids and electric vehicles are fighting for share. VW and Audi have thrown their bets on the filly called Oil Burner, and the next couple of years will inform us whether it can win more than 5% of the market. To the engine, then. Sounding like something they got from the lab that created Wolverine, the compact engine block with a 90-degree V angle is made of high-strength vermicular graphite iron. Being 15% lighter than cast iron and not even 1.5 feet long, it has been fitted with aluminum alloy cylinder heads and weights 498.2 pounds. Within that block, the common-rail fuel injection system has been thoroughly refined. Electronically-controlled piezo fuel injectors permit injection pressures of 2,000 bar (29,000 psi) and spray through eight-holed nozzles for a finer fuel mist and better, more efficient combustion. Those injectors are also lighter and have fewer moving parts, and so can move at twice the speed of previous solenoid-valve injectors. With all of that, the number of injection processes per cycle can be varied and optimized as needed. The turbocharger, served by two intercoolers, has variable turbine geometry, with vane angles controlled by an electric servo motor. And get this: it's ribbed. The engine block has fluting to diminish vibration, and "all pathways on the engine mounts that could transmit vibrations to the interior have been eliminated." Finally, to aid engine packaging, the ancillaries and camshafts are driven by maintenance free chains mounted in back of the engine. So, what's all that get you? A torquey little V6 that grinds out 221 hp and 407 lb-ft. That latter number comes as soon as 1,750 rpm, obviating the need for much footwork with the pedal on the right when it's time to git 'er done. 0-60 miles-per-hour is estimated at 8.5 seconds, which isn't all that bad for what is probably a 5,000-plus-pound vehicle (VW hasn't divulged its weight yet, but the Touareg V10 TDI rocked the scales at 5,800 pounds). It's …
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|MPG||14 City / 20 Hwy|
|Power||280 @ 6200 rpm|
|Drivetrain||4XMOTION all wheel|
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