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Other Volkswagen Touareg (2003 - 2009) models:

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Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5
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Volkswagen Touareg R50 (08-09) - rated 3.5 out of 5
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PROS

Storming performance, comfortable and upmarket interior, stand out styling

CONS

Incredibly thirsty for a diesel, noisy under hard acceleration, V6 TDI is better value

PROS

Storming performance, comfortable and upmarket interior, stand out styling

CONS

Incredibly thirsty for a diesel, noisy under hard acceleration, V6 TDI is better value

Verdict

The R50 is the performance model in the Touareg line-up but unusually uses a high-power diesel engine, rather than a petrol, which gives it superb pulling power. The engine itself is the same 5.0-litre V10 TDI that's available in the standard Touareg, but power has been increased to 350bhp, meaning it can accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds. It comes suitably attired with a flared body kit, brushed chrome trim and huge 21-inch alloy wheels to give it the 'bling' factor - subtle it certainly isn't.

On the move the air suspension does a decent job of minimising roll but it can't eliminate it totally and the firm ride means the R50 crashes over bumps. Worse still - woeful fuel economy, high emissions and a hefty list price mean the R50 makes little sense, especially compared to the V6 TDI.