On the eve of a new 2014 Touareg launch from Volkswagen later this year, here is a look back at the model’s mechanical and style evolution during its 9-year run in the U.S. from 2004 through 2013 – between 2002 and 2004, it was available in other markets. No fewer than seven unique engines have powered this PL71-platform VW behemoth in production form. Even including its stable-mates the Porsche Cayenne or Audi Q7 , no other SUV in the history of the automobile has packed more mechanical variations over a relatively short run.
From basic I-5 diesels to V-6s up to the monster V-10 TDI and W-12 gasoline engines and even a hybrid in the mix, the Touareg has been a true jack-of-all-trades and a phenomenal global success for the Volkswagen group. It is worth remembering that the platform development and manufacturing partnership between VW and Porsche had long been dead until this SUV project brought it back to life in 1999.
The first Porsche-VW baby of the new era was born a healthy, slightly pudgy infant with the Volkswagen Touareg. A name only a mother could pronounce, it is said as both “twa-reg” and/or “toar-reg.” If you don’t already know, the Toureg – the real ones, not the car – are a North African group of people that speak Berber.
Ostensibly a response to the success of the Mercedes-Benz ML series launched in 1998, the Touareg’s mission was to be all things to all buyers. The goal was complex: Range Rover comfort, BMW 5-series road-going abilities and G-Wagen strength when all paved roads turn to dirt.
Click past the jump to read about the evolution of the Volkswagen Touareg.