German automaker’s range-topping SUV gets a solid upgrade from noted VW tuner

ABT Sportsline has been around the tuning game for 25 years (not to be confused with Auto-Abt’s own 120-year history) but its history with SUVs only goes back to 2002. Despite the abbreviated history, the German tuner has evolved into one of the biggest aftermarket tuners in the world, specifically when it comes to Volkswagen models. That fact was on full display recently when ABT presented its latest aftermarket offering for a VW with a tuning program dedicated to the Touareg SUV. There are no mouth-watering spikes in power to speak of with this kit, but the tuner did what it does best, polishing the Touareg’s power and performance numbers by helping add juice to the SUV’s two diesel engines, including a peak output of 385 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque for the Europe-spec 4.2-liter V-8 TDI engine.

In addition to the power upgrades, ABT Sportsline also has a specially developed aerodynamic package that adds both aesthetic and functional appeal to the SUV. New wheels are also part of the kit as they always are in any ABT Sportsline program. There are also chassis and suspension upgrades to help balance out the Touareg’s handling characteristics with the power upgrades in tow.

There’s a lot to like about this new program from ABT. Volkswagen Touareg owners, in particular, should be ecstatic about the opportunity to get some extra muscle out of their luxury SUVs. There aren’t that many tuners that venture into VW SUVs quite like ABT Sportsline so having this program available is a blessing in it of itself. The fact that it comes from one of the industry’s best VW tuners is just icing on the cake.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

  • 2016 Volkswagen Touareg by ABT Sportsline
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    385
  • Torque @ RPM:
    649
  • Displacement:
    4.2 L
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Volkswagen Touareg by ABT Sportsline High Resolution Exterior
- image 685377

The exterior upgrades for the Volkswagen Touareg include an aerodynamic package that’s made up of a front grille add-on and headlight covers that help make for a more pronounced look in the front. At the back, the modifications are defined by a new rear wing and rear skirt set that’s designed to work with the tuner’s own double tail pipe bezels. The latter is mostly of cosmetic nature, as is the new set of 20- and 22-inch wheels that come with the package. The wheels are available in CR and DR configuration and can be shot in high performance tires.

Drivetrain

ABT Sportsline’s engine program for the Touareg revolves around two of the SUV’s diesel engines: the 3.0-liter TDI and the 4.2-liter V-8 TDI. The tuner didn’t specify what it gave to the two engines, although I suspect that its very own “ABT Power New Generation Motortuning” module may have had a part to play in the modifications.

The bigger 4.2-liter V-8 TDI saw its output improve to 385 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque

In any event, the results are impressive given what ABT had to work with. The 3.0 TDI, for example, saw its output increase to 290 horsepower and a stout 479 pound-feet of torque. That adds up to an increase of 38 horses and 52 pound-feet of twist from the engine’s standard output of 262 horsepower and 427 pound-feet of torque.

It’s the same story with the bigger 4.2-liter V-8 TDI, which saw its output improve to 385 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque, an increase of 45 horsepower and 59 pound-feet of torque. Again, there are marked improvements in the engine’s output from the standard 340-horsepower and 590-pound-feet of torque numbers of the 4.2 V-8.

Chassis and Suspension

2016 Volkswagen Touareg by ABT Sportsline High Resolution Exterior
- image 685379

The impressive power gains should be coralled and that’s exactly what ABT Sportsline did by offering its own spring set or a Level Control system that comes with air springs capable of lowering the SUV’s ride height by 1.57 inches on the front axle and 1.18 inches on the rear axle. The lowered stance also helps the Touareg create a more intimidating profile, the kind that fits right in with what a sports utility vehicle shoudl be.

Pricing

Pricing figures have not yet been released so in times like this, the normal course of action is to contact the tuner directly to get a price quote. Remember though that ABT Sportsline is a German tuner so interested customers here in the US should prepare themselves for the extra costs that come with shipping the SUVs across the pond.

Competition

Porsche Cayenne S Diesel by TechArt

2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel S by TECHART Exterior
- image 506004

TechArt is one of the most well-regarded Porsche tuners in the business so it’s no surprise that we have programs dedicated to the Cayenne S Diesel. This program was unveiled in 2013 and it came with the tuner’s TA 058/SD1 powerkit. The result is an output of 420 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque, enough to propel the Cayenne S Diesel from a standstill position to 62 mph in just 5.2 seconds to go with an increased top speed of 159 mph. It’s an admittedly dated kit, but TechArt is also known to make updates to its own tuning programs.

Find out more about the Porsche Cayenne S Diesel by TechArt here.

BMW X5 by Kelleners Sport

2014 BMW X5 by Kelleners Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 562239

This is another tuning program that has some age in it, having first been introduced back in 2014. It comes by way of Kelleners Sport and among the multitude of modifications that were put in by the tuner, the KS Diesel Power 30 module was as important as any of them. This program was reserved for the X5 xDrive30d and it featured a nice performance improvement that saw an increased output of 302 horsepower and 483 pound-feet of torque. It doesn’t carry as much power as the ABT Sportsline’s program for the Touareg or TechArt’s kit for the Cayenne S Diesel, but it’s still enough to net an increase of 44 ponies and 70 pound-feet of twist.

Find out more about the BMW X5 by Kelleners Sport here.

Conclusion

2016 Volkswagen Touareg by ABT Sportsline High Resolution Exterior
- image 685378

It’s a nice program if you’re the type who wants to get an extra jolt of power and performance out of your Volkswagen Touareg. Just don’t expect the stars and the moon there. The aero kit is limited to a few bits and pieces and the engine upgrades don’t net significant chunks of extra horses. Temper your expectations for this program and you won’t be disappointed. Overestimate it and you’ll wish you hadn’t.

  • Leave it
    • * Upgrades are only for diesel variants of the Touareg
    • * No interior upgrades
    • * May not be worth all the trouble
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