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.
With so many automakers celebrating some kind of anniversary this year, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the other automotive and motorsports anniversaries that are scheduled to take place this year.
For their part, Volkswagen wanted to make sure that Formula Vee gets its proper recognition as a series that’s turning 50 years old this year. So before the start of the 24 Hours of Daytona over the weekend, Volkswagen led the way in celebrating 50 years of Formula Vee with a parade of the finest cars from the series.
Formula Vee traces its roots back to August 1963 at the Daytona International Speedway. Back then, the inexpensive racecars only made use of 1.2-liter engines that produced less than 40 horsepower with chassis taken from the Volkswagen Beetle. The success of Formula Vee in the US made its throughout Europe and on July 4, 1965, Formula Vee officially held its first race in Europe in front of 50,000 fans at the Norisring circuit in Nuremberg.
Since then, the series gave birth to Formula Super Vee, as well as the already established Formula Vee 130.
The 50th anniversary of Formula Vee was attended by some of racing’s biggest names, a lot of whom also trace their roots in the series. Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk was there, as were U.S. star Michael Andretti, Daytona champion Didier Theys, Le Mans winner Hurley Haywood, former DTM greats Hans-Joachim Stuck, Leopold Prinz von Bayern, Klaus Niedzwiedz and Dieter Quester, and rally icon Markku Alén.
"That was a highly emotional experience, celebrating the beginnings of Volkswagen Motorsport against such an impressive backdrop and together with such great names from the world of racing,’ Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito said.
"The revival here in Daytona, where it all began with the first Formula Vee race, has reunited many of these legends and that is something of which we are very proud. Vee are family – just like Volkswagen, Formula Vee is one big family."
We all know that when you buy or sell anything of significant worth, the gummament is not too far away with its hand out asking for its share. It doesn’t care which side it comes from, just as long as someone pays “The Man.” Well, when VW AG decided it was time to buyout the remaining 50.1 percent of Porsche and get its former ownership group completely out of the picture, we were talking billions of Euros, €4.5 billion to be exact.
Well, even in Germany, “The Man,” or better yet “Der Mann,” is there in the form of the Baden-Württemberg Finance Ministry asking for his cut of the deal, which would total about €1.5 billion ($1.9 million). This was just about the breaking point of the entire deal, as a part of the buyout was that VW pays the tax.
After five months of massaging the numbers, looking at the laws, and manipulating things in ways that would make a business ethics major cringe, VW and Porsche are about to pull off this deal 100 percent tax free. How they pulled this off was simple enough… The only real sticking point was the fact that VW had to find out how to manipulate the deal into a corporate restructuring, as opposed to a sale.
To achieve a restructuring classification instead of a buy-sell classification, VW gave Porsche the €4.5 billion buying price, but included in that price a single voting share of VW stock… Yeah, that’s it. One little piece of paper that says “I can vote on important issues” saved VW €1.5 billion. Gotta love those tax attorneys.
The deal has yet to be approved by state authorities, but sans any omissions or errors, this looks to be a final deal that gives VW the title to Porsche, instead of just a rental contract.
Volkswagen unveiled the Golf GTI for the first time back in June 1976 and currently, the model is in its sixth generation. Many may consider the fourth generation Golf to be the very best of all, but without all six generations going toe to toe, it may be difficult to make such a decision, Enter Volkswagen.
The brand poised to dominate the auto world has put together a video with all six generations of the Golf, totaling more than 35 years of its GTI history. From the first generation’s 110 HP 1.6-liter inline four cylinder engine evolving to the sixth generation’s 207 HP turbo engine, all six were there to represent for their time period and all six were put to test on the race track, and while this video is not very long, it sure provides an idea on the classics vs. moderns dilemma.