Volkswagen's First Hybrid R Vehicle Already Has One Major Drawback

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Question is, where will it be sold?

For the longest time here in the US, Volkswagen's R branded performance versions of their cars and SUVs have been scarce. The Passat and Touareg R versions have been hurtling around Europe, while we've only had the Golf R to play with. Much as we love a Golf R, variety is, as the cliche goes, the spice of life. We know Volkswagen would like to expand its R performance vehicles in the US, but the vanilla Touareg has left the US so we won't hold our breath for a performance version to come here.

A Touareg R is one we would love to sample properly though, and now things have gotten more interesting as Auto Express is reporting that the brass at Volkswagen has confirmed that a Touareg R model is on the way, and it will be a plug-in hybrid.

Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG

According to the publication, VW's sales and marketing boss Jurgen Stackmann said that "even VW's R division will have to adopt electrification as the German brand aims to become a carbon-neutral company by 2050."

What's curious here is that the Golf R is Volkswagen's flagship performance car and a global one. The Touareg is no longer available here in the US, and we're a massive market for Volkswagen. If the automaker wants to become carbon neutral and have success at the same time, wouldn't it make more sense to make the Golf R the first candidate for performance level hybrid electrification?

Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG

There is a solid argument for starting with the Touareg, though. A Touareg R is not going to be expected to be the sharpest R in the shed and gives Volkswagen's R department some room to learn as it develops a whole new angle.

There are no real details on the Touareg R, but Auto Express expects it to have the same layout as the Touareg plug-in hybrid that's in the Chinese market and expected soon in Europe. That uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder matched to an electric motor for a combined output a little over 360 horsepower and with 516 lb-ft of torque. By the time it becomes a full-fat R version, it should be even heftier.

Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG

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