I now have two things in common with Michael Schumacher.
No, it's not the women, or the money. It's that I drive fast cars for a living, and that I've now joined Mr Schumacher in what I like to call the "V10 Club": the exclusive and lucky few to have steered a car sporting a V10 engine.
The only difference is that I did it not in a Ferrari, or even a Lamborghini. And no, it wasn't in a tractor, either. Nope, my entry into this esteemed motoring club came via Volkswagen, in the form of its bustling twin turbo-diesel V10 Touareg.
If you're a V8 fanatic, then you haven't heard the unique rumble of a thumping V10. And even though this one's a diesel, you won't be disappointed. Besides, until the new BMW M5 arrives next year, it's the only production V10 this side of a Lambo Gallardo that average Joes can get their hands on.
This Vee-Dub is a fantastic car, an even better four wheel drive, and has been successful in markets around the world. Internet Touareg clubs are popping up all over the place, where people share experiences of their off-road adventures and chat about their sick love for this range of vehicle.
Remember, this is VW's first true off-roader, conceived in concert with Porsche. Generally, the Touareg, according to everything you read and hear, has gained far better acceptance in the luxo-off-road market. But what's it like? Can it upset the fortunes of the ever-dominant Range Rover?
Model: Touareg V10 TDI
Transmission: 6-speed semi-automatic
Engine: 10-cylinder, 2-valve, 90° V10 twin turbo-diesel
Fuel Consumption: Combined city/highway: 12.3 litres/100km
Safety: Dual front and side airbags, curtain airbags front and rear, ABS brakes with brake assist and electronic Brakeforce distribution, traction control with ESP, hill descent and hill hold control
Volkswagen's V10 Touareg is quite a pace setter
Those with a penchant for leather, wood, lights and buttons will not be disappointed with the Touareg's luxurious cabin. You are literally surrounded in the stuff in the V10.
Technophiles will be impressed by the array of gizmos adorning the sizeable cabin too - plenty to keep the avid fiddler happy.
But this is no 7 Series BMW; those who yearn for simplicity and functionality will work out how to use the many gadgets in minutes.
Firing up the big 5.0-litre V10 is nothing too awe-inspiring - at idle, you could mistake the sound for a Freelander.
But once you carefully reverse out of the garage, wave to the kids and get out of sight, the Touareg is anything but a relaxed wagon.
See that SS you just left at the lights? He'll think twice before judging a book by its cover again.
The only drawback with the performance available to your right ankle with this car is that you've left a massive plume of black unburnt diesel smoke at the lights as well.
Remember, this is a diesel, and it prefers to accelerate at less than dragster velocity.
But hey, with about 900 kilometres worth of fuel available to you from the 100-litre tank, you've got plenty, so give it a shot…
Yes, the Touareg is truly a wolf in sheep's clothing. Thanks partly to fact that the range starts with a 177kW petrol V6 (plus a newly released 128kW 5-cylinder diesel) and that the only giveaway to its potential is a subtle "V10" chrome badge on its rear, you'll surprise many at the traffic lights with your power, and more on the motorway as you hit those gaps with aplomb.
The 90° V10 pumps out a healthy 230kW of power and, wait for it, 750Nm of torque, available from 2000rpm! What this means is that you have enough bottom end power to pull the Queen Mary II out of the water, let alone the ski boat. And of course leave anything you like at the lights.
Volkswagen 5.0-litre Diesel V10
The vee 10-cylinder engine has a 5.0-litre (4921cc) capacity and takes advantage of direct injection for a cleaner burn and more power.
The engine block is constructed from cast-iron and packs 2-valves per cylinder for a total of 20 valves, actuated by single overhead camshafts (per cylinder bank).
The twin turbocharged diesel engine has an 18.0:1 compression ratio and makes use of an air-to-air intercooler, as well as a big 100 litre fuel tank.
Max Power: 230kW @ 4000rpm
Max Torque: 750Nm @ 2000rpm
0-100km/h: 7.8 seconds
Top Speed: 225km/h
The styling of the big Touareg is easy on the eye, and bears little semblance to its Porsche Cayenne cousin. The first thing I noticed was that it's not a big car, at least by LandCruiser standards. Of course, the car's height (standard: 1703mm) is determined by the driver. Accessible via one of the many switches in the cabin is the car's variable height adjustment, which lets you vary the Touareg's ground clearance from 16cm to a whopping 30cm for those tricky situations.
Of course, the system is clever enough in "auto" mode to reduce its height at highway speeds, and increase it in offroad situations, but in practice, it means Mrs You can load the shopping with the same consummate ease as you can smash through the sand dunes and traverse raging torrents.
The Touareg also features "hill hold control", which is like ABS in reverse: the system will apply the brakes to all wheels when you take your foot off the accelerator when you drive up a hill. Monitoring the traction of each wheel, the system progressively releases each wheel as you take off again, ensuring you don't lose any ground on those gravely bush tracks. Bravo.
The V10 variant also gains keyless entry, a la the Lexus LS430. The driver simply walks up to the car, grabs the handle, whispers "open sesame!" (kidding), and the door opens. Starting the car is as simple as thumbing the big START button inside.
Inside, up to five occupants are treated to four-zone climate control, a television and CD-stacker and comfy leather seating. The driver also gets to be in charge of the whole thing, grip the leather-and-wood steering wheel and exercise their right leg.
The Touareg I drove had about 22,000 journalist kilometres on its clock and, I must say, I wonder about the longevity of some of the switchgear and surfaces in this car.
Although journalist kays are about twice as hard as ownership kilometres, I experienced some noticeable groans from the chassis under acceleration, and one of the stereo's gazillion speakers had been pushed up into the roof by an errant finger. A quick check on the 'Net didn't reveal that this problem was universal, so maybe it was just this particular car.
It's the perfect scam - marry the huge performance potential of a twin-turbo V10 with the fuel economy of modern diesel technology, wrap it in a contemporary shell, fill it with leather and mod-cons, and wait for the buyers to come running.
Sounds too good to be true? Well, it sort of is. Although I think $140,000 isn't that much when you consider all the good things this car does, many will be intimidated by the cost of admission. Sure, it's a lot of money, but those heading to the Range Rover dealership should seriously consider testing the Touareg and comparing notes. I loved it!
[img]C:\Documents and Settings\idham\My Documents\My Pictures\mbl[/img]
[img]C:\Documents and Settings\idham\My Documents\My Pictures\mbl[/img]
C:\Documents and Settings\idham\My Documents\My Pictures\mbl
udah mulai keliatan nih seleranya
ayo yg lain ikutan dong...
Keliatan berselera semua...makanya nggak ada yang mau ngasih...
kayak gw dong...nggak usah banyak banyak mobilnya...
Yang penting cukup...
Buat antar jemput cukup pake Xenia...
Buat jalan jalan cukup pake Xenia...
Buat bantu usaha ya cukuplah pake Xenia...