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Here’s why Volkswagen hasn’t completely ditched diesel engines

Here’s why Volkswagen hasn’t completely ditched diesel engines

V8 TDI engine still holds promise for Wolfsburg, at least in some markets

Nearly four years and $30 billion dollars in fines and buybacks after the Volkswagen diesel crisis, Wolfsburg isn’t ready to say “auf wiedersehen” to diesel engines. Volkswagen used the Geneva motor show to unveil the Touareg V8 TDI, packing a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 good for 416 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. The Touareg, if you recall, departed the North American market a short time ago, giving up the top spot to the much less expensive Atlas built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with the U.S. market in mind.

But in other markets, Volkswagen still sees a role for a giant TDI engine, and it doesn’t have all that much to do with fuel savings — if you’re buying a Touareg with a V8 engine, chances are you can afford a Touareg with pretty much anything underhood to begin with.

The inclusion of a V8 TDI option in the Touareg is more a result of availability rather than a desire to field new engines. This TDI mill isn’t new — a version of it is offered in an even more unlikely Volkswagen Automotive Group vehicle — under the hood of the Bentley Bentayga, where it offers roughly the same output. But we ultimately have the Audi SQ7 to thank for its continued existence, as Bentley did not prod its owners in Wolfsburg to design a giant diesel just for the Bentayga.

Of course, the Touareg had offered a TDI engine in the past as well, in the form of a 4.2-liter that had been in production until 2017. With the redesign of the Touareg, Volkswagen found itself with what is still a perfectly good vessel for a turbodiesel V8.

Volkswagen indicated months ago that there was still a role for TDI engines to play in a number of VW Automotive Group vehicles, but even in the Touareg the TDI engine won’t account for a majority of vehicles. Of course, in each country the ratio of gas to diesel Touaregs will be different.

Volkswagen says that in the Touareg this mill will be good enough for 0-62-mph sprints of just 4.9 seconds, which should tempt more than just the yacht-towing clientele.

writer: Jay Ramey
Published: March 11, 2019

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