Pros

  • Offers a perfect blend of ability and sophistication.
  • Immense performance.
  • Incredibly unique.
  • Offers so much SUV for the money, if you ignore the common issues.

Cons

  • Many mechanical issues require time-consuming engine out surgery.
  • Very long list of common faults.
  • Parts and repair costs can be extremely expensive.
  • Not an ownership experience for the faint hearted.

Verdict

Considering the prospect of acquiring a Volkswagen Touareg R50? To be candid, it’s not a recommendation we make. Although the R50 showcased its brilliance in its early days, the current market scenario reveals a different story. The majority of available models today come with substantial risks, and our firm advice...

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What you need to know about the Volkswagen Touareg R50.

  • The R50 is arguably the highest-performing, most special, and unique model within the original Touareg range.
  • It shares the same platform as the original Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7.
  • Production spanned a brief two years, from 2008 to 2010, with a single trim spec. However, various options and updates led to differences among R50 examples.
  • Despite being part of a joint venture between three German brands, the Touareg was manufactured in Slovakia.
  • The R50 stands out from its siblings due to its powerful 257 kW (345 bhp) and 850 N⋅m (627 lbf⋅ft) 5.0-litre V10 engine.
  • The engine’s inclusion was not part of the Touareg’s initial design, but Volkswagen’s CEO insisted on it, leading to a host of engineering challenges.
  • As the flagship model of the original Touareg range, the R50 features an extensive range of features and equipment (detailed below).
  • The R50 is essentially an updated and improved version of the V10 TDI, addressing dynamic issues present in earlier V10 Touareg models.
  • In addition to the powerful engine, the R50 is equipped with adjustable air suspension, large brakes, and Volkswagen’s 4Xmotion system, which differs from the 4Motion setup in more recent Volkswagens.
  • 4Xmotion incorporates electronic aids and traditional mechanical components like a low-range transfer box and diff locks, enhancing off-road capabilities.
  • Given the R50’s age and the likelihood of many having covered over 100,000 km, reported faults range from minor to major, with owners detailing various issues.

For

What you need to know about the Volkswagen Touareg R50.

  • The R50 is arguably the highest-performing, most special, and unique model within the original Touareg range.
  • It shares the same platform as the original Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7.
  • Production spanned a brief two years, from 2008 to 2010, with a single trim spec. However, various options and updates led to differences among R50 examples.
  • Despite being part of a joint venture between three German brands, the Touareg was manufactured in Slovakia.
  • The R50 stands out from its siblings due to its powerful 257 kW (345 bhp) and 850 N⋅m (627 lbf⋅ft) 5.0-litre V10 engine.
  • The engine’s inclusion was not part of the Touareg’s initial design, but Volkswagen’s CEO insisted on it, leading to a host of engineering challenges.
  • As the flagship model of the original Touareg range, the R50 features an extensive range of features and equipment (detailed below).
  • The R50 is essentially an updated and improved version of the V10 TDI, addressing dynamic issues present in earlier V10 Touareg models.
  • In addition to the powerful engine, the R50 is equipped with adjustable air suspension, large brakes, and Volkswagen’s 4Xmotion system, which differs from the 4Motion setup in more recent Volkswagens.
  • 4Xmotion incorporates electronic aids and traditional mechanical components like a low-range transfer box and diff locks, enhancing off-road capabilities.
  • Given the R50’s age and the likelihood of many having covered over 100,000 km, reported faults range from minor to major, with owners detailing various issues.

For a comprehensive understanding of the R50’s performance, features, and potential concerns, read on.

What you need to know about the Volkswagen Touareg R50.

  • The R50 is arguably the highest-performing, most special, and unique model within the original Touareg range.
  • It shares the same platform as the original Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7.
  • Production spanned a brief two years, from 2008 to 2010, with a single trim spec. However, various options and updates led to differences among R50 examples.
  • Despite being part of a joint venture between three German brands, the Touareg was manufactured in Slovakia.
  • The R50 stands out from its siblings due to its powerful 257 kW (345 bhp) and 850 N⋅m (627 lbf⋅ft) 5.0-litre V10 engine.
  • The engine’s inclusion was not part of the Touareg’s initial design, but Volkswagen’s CEO insisted on it, leading to a host of engineering challenges.
  • As the flagship model of the original Touareg range, the R50 features an extensive range of features and equipment (detailed below).
  • The R50 is essentially an updated and improved version of the V10 TDI, addressing dynamic issues present in earlier V10 Touareg models.
  • In addition to the powerful engine, the R50 is equipped with adjustable air suspension, large brakes, and Volkswagen’s 4Xmotion system, which differs from the 4Motion setup in more recent Volkswagens.
  • 4Xmotion incorporates electronic aids and traditional mechanical components like a low-range transfer box and diff locks, enhancing off-road capabilities.
  • Given the R50’s age and the likelihood of many having covered over 100,000 km, reported faults range from minor to major, with owners detailing various issues.

For a comprehensive understanding of the R50’s performance, features, and potential concerns, read on.

Exterior:

  • Rust poses a significant concern, particularly on the rear doors and wheel arch, both made of steel, with numerous owners reporting corrosion issues.
  • Look for bubbling under the paint on the curved inside edge (following the forward edge of the rear wheel arch) near the door rubbers.
  • Potential problems with the sensor atop the windscreen controlling auto lights and wipers.
  • Reported issues with power mirrors, the powered tailgate, power windows, door lock actuators, and the powered sunroof.
  • Electrical components tend to face malfunctions; if it runs on electricity, owners have reported failures.
  • Complaints about door handles potentially falling off.
  • Headlight problems include auto leveling and washer malfunctions.
  • Windscreen wiper arms may leave un-wiped sections of glass.
  • Water retention issues, such as blocked sunroof drains and bulkhead drains, causing water sloshing sounds and potential damage to ECUs and electrics.

 

Interior:

  • Headlining sagging, reminiscent of old Ford Falcons.
  • HVAC or air conditioning can present various issues, ranging from electronic glitches to heater flap servo motor failures, often requiring extensive dash disassembly.
  • Owners report interior plastics cracking or breaking, with a check recommended for peeling buttons and switch surrounds, especially on the driver’s door.
  • Numerous switches and buttons can experience issues, varying from inexpensive replacements to more complex electronic problems.

 

Mechanical:

  • Despite a reputation for sketchy reliability and high maintenance costs, breaking down individual systems reveals simplicity.
  • The fuel system, inlet/exhaust systems, and basic turbos are straightforward, but issues like fuel pump and line problems have been reported.
  • Turbos may fail, and cracked exhaust manifolds necessitate dropping the sub-frame, entire engine, and transmission for repairs, understandably a very time consuming and expensive project. 
  • When addressing turbo issues, consider changing the starter motor, as it requires removal of the engine.
  • While the engine is apart, replacing dual pump gaskets, leaking valve covers, and inspecting cams and buckets is advisable.
  • Common rail diesel complications involve DPF, EGR valve, and EGR cooler issues, leading some owners to delete these components, although this is not universally accepted.
  • The liquid-cooled alternator can fail and is challenging to access due to its location within the V of the engine. Plus the alternator is often found swimming in a bath of leaked coolant, oil & fuel.
  • Engine repairs often involve dealing with brittle hoses, o-rings, and plastic wiring connectors.
  • Center bearings and control arm bushes are prone to wear, typical for many Touaregs.
  • Air suspension problems are common, with reported failures in compressors, airbags, control valves, and electronics.
  • Electrical issues are widespread, affecting various components throughout the vehicle.

 

Overall Perspective:

While the presented issues may seem daunting, insights from forums and discussions with R50 experts reveal that several owners

Exterior:

  • Rust poses a significant concern, particularly on the rear doors and wheel arch, both made of steel, with numerous owners reporting corrosion issues.
  • Look for bubbling under the paint on the curved inside edge (following the forward edge of the rear wheel arch) near the door rubbers.
  • Potential problems with the sensor atop the windscreen controlling auto lights and wipers.
  • Reported issues with power mirrors, the powered tailgate, power windows, door lock actuators, and the powered sunroof.
  • Electrical components tend to face malfunctions; if it runs on electricity, owners have reported failures.
  • Complaints about door handles potentially falling off.
  • Headlight problems include auto leveling and washer malfunctions.
  • Windscreen wiper arms may leave un-wiped sections of glass.
  • Water retention issues, such as blocked sunroof drains and bulkhead drains, causing water sloshing sounds and potential damage to ECUs and electrics.

 

Interior:

  • Headlining sagging, reminiscent of old Ford Falcons.
  • HVAC or air conditioning can present various issues, ranging from electronic glitches to heater flap servo motor failures, often requiring extensive dash disassembly.
  • Owners report interior plastics cracking or breaking, with a check recommended for peeling buttons and switch surrounds, especially on the driver’s door.
  • Numerous switches and buttons can experience issues, varying from inexpensive replacements to more complex electronic problems.

 

Mechanical:

  • Despite a reputation for sketchy reliability and high maintenance costs, breaking down individual systems reveals simplicity.
  • The fuel system, inlet/exhaust systems, and basic turbos are straightforward, but issues like fuel pump and line problems have been reported.
  • Turbos may fail, and cracked exhaust manifolds necessitate dropping the sub-frame, entire engine, and transmission for repairs, understandably a very time consuming and expensive project. 
  • When addressing turbo issues, consider changing the starter motor, as it requires removal of the engine.
  • While the engine is apart, replacing dual pump gaskets, leaking valve covers, and inspecting cams and buckets is advisable.
  • Common rail diesel complications involve DPF, EGR valve, and EGR cooler issues, leading some owners to delete these components, although this is not universally accepted.
  • The liquid-cooled alternator can fail and is challenging to access due to its location within the V of the engine. Plus the alternator is often found swimming in a bath of leaked coolant, oil & fuel.
  • Engine repairs often involve dealing with brittle hoses, o-rings, and plastic wiring connectors.
  • Center bearings and control arm bushes are prone to wear, typical for many Touaregs.
  • Air suspension problems are common, with reported failures in compressors, airbags, control valves, and electronics.
  • Electrical issues are widespread, affecting various components throughout the vehicle.

 

Overall Perspective:

While the presented issues may seem daunting, insights from forums and discussions with R50 experts reveal that several owners worldwide have experienced only a handful of these issues.

Exterior:

  • Rust poses a significant concern, particularly on the rear doors and wheel arch, both made of steel, with numerous owners reporting corrosion issues.
  • Look for bubbling under the paint on the curved inside edge (following the forward edge of the rear wheel arch) near the door rubbers.
  • Potential problems with the sensor atop the windscreen controlling auto lights and wipers.
  • Reported issues with power mirrors, the powered tailgate, power windows, door lock actuators, and the powered sunroof.
  • Electrical components tend to face malfunctions; if it runs on electricity, owners have reported failures.
  • Complaints about door handles potentially falling off.
  • Headlight problems include auto leveling and washer malfunctions.
  • Windscreen wiper arms may leave un-wiped sections of glass.
  • Water retention issues, such as blocked sunroof drains and bulkhead drains, causing water sloshing sounds and potential damage to ECUs and electrics.

 

Interior:

  • Headlining sagging, reminiscent of old Ford Falcons.
  • HVAC or air conditioning can present various issues, ranging from electronic glitches to heater flap servo motor failures, often requiring extensive dash disassembly.
  • Owners report interior plastics cracking or breaking, with a check recommended for peeling buttons and switch surrounds, especially on the driver’s door.
  • Numerous switches and buttons can experience issues, varying from inexpensive replacements to more complex electronic problems.

 

Mechanical:

  • Despite a reputation for sketchy reliability and high maintenance costs, breaking down individual systems reveals simplicity.
  • The fuel system, inlet/exhaust systems, and basic turbos are straightforward, but issues like fuel pump and line problems have been reported.
  • Turbos may fail, and cracked exhaust manifolds necessitate dropping the sub-frame, entire engine, and transmission for repairs, understandably a very time consuming and expensive project. 
  • When addressing turbo issues, consider changing the starter motor, as it requires removal of the engine.
  • While the engine is apart, replacing dual pump gaskets, leaking valve covers, and inspecting cams and buckets is advisable.
  • Common rail diesel complications involve DPF, EGR valve, and EGR cooler issues, leading some owners to delete these components, although this is not universally accepted.
  • The liquid-cooled alternator can fail and is challenging to access due to its location within the V of the engine. Plus the alternator is often found swimming in a bath of leaked coolant, oil & fuel.
  • Engine repairs often involve dealing with brittle hoses, o-rings, and plastic wiring connectors.
  • Center bearings and control arm bushes are prone to wear, typical for many Touaregs.
  • Air suspension problems are common, with reported failures in compressors, airbags, control valves, and electronics.
  • Electrical issues are widespread, affecting various components throughout the vehicle.

 

Overall Perspective:

While the presented issues may seem daunting, insights from forums and discussions with R50 experts reveal that several owners worldwide have experienced only a handful of these issues.

Body Styles

  • 5 door Wagon

Engine Specs

  • 4.9 litre, 10-cylinder twin turbo diesel, 258kW / 850Nm

Transmission

  • 6-speed Sports Automatic

Fuel ConsumptionLength

  • 4754mm

Width

  • 1977mm

Height

  • 1801mm

Wheelbase

  • 2855mm

Kerb Weight

  • 2532kg

Towing

  • 750kg (unbraked) – 3500kg (braked)

Ancap Ratings

  • 5 stars, tested 2004

Body Styles

  • 5 door Wagon

Engine Specs

  • 4.9 litre, 10-cylinder twin turbo diesel, 258kW / 850Nm

Transmission

  • 6-speed Sports Automatic

Fuel ConsumptionLength

  • 4754mm

Width

  • 1977mm

Height

  • 1801mm

Wheelbase

  • 2855mm

Kerb Weight

  • 2532kg

Towing

  • 750kg (unbraked) – 3500kg (braked)

Ancap Ratings

  • 5 stars, tested 2004

Body Styles

  • 5 door Wagon

Engine Specs

  • 4.9 litre, 10-cylinder twin turbo diesel, 258kW / 850Nm

Transmission

  • 6-speed Sports Automatic

Fuel ConsumptionLength

  • 4754mm

Width

  • 1977mm

Height

  • 1801mm

Wheelbase

  • 2855mm

Kerb Weight

  • 2532kg

Towing

  • 750kg (unbraked) – 3500kg (braked)

Ancap Ratings

  • 5 stars, tested 2004

Warranty

  • 3 years / 100,000 km

Servicing

  • 15,000 km / 12 months

Model range, pricing & features

Volkswagen Touareg R50-2

R50

Price when new: $129,990 - $134,990

Price used: $18,900 - $25,700

Equipment

  • 11 Speaker Stereo
  • 12V Socket(s) – Auxiliary
  • 21″ Alloy Wheels
  • ABS (Antilock Brakes)
  • Adjustable Steering Col. – Tilt & Reach
  • Adjustable Steering Column – Power & Memory
  • Air Cond. – Climate Control 2 Zone
  • Air Cond. – Climate Control 4 Zone
  • Air Conditioning – Pollen Filter
  • Air Conditioning – Rear
  • Air Conditioning – Sensor for Pollutants
  • Airbag – Driver
  • Airbag – Passenger
  • Airbags – Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
  • Airbags – Head for 2nd Row Seats
  • Airbags – Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front)
  • Alarm
  • Aluminium – Bonnet
  • Antenna – in Rear Glass
  • Armrest – Front Centre (Shared)
  • Armrest – Rear Centre (Shared)
  • Body Colour – Bumpers
  • Body Kit – Lower (skirts
  • F & R Aprons)
  • Bottle Holders – 1st Row
  • Brake Assist
  • CD Stacker – 6 disc In Dash/Cabin
  • Calipers – Front 6 Spot
  • Calipers – Painted Front
  • Calipers – Painted Rear
  • Calipers – Rear 4 Spot
  • Cargo Blind – Rear
  • Cargo Net
  • Cargo Tie Down Hooks/Rings
  • Central Locking – Key Proximity
  • Central Locking – Remote/Keyless
  • Centre Differential
  • Chrome Exhaust Tip(s)
  • Chrome Exterior Highlights
  • Chrome Grille
  • Chrome Grille Surround
  • Chrome Interior highlights
  • Chrome Ringed Instruments
  • Chrome Window Surrounds – Exterior
  • Clock – Digital
  • Control – Electronic Damper
  • Control – Electronic Stability
  • Control – Hill Descent
  • Control – Park Distance Front
  • Control – Park Distance Rear
  • Control – Rollover Stability
  • Control – Traction
  • Courtesy Lamps – in Doors Front
  • Courtesy Lamps – in Doors Rear
  • Cruise Control
  • Cup Holders – 1st Row
  • Cup Holders – 2nd Row
  • Disc Brakes Front Ventilated
  • Disc Brakes Rear Ventilated
  • Door Pockets – 1st row (Front)
  • Door Pockets – 2nd row (rear)
  • EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution)
  • Electric Seat – Drivers
  • Electric Seat – Passenger
  • Electric Seats:- 1st Row (Front) with Memories
  • Electronic Differential Lock
  • Engine Immobiliser
  • Exhaust – Stainless Steel Dual System
  • Flares Body Coloured
  • Floor Mats
  • Fog Lamp/s – Rear
  • Fog Lamps – Front
  • Footwell Lamps – Front
  • Footwell Lamps – Rear
  • Gear Shift Paddles behind Steering Wheel
  • Glovebox – Cooled
  • Headlamp Washers
  • Headlamps – Bi-Xenon (for low & high beam)
  • Headlamps – Clear Lenses
  • Headlamps – Corner (Fixed)
  • Headlamps – Electric Level Adjustment
  • Headlamps – See me home
  • Headlamps Automatic (light sensitive)
  • Headrests – Adjustable 1st Row (Front)
  • Headrests – Adjustable 2nd Row x3
  • Heat Insulated – Side Windows
  • Heated Seats – 1st Row
  • Heated Seats – 2nd Row
  • Heated Washer Jets
  • Hill Holder
  • Illuminated – Entry/Exit with Fade
  • Intermittent Wipers
  • Leather Gear Knob
  • Leather Steering Wheel
  • Leather Trim – Full Nappa
  • Lock Nuts
  • Map/Reading Lamps – for 1st Row
  • Map/Reading Lamps – for 2nd Row
  • Metallic Finish Centre Console
  • Metallic Finish Dash Board
  • Metallic Finish Door Inserts
  • Metallic Finish Gear Knob
  • Metallic Finish Interior Inserts
  • Mudflaps – rear
  • Multi-function Control Screen – Colour
  • Multi-function Steering Wheel
  • Paint – Metallic
  • Paint – Pearl
  • Park Brake – Foot Operated
  • Pedals – Sports
  • Power Door Mirrors – Anti Glare
  • Power Door Mirrors – Folding
  • Power Door Mirrors – Heated
  • Power Door Mirrors – with Memory
  • Power Steering
  • Power Steering – Speed Sensitive
  • Power Windows – Front & Rear
  • Power Windows – Remote Control Open/Close
  • Premium Sound System
  • Rain Sensor (Auto wipers)
  • Rear Windows – Extra Dark/Privacy
  • Rear Wiper/Washer
  • Remote Boot/Hatch Release
  • Remote Fuel Lid Release
  • Roof Rails
  • Scuff Plates – Embossed or personalised
  • Seat – Driver with Electric Lumbar
  • Seat – Height Adjustable Driver
  • Seat – Height Adjustable Passenger
  • Seat – Passenger with Electric Lumbar
  • Seat – Rear Opening for Skis/boot access
  • Seatback Pockets – 1st Row (Front) seats
  • Seatbelt – Adjustable Height 2nd Row Outer
  • Seatbelt – Load Limiters 1st Row (Front)
  • Seatbelt – Pretensioners 1st Row (Front)
  • Seatbelt – Pretensioners 2nd Row(Rear Outer seats)
  • Seatbelts – Front Height Adjust. with Memory
  • Seats – 2nd Row (Rear) Flat Folding
  • Seats – 2nd Row Split Fold
  • Spoiler – Rear Roof Mounted
  • Sports Seats – 1st Row (Front)
  • Starter Button
  • Sunglass Holder
  • Sunvisor – Illuminated Vanity Mirrors Dual
  • Suspension – Air Electronic
  • Suspension – Sports
  • Tacho
  • Tail Lamps – LED
  • Tail Lamps – Tinted
  • Tailgate with Opening Window
  • Trip Computer
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring – with logging/display

Considering the prospect of acquiring a Volkswagen Touareg R50? To be candid, it’s not a recommendation we make. Although the R50 showcased its brilliance in its early days, the current market scenario reveals a different story. The majority of available models today come with substantial risks, and our firm advice is to avoid making a purchase.

Despite this caution, there exists a community of enthusiasts who harbour a unique love for the R50. To those distinct individuals, we extend our utmost respect and admiration. The R50 holds a special appeal for those who appreciate its unique characteristics and are willing to embrace its quirks.

However, for the broader audience, the R50 is not for the faint-hearted. It is best suited for the most loyal R50 fans and those committed do-it-yourselfers who are prepared to tackle potential challenges head-on.

An analogy that captures the essence of buying an R50 is akin to entering a marriage where you occasionally enjoy the company with your significant other but this comes with the certainty that it will eventually lead to a costly divorce, taking a huge toll on your finances and understandably, It’s a decision we strongly advise against.

Considering the potential complications and risks associated with R50 ownership, our recommendation is to exercise caution and explore alternative options for a more reliable and financially sensible choice.

Considering the prospect of acquiring a Volkswagen Touareg R50? To be candid, it’s not a recommendation we make. Although the R50 showcased its brilliance in its early days, the current market scenario reveals a different story. The majority of available models today come with substantial risks, and our firm advice is to avoid making a purchase.

Despite this caution, there exists a community of enthusiasts who harbour a unique love for the R50. To those distinct individuals, we extend our utmost respect and admiration. The R50 holds a special appeal for those who appreciate its unique characteristics and are willing to embrace its quirks.

However, for the broader audience, the R50 is not for the faint-hearted. It is best suited for the most loyal R50 fans and those committed do-it-yourselfers who are prepared to tackle potential challenges head-on.

An analogy that captures the essence of buying an R50 is akin to entering a marriage where you occasionally enjoy the company with your significant other but this comes with the certainty that it will eventually lead to a costly divorce, taking a huge toll on your finances and understandably, It’s a decision we strongly advise against.

Considering the potential complications and risks associated with R50 ownership, our recommendation is to exercise caution and explore alternative options for a more reliable and financially sensible choice.

Considering the prospect of acquiring a Volkswagen Touareg R50? To be candid, it’s not a recommendation we make. Although the R50 showcased its brilliance in its early days, the current market scenario reveals a different story. The majority of available models today come with substantial risks, and our firm advice is to avoid making a purchase.

Despite this caution, there exists a community of enthusiasts who harbour a unique love for the R50. To those distinct individuals, we extend our utmost respect and admiration. The R50 holds a special appeal for those who appreciate its unique characteristics and are willing to embrace its quirks.

However, for the broader audience, the R50 is not for the faint-hearted. It is best suited for the most loyal R50 fans and those committed do-it-yourselfers who are prepared to tackle potential challenges head-on.

An analogy that captures the essence of buying an R50 is akin to entering a marriage where you occasionally enjoy the company with your significant other but this comes with the certainty that it will eventually lead to a costly divorce, taking a huge toll on your finances and understandably, It’s a decision we strongly advise against.

Considering the potential complications and risks associated with R50 ownership, our recommendation is to exercise caution and explore alternative options for a more reliable and financially sensible choice.

Disclaimer

Please note that pricing information is subject to fluctuations in the automotive market.

Information correct as of Jan 25, 2024.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

Read our full terms and conditions here.

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