The secret of our success
What is it that predestines a car manufacturer to be a true off-road specialist? Is
it the progressive concept cars in which it invests all of its motoring passion?
The top technical and sporting achievements accomplished with the help of its
engineers? Maybe it's having a product range that caters to all manner of different
requirements? Or is it simply the popularity of its models resulting from their
There are a number of different areas in which manufacturers can show off their off-road expertise. You can only claim to be a specialist, however, if you get involved in all of them - as Volkswagen does. Volkswagen offers off-roaders to satisfy the most discerning tastes, in the form of the Touareg luxury SUV, its smaller sibling, the Tiguan, and the Multivan 4MOTION. Progressive concept car studies, such as the Concept T off-road coupé unveiled in 2004 as well as the Concept A, the blueprint for the Tiguan, have helped us over and over again to live up to these high expectations.
Volkswagen made its breakthrough in the world of off-road racing as long ago as 1980, when it was victorious at the legendary Dakar Rally with the Iltis, an off-roader that had been designed for the military. The most recent off-road success came with the Race Touareg 2 that triumphed at the FIA Marathon Rally World Cup in 2007. Yet it is the accolades awarded directly by the readers of specialist magazines such as "OFF ROAD" and "AutoBild" that are probably the most rewarding confirmation of Volkswagen's off-road prowess: Luxury SUV of the Year (Touareg), Best Off-Roader (Tiguan) and Best Four-Wheel-Drive MPV (Multivan 4MOTION).
Permanent four-wheel drive
4MOTION is the name of the four-wheel-drive system that has been behind these successes. The Touareg comes with the 4XMOTION system that has been specially tailored to the vehicle. It operates electronically and, in contrast to 4MOTION, features a lockable centre differential. This has the added advantage that it can be locked to produce a fixed distribution of drive power. An inter-wheel differential lock with a 100 percent locking effect is furthermore available as an option for the rear axle. While the inter-wheel lock is deployed automatically to enhance the car's traction and driving dynamics by metering drive torque as the situation dictates, the driver is also able to activate the 100 percent locking effect manually by simply turning a switch.
4MOTION on the Tiguan
4MOTION can likewise be specified in an electronically controllable variant for the Tiguan as an option: the off-road drive mode with its various assistance systems is activated at the push of a button. While the hill descent assist maintains an optimum speed on steep descents, the hill climb assist intervenes in the engine management to preserve the clutch on uphill gradients. Meanwhile, the flat throttle response characteristic allows for more precise control of the engine's torque. Finally, the sensitive setting of the ABS system ensures an optimum braking effect in loose terrain.