Skip to main content

VW’s Snowreg uses tank treads to conquer mud, sand, swamps, bogs, and – oh yeah – snow

The Swedish wilderness is a harsh and unforgiving place, especially in winter. Despite this, though, World Rally Championship teams still need to go between stages during the Rally Sweden event. Usually, teams employ helicopters to hop from spot to spot.

This year, Volkswagn decided to cut its own trail. Literally. Meet the Snowreg; it’s the VW’s lifted Rally Sweden go-between.

Based upon the 4.2-liter V8 TDI-powered Touareg that makes 340 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, the Snowreg has been lifted and its four wheels replaced with 18-inch wide Mattracks. Unfortunately, due to the conversion, it won’t be able to go above 40 mph.

But despite not being able to break the U.S. Federal speed limit, it should be able to 40 mph just about anywhere. It won’t just rip through snow, the Snowreg will also, as Top Gear put it, “conquer mud, sand, swamps, bogs, and, usefully, roads.”

Now, all you have to decide is which you’d rather have: one of the beefed-up VW Amarok pickups that traversed Russia on the way to Sochi or the Snowreg.

Editors' Recommendations

Nick Jaynes
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nick Jaynes is the Automotive Editor for Digital Trends. He developed a passion for writing about cars working his way…
Geneva 2013: Great gas mileage and touchscreen tech share the spotlight in VW’s 2014 Golf Variant

Volkswagen has unveiled its latest and perhaps last Golf model for the 2014 model year. It's called the Golf Variant (wagon) and it's more exciting than it looks. Based upon the Mk 7 Golf, the new Golf Variant is stylish, relatively lightweight, and - most importantly – eco-friendly.
The Golf Variant has more engine options alone than some automakers offer over their entire lineup. Most notably, however, is the TDI BlueMotion model. With a 110-horsepower engine and six-speed manual transmission, the Golf Variant is rated to achieve 71.3 miles-per-gallon, which is astounding for a five-seater, family-hauling wagon.
Interestingly, each Golf Variant is fitted with Start/Stop technology, which improves fuel economy by four percent and a battery regeneration mode, which stores kinetic energy in the form of electricity onboard for later implementation.
Producing 85, 105, 90, 122, and 140 horsepower respectively, the other gasoline engines include a 1.2-liter, 105-horsepower TSI BlueMotion Technology model capable of 46 mpg and a top speed of 120 miles per hour.
On the inside, Volkswagen offers three infotainment screens: a 5-inch, a 5.8-inch, and an 8-inch unit. All displays are TFT touch-screen units. Users will be able to swipe, with the drag of a finger, through different screens and infotainment options, just like many of today’s smartphones.
The Golf Variant will go on sale in Europe later this year. We expect the wagon version of the Golf to go on sale here in the U.S. as the new Jetta Sportwagen sometime in 2014.

Read more
VW gives a glimpse of its all-new, oil-burnin’ GTD hot hatch ahead of Geneva
vw gives a glimpse of its all new oil burnin gtd hot hatch ahead geneva gtd2

Another new Volkswagen has been revealed ahead of its Geneva premier next month, and it’s one we've been looking forward to for quite some time: the all-new GTD.
If you've never heard of it, don’t fret: it’s never been offered Stateside – but it might be. The Volkswagen GTD is essentially the much-loved GTI but in place of the turbocharged gasoline engine, Volkswagen mounts a turbocharged diesel four-cylinder instead. If you’re worried the combo might be disappointing – it’s not. VW engineers messed about with the engine management computer, significantly pepping up the diesel performance over its standard VW diesel brethren.

Now there’s a new one based upon the Mk 7 Golf and it features VW’s new EA288 2.0-liter diesel motor. The new four-cylinder produces 181 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, which represents a 13 horsepower leap over the current Euro-only 2.0-liter GTD diesel. The Mk 7 GTD will make a 0-62 run in 7.5 seconds and hit a top speed of 143 MPH with the six-speed manual. Should the customer choose the seven-speed DSG transmission, however, 0-62 times drop to 8.1 seconds and 138 MPH top speed respectively. We recommend the six-speed.
According to AutoCar, the new GTD will achieve a combined 67.3-MPG but that’s in English gallons. In U.S. gallons, that would be 56 MPG. Some how, though, we figure that number will come down by the time EPA estimates are calculated for the US.

Read more
Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet will have 261 hp, but won’t come to the U.S.

Volkswagen showed off its Golf R Cabriolet at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, in one of the ultimate automotive teases. VW had taken the lid off its most powerful hot hatchback, but wouldn’t give any specifics about the Golf R’s capabilities. Now, we’re learning a bit more.
The Golf R is an enhanced version of VW’s evergreen GTI. Available as either a three or five-door hatchback, it has a 256 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four. That power is fed to all four wheels through Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Add a convertible top to that, and you have a very unique machine.
In fact, the Golf R Cabriolet will have 261 hp, courtesy of the same turbocharged engine. However, it will be front-wheel drive only. That should compensate for some of the convertible’s extra weight, but it will also make the front tires’ job very difficult.
High-powered front-wheel drive cars often come with “torque steer,” where accelerative force tugs at the wheels, fighting the driver. The regular GTI is one of the best front-wheel drive chassis around, so it will be interesting to see what Volkswagen’s suspension wizards were able to do with the Golf R Cabriolet.
While the U.S.-spec Golf R hatchback comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, the Golf R Cabriolet will get a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic.
The rest of the changes echo the Golf R hatch. The Cabriolet gets the same subtle exterior modifications, including an R Line grille, front diffuser, LED daytime running lights, and Xenon headlights. The wheels have a special “Talladega” design, and come in 18 or 19-inch sizes.
Other trim changes include gloss black side mirrors, brake calipers, and rear diffuser.
The interior features the same R Line sport seats, drilled aluminum pedals, and contrasting stitching. The electronic folding soft top takes 9.5 seconds to fold and 11 seconds to erect. Drivers can do this on the go at up to 18 mph.
The list of sporty convertibles without premium badges is pretty much limited to usual suspects like Mustang, Camaro, Miata, or 370Z. The Golf R Cabriolet could offer buyers another compelling choice.
However, fans of top-down performance driving will be disappointed to know that the Golf R Cabriolet will not be coming to the United States. Given the fact that Americans don’t even get the regular Golf Cabriolet (we have the Eos instead), that’s not surprising.
It might be just as well, though. In Europe, the Golf R Cabriolet is expected to cost $60,881, a shocking increase over the $36,515 price of a loaded five-door Golf R.

Read more