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Volkswagen news - LA show: VW - 2008

One of the maddest races on earth is the Baha 1000. About
400 starters spend more than a day and a night tearing non-stop down insanely
rough desert tracks. It all takes place in Mexican bandit country so remote and
lawless that no-one goes to spectate.

VW has built this silhouette Touareg which ought to be in
with a shout. It’s got a mid-mounted Le Mans Audi V12 TDI in a purpose-built
spaceframe chassis, and suspension travel as high as a bus. It’s like a
remote-control toy, except some drastically superfit driver has got to strap
himself into the maelstrom and take the bucking beast by the scruff of the

VW has done this as part of its effort to promote diesel in
the US. And the US seems to be listening.

On the day of the show, the new Jetta Clean Diesel won the
Green Car of the Year award in the US, a gong whose jury includes such various
environmental worthies as the heads of the Sierra Club and the Natural
Resources Defense Council. And Carrol Shelby. How we’d love to be in the room
when they meet.

The Jetta CleanDiesel has
the 140bhp 2.0TDI we’ve seen before, but with a whole chemistry lab in the
exhaust. The resut is emissions clean enough to be sold in all 50 US states –
and it’ll pass all European regulations until at least 2015.

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