Volkswagen's diesel-powered Race Touareg 2 Dakar Rally cars will take on more than 5600 miles of tough terrain in January when the rally travels, for the first time, to South America.

Four of the Race Touareg 2 rally cars -- powered by a 2.5L turbodiesel engine producing 276 horsepower -- will compete when the rally starts in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The rally will serve as another test for engineers, drivers, and of course, for the 2.5L TDI engine itself. Stages pass through the Atacama Desert and altitudes of up to 15,000 feet high in the Andes.

Volkswagen says the engines of the four cars have undergone thousands of miles of durability testing, which should help protect the entries from any serious mechanical failures. The Race Touareg 2 picked up two victories in 2008; we'll have to wait until January to see if Volkswagen can start the new year with a Dakar Rally victory.

Source: Volkswagen