Meet the new flagship of the Volkswagen range. Sharply designed, bursting with premiumness and the most technically advanced VW yet, and all of it of course wrapped up by an SUV body. It’s the new VW Touareg.
Unveiled today in what is the model’s biggest market – China – the third-generation family of big VW 4x4 has had everything the company knows poured into it – with the exception of an electric version. The first all-electric VW will be the production version of the ID Crozz, a smaller SUV, which is due in 2020.
So it’s good old diesel power for the new Touareg, though we are promised that a 363bhp plug-in hybrid version is being worked on. When the new model hits the UK market from the summer the engine choice will be 228bhp or 282bhp V6 oil-burners, with a 335bhp V6 petrol following on.
A V8 diesel boasting 415bhp will also be available in some markets, rekindling memories of Touaregs past with mighty W12 petrol engines and the V10 TDI diesel that was so torquey it pulled a Boeing 747.
The probability is the new Touareg is still an exceptional tow vehicle – and also still a capable off-roader – but today the emphasis is more on that premium feel and plenty of innovative operating, convenience and safety systems, all the better to take on the big names in the booming world of the luxury SUV.
So this new Touareg – slightly larger and roomier but 100kg lighter – receives the hi-tech works. It’s a long list but highlights are Night Vision thermal imaging camera, Roadwork Lane Assist (semi-automated steering, accelerating and braking up to 60 km/h), Front Cross Traffic Assist, IQ.Light LED matrix headlights and windscreen head-up display.
The headline feature for many though promises to be the new Innovision Cockpit, a fully digitalised dash with twin large displays to take care of all operating, information, communication and entertainment functions – all with no buttons. VW promises it will be intuitive to use.
And to drive? There’s active all-wheel steering which VW says makes it handle less like a big SUV and more like a compact car, and a new roll stabilisation system with electromechanically controlled anti-roll bars. It all adds up to the largest range of assistance, handling and comfort systems ever to be integrated into a Volkswagen, says the company.
And underneath it’s still a Porsche Cayenne. But rather more affordable, with prices tipped to start at under £50,000.