Third-generation SUV gets new technology and road-biased styling as firm targets affluent buyers in Europe and China
Volkswagen says the new Touareg represents the “biggest leap forward” in the history of the SUV, as the car maker attempts to push its flagship model further into premium territory.
The third-generation SUV, unveiled in Beijing, has been redesigned with new technology, road-focused styling and a revamped interior that is dominated by VW’s new Innovision Cockpit.
This Touareg is the first to have such a clear focus on the Chinese market because, aside from being the largest new car market in the world, it's seen rapid growth in SUV demand in recent times. SUVs accounted for 8% of the Chinese market in 2007, but by 2017 that had skyrocketed to 45%.
Despite a clear Asian influence in its design (read more about that here), the Touareg is a global model. Like its forebears the latest car will be launched in the UK, but it's not due on roads until the summer. It will come with a 3.0 V6 diesel engine with 282bhp and 442lb ft. second 3.0 V6 diesel with 228bhp and 369lb ft will follow in the autumn, as will a 3.0 V6 petrol with 335bhp and 332lb ft. Prices will start at about £50,000, an increase of almost £5000 over the current car, which starts at £45,430.
The Chinese line-up will also include a 362bhp plug-in hybrid that will arrive in late 2019. That variant is likely to go on sale in Europe, although no date has been set. A 415bhp, 664lb ft 4.0 V8 diesel will be offered in some markets, likely including the UK, from late 2018.
All of the engine options are powered through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with standard all-wheel drive featuring a centre differential lock, with five standard and four optional drive modes.
To aid the driving dynamic, the Touareg features electromechanical active roll compensation, which adjusts the anti-roll bars to smooth the ride when cornering. It also has air suspension to boost ride and intelligent all-wheel steering to aid handling.
Oliver Müller, the Touareg’s vehicle development boss, told Autocar: “We wanted to combine a sporty drive with comfort. The focus in on on-road handling, but it was important to make sure it was still good off-road. It’s part of the DNA of the car. The look is more on-road now, but it’s still an off-roader at heart.”
The exterior design of the new Touareg moves further away from the off-road styling of the original, with a bold front grille designed particularly to appeal to the Chinese market. While built on the same VWGroup MLB platform as the new Porsche Cayenne, the only exterior part the two now share is the front windscreen. Exterior designer Frank Bruse told Autocar: “The key difference is that we were allowed to do our own door panels – before we had to share with the Cayenne. That gave us more freedom.”
At 4878mm, the Touareg is 77mm longer than before. It is also 44mm wider (1984mm) but 7mm shorter (1702mm). With the rear seats up, the boot has a capacity of 810 litres, 113 more than the previous model. The aluminium and steel body helps make the car 106kg lighter than before.
The dashboard is built around VW’s new Innovision Cockpit, which merges a 15in infotainment touchscreen with a 12in digital instrument cluster. The customisable infotainment screen also controls features such as smartphone integration, air conditioning and seat massage functions, while analogue controls remain for the volume and other ‘frequently used switches’.
A range of driver assistance features come as standard, including traffic jam assist, lane assist, autonomous emergency braking, a night vision camera and a driver fatigue warning.
Standard equipment includes LED lighting all-round, multi-coloured interior LED lighting and a 1270mm long sliding panoramic roof.
The Touareg is designed with a range of customisation options based on three optional trim levels: the wood-dominated Atmosphere; Elegance, based on metal colours; and the sporty R-Line. All three will feature spoilers and side sills, with R-Line also gaining wheel arch extensions.
The Touareg will be able to tow trailers of up to 3.5 tonnes.
Say hello to the new (third-gen) Volkswagen Touareg!
After an extensive teaser campaign, Volkswagen has whipped the covers off its third-generation Touareg in Beijing, finally revealing its fresh flagship SUV in full.
The Wolfsburg-based automaker’s latest SUV runs on the MLB Evo platform already underpinning the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus.
The new Touareg measures 4 878 mm long, which makes it some 77 mm longer than its forebear. Furthermore, it comes in at 44 mm wider than before while its roof is 7 mm closer to the ground at 1 702 mm. With the rear seats in place, VW claims luggage capacity of 810 litres, which is 113 litres more than the second-generation model.
Inside, you’ll notice Volkswagen’s new Innovision Cockpit, which links a centrally mounted 15-inch infotainment touchscreen with the brand’s familiar 12-inch digital instrument cluster.
Engine options – depending on market, of course – will include a 3,0-litre V6 turbodiesel in two states of tune (170 kW and 210 kW) and a 250 kW 3,0-litre V6 petrol, while a 4,0-litre V8 turbodiesel (310 kW) and a plug-in hybrid (270 kW) are also on the cards.
We recently published spy photographs of a production-ready version of the next-generation Volkswagen Touareg SUV which gave us a clearer look at what it will look like. Now, the new Touareg has made its official debut at the Beijing Motor Show and all the details have been revealed! Take a look at what the new Touareg has to offer...
The big Volkswagen Touareg is a luxury SUV which has impressed us over the years, but it hasn't been able to quite deliver the sales. We suspect the allure of sister brand Audi's Q7 and the calibre of other German luxury SUVs have stifled the Touareg. This means that the next generation of Volkswagen Touareg needs to be better than good.
The third generation Touareg is underpinned by the long-wheelbase version of the MLB platform that spawns models such as the Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne.
The Touareg will be powered by a 210 kW 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel paired with VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive system and an 8-speed automatic transmission. A less powerful, 170 kW 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine will also be offered as well as a 250 kW 3.0-litre V6 turbopetrol engine. Volkswagen will introduce the flagship 310 kW 4.0-litre V8 turbodiesel later in 2018. A plug-in hybrid Touareg is also expected at a later stage.
The Touareg is also equipped with air suspension that can increase ride height by as much as 70 mm for offroad driving. An optional offroad pack will offer additional driving modes, a larger fuel tank and underbody protection. The Touareg's wading depth has also been increased by some 80 mm to 570 mm. More so, new technology for the Touareg includes four-wheel steering which will improve the Touareg's manoeuvrability and enhance agility and directional stability at speed. The new Touareg has a maximum towing capacity of 3.5-tonnes using a retractable towbar.
Key design details
The Touareg is some 106 kg lighter thanks to its lightweight aluminium construction and its dimensions have increased by 44 mm in width and 77 mm in length compared with the outgoing model.The cabin is larger too and load bay capacity has increased by 113 litres to a capacious 810 litres.
The new Touareg is packed with a wide range of new technology including a stylish Innovision infotainment system that comes in the form of a curved 15-inch touchscreen and a 12-inch digital instrument cluster that provides information to the driver. Thanks to the large touchscreen display, there are now fewer buttons found in the cabin.
Availability in SA
Volkswagen South Africa has confirmed that the new Touareg will be launched locally in the third quarter of 2018. Exact dates have yet to be confirmed. We will keep you updated as soon as local specification and pricing details become available.
Volkswagen presented the completely redeveloped Touareg in China - the flagship of the brand. Equipped with the connectivity of a new era and a pioneering fusion of assistance, comfort, lighting and infotainment systems, the Volkswagen Touareg points the way to the future. At the same time, the exclusive SUV charges up its market segment with pure dynamism. The largest markets for what is now the third generation of the Touareg are China, Europe and Russia. Worldwide sales of the previous two generations amount to nearly one million units. The Volkswagen Touareg - as comfortable as it is dynamic - has, as the most technically advanced Volkswagen of its era, the potential to enthuse technology and design savvy drivers of premium class models of all sorts, reaching new target groups as well.
Premiere of the Innovision Cockpit
Volkswagen is presenting the fully digitalised Innovision Cockpit for the first time in the new Touareg. Here the digital instruments (Digital Cockpit with 12-inch display) and the top Discover Premium infotainment system (with 15-inch display) merge to form a digital operating, information, communication and entertainment unit that hardly needs any conventional buttons or switches. Always-on, offering intuitive control and maximum personalisation - with the Innovision Cockpit, the Volkswagen Touareg provides the blueprint for tomorrow's digital interior today.
A focus on people
Drivers use the Innovision Cockpit to adapt the assistance, handling and comfort systems to their personal tastes; the car becomes 'their' Touareg. This opens up a world in which the driver and on-board guests no longer have to adapt to the car; rather the car adapts to them. Like a new smartphone, the Volkswagen is set up and tuned to personal needs. This is made possible by a new high level of connected systems and programmes - controlled via digital interfaces and the multifunction steering wheel.
Fusion of new assistance, handling and comfort systems
The VW Touareg is launching with the largest range of assistance, handling and comfort systems ever to be integrated into a Volkswagen. They include technologies such as the 'Night Vision' assistance system (detects people and animals in darkness via a thermal imaging camera), Roadwork Lane Assist (semi-automated steering and lane keeping, accelerating and braking up to 60 km/h), Front Cross Traffic Assist (reacts to cross traffic in front of the Touareg), active all-wheel steering (makes the Touareg handle like a compact car), new roll stabilisation with electro-mechanically controlled anti-roll bars and 'IQ.Light - LED matrix headlights' (interactive, camera-based dipped and main beam headlight control) and a 'Windshield Head-up Display' projected directly into the windscreen. The driver experiences these systems as a single unit in the new Volkswagen Touareg. They are simply there - interconnected via a new central control unit - working imperceptibly in the background and making travel safer, more convenient and more intuitive than ever.
New dimensions and reduced weight
Compared to its predecessor, the third generation Touareg is moderately wider and longer. The new dimensions have positive effects on both the vehicle's proportions and its amount of interior space. The added exterior length leads, for example, to a significantly larger luggage compartment: its capacity has increased from 697 to 810 litres (with rear bench seat up). Cargo there is hidden from onlookers by an optional electrically extending and retracting luggage compartment cover. Despite its increased length and width, the car body is 106 kg lighter because of its mixed material construction of aluminium (48 per cent) and high-tech steels (52 per cent).
Launch with V6 engines
In 2018, Volkswagen will be offering the new Volkswagen Touareg with a new plug-in hybrid drive (270 kW/367 PS system power), initially in China. The exact European launch date for the Touareg with a plug-in hybrid drive is still open; in Europe, two V6 diesels with 170 kW/231 PS and 210 kW/286 PS will be offered at first. This will also be followed by a V6 petrol engine (250 kW/340 PS) and a V8 turbodiesel (310 kW/421 PS) for many different markets.
VW ADMITS ‘BIG CHALLENGE’ IN DESIGNING NEW TOUAREG
The man responsible for the exterior design of the new Touareg admits it was a “big challenge” attempting to ensure that the third-generation flagship SUV’s styling appealed to both Chinese and European buyers.
“It’s a big challenge. Chinese people want a bold front: chrome means status. In Europe, they don’t want cars that are showy or loud, so we have to find a compromise,” Frank Bruse told Autocar.
“Size is a big thing, too. In China, it can’t be big enough, but in Europe we can’t go too big; we talk about the ‘five-metre barrier’,” he added.
Bruse furthermore told the British publication that he nevertheless enjoyed a degree of freedom when designing the new Touareg, thanks to its flagship status.
“It means everyone looks closely at it, but there is more freedom and money to do things you can’t do on, say, a Polo or Up. For example, the headlights are quite expensive, but we can use them here first, then later introduce them on other models,” he said, according to Autocar.
“The key difference is that we were allowed to do our own door panels – before we had to share with the Cayenne. That gave us more freedom,” Bruse said, referring to the fact that the new Touareg shares its Volkswagen Group platform with the likes of the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne.