The third-generation Volkswagen Touareg will be the most technologically advanced model the German car maker has ever produced.
Built on the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform, which also underpins the Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga, the big five-seat SUV will remain a more affordable than the other two. But it’s not exactly a budget offering, with pricing expected to start from about $90,000 and an options list that may take the price tag well into six figures.
The Touareg’s completely redesigned interior will introduce Volkswagen’s fully digitalised ‘Innovision Cockpit’ featuring a 12-inch digital instrument cluster and 15-inch infotainment screen (and complemented by a head-up display).
The two screens blend to create a customizable interface with menus and displays that can be tailored to suit individual tastes. It’s also used to control all of the car’s major functions, which does away with most of the physical buttons and results in an elegant and clutter-free dashboard.
Other innovations include Night Vision, which can detect people and animals on the road ahead via a thermal imaging camera; Roadwork Lane Assist (semi-automated steering and lane keeping, accelerating and braking up to 60 km/h) and Front Cross Traffic Assist, which reacts to traffic approaching from each side.
The all-new Touareg is 44mm longer and 77mm wider than the current model but 106kg lighter, resulting in what VW claims will be sharper handling. Roadholding will be enhanced by active all-wheel steering, and roll stabilisation with electro-mechanically controlled anti-roll bars. Air suspension, replacing the conventional steel springs, will also be available.
The bigger dimensions mean more interior room and boot space, with the latter increasing from 697 litres to a cavernous 810L.
The Touareg will initially arrive with a choice two V6 turbo diesel engines, producing 170kW/500Nm and 210kW/600Nm. Following these are a 250kW/450Nm turbo petrol V6 and eventually a flagship 310kW/900Nm V8 turbo diesel. There is also a 270kW plug-in hybrid powertrain that’s so far only slated for the Chinese market.
Each engine will be coupled to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system with Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual on-road drive modes, and off-road settings including Snow, Off-road Auto, Sand, Gravel and customisable Off-Road Expert.
An optional off-road pack will beef up the Touareg for dirt road touring, with an underbody protection system including radiator, fuel tank and 12-volt battery guards, rugged aerodynamic underbody fairing and stone impact protection. Two towing eyes and increased fuel capacity, from 75 to 90 litres, are also included. All Touaregs will have a decent 3.5-tonne maximum braked towing capacity.
The next-generation Touareg comes in three spec levels: Atmosphere, Elegance and R-Line. The Atmosphere spec features wood trim and natural colours, while Elegance is more tech-inspired with metal and related colours. As per other VW models, R-Line has a more athletic feel that extends outside with spoilers and side sills.
Standard inclusions across the range are:
- LED matrix headlights
- LED tail-lights
- LED daytime running lights
- Cooled glovebox with LED lighting
- Leather steering wheel with paddle shifters
- Sliding rear seats with tilt-adjustable backrests
- Auto-dimming rear vision mirror
- Electric folding and heated door mirrors
- Automatic differential lock
- Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Assist
- 4MOTION Active Control
- Speed-dependent power steering control
- Standard 'Discover Pro' 9.2-inch infotainment system with navigation
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support
- Rain-sensing windscreen wipers
- Push-button start
- Dual-zone climate control
- Lane Keeping Assist
- Driver Alert System
- Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
- Traffic sign detection
Australian specifications and pricing will be announced closer to the Touareg’s local launch date in the second half of 2018.