These are the latest spy shots of Volkswagen’s new flagship model that will likely keep the Touareg nameplate, but move up the proverbial ladder in the brand’s range.
When the Germans presented the T-Prime Concept GTE in near production form at last year’s Beijing Auto Show, they said it gave us “a first glimpse of Volkswagen’s future flagship” adding that it would either directly replace the Touareg or form the base for a larger model.
Apparently, VW decided to do both by replacing the Touareg with a larger and more luxurious model, which makes sense after the introduction of the 7-seater Atlas for North America and Teramont for China, which encroaches on the current Touareg’s territory at a much lower entry-point, starting from around $30,000.
We spied two different prototypes of the next Touareg, both of which had their front and rear ends buried under camouflage, but the SUV’s nude profile gives it away, confirming that it won’t deviate much – if at all, from the edgier T-Prime study. Comparing the pictures of two, we can see that, as well as the fact that they should be almost identical in dimensions.
At 199.6 inches (5,070mm) long, 78.7 inches (1,999mm) wide and 67.2 inches (1,707mm) tall, the concept is considerably longer (+ 6.7 inches or 171mm), a bit wider (+1.3 inches or 34mm), but also 1.5 inches or 40mm lower than today’s 2nd-generation Touareg.
While the study has seating for four on individual seats, it’s almost certain that the production car will have seating for up to seven in three rows, though we could see VW offering the former four-seat solution as part of a more luxurious package, as BMW intends to do with the future X7.
Underpinning the third generation of VW’s flagship SUV is the long-wheelbase version of the group’s MLB platform, used by the new Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga and the next Porsche Cayenne. As such, there shouldn’t be any surprises in the powertrain department, with the Touareg to launch with 2.0-liter TFSI turbo four and 3.0-liter supercharged TFSI V6 gasoline engines, 3.0-liter V6 diesels and later on, a V8 TDI and a plug-in hybrid pairing a 2.0L four-cylinder with an electric motor. Don’t bet on seeing the diesels in North America.
As VW’s flagship model after the demise of the Phaeton and the restructuring of the SUV range, the new Touareg is expected to show off all the latest technological advancements, including the introduction of the T-Prime’s futuristic touch-screen system that encompasses the instrument panel and upper center console, if not standard, at least as an option. In the concept, the screen acts as a huge tablet allowing users to tailor its appearance simply by moving around tiles.
While VW has yet to confirm a launch date, the new Touareg should be presented either later this year or in early 2018 and begin arriving in dealerships from the second half of next year.
Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoops