While cars like the Volkswagen up! maintain a "people"s car" image that began with the original Beetle, this teaser for the next Touareg SUV shows VW clearly has its sights set further upmarket.
The Volkswagen Touareg is the largest of the brand"s SUVs, and marked the marque"s first foray into the field when the first generation was launched in 2002. With the Volkswagen Tiguan having already been updated, and a smaller Volkswagen T-Roc now available to order, the all-new Touareg will complete the VWs SUV lineup.
The official sketch above corresponds closely with our exclusive images below, showing a car that shares the expressive look introduced by the Volkswagen Arteon. The next Touareg is expected to be pitched upmarket of the outgoing car – prices could nudge the £70,000 mark and place the biggest VW in direct competition against the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE.
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And while the prospect of a £70,000 Volkswagen may raise a few eyebrows, the continued ascent in public perception of sibling brands Skoda and SEAT means the only way is up for VW, too. This social climbing is best exemplified by the new Volkswagen Arteon, a four-door coupe that competes with the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and other executive models.
The next Touareg will carry distinctive styling cues shared with recent VW models such as the Tiguan and Arteon, and spy shots we’ve seen confirm the accuracy of our exclusive images.
Volkswagen bigwigs are keen for the new Touareg to embody the future of the company. Speaking to Carbuyer, Dr Elmat-Marius Licharz, VW’s head of product line for medium and full-size cars, said the new Touareg aims to “catch what we think is premium for Volkswagen: young, connected and cool.” Licharz explained while the current Touareg “was not as aggressive” as the original model from 2002, the next car will be “much better looking – more of an SUV”.
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VW says the new Touareg’s interior will “come pretty close” to that of the 2016 T-Prime concept. We"re promised "one of the largest digital cockpits in its class" in the guise of Volkwagen"s "Innovision Cockpit". The latest active safety systems, a 4G internet connection and semi-autonomous ability are all likely to be offered.
And while Audi is carrying the hybrid torch for VW Group cars with its forthcoming A8 replacement, the next Touareg is expected to feature a petrol-electric hybrid setup, as well as three diesel options. The most affordable of these is likely to be a 215bhp 3.0-litre, with VW also offering a 270bhp version of this engine.
There’s also the potential for the 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine featured in the Audi SQ7 to make its way into the next Touareg. Volkswagen promises a "safe and dynamic" driving experience thanks to air suspension, rear-wheel steering and roll stabilisation.
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And if you’re not convinced by Volkswagen offering more upmarket versions of the next Touareg, solace can be found in thinking of it as a cut-price Bentley. Just as the VW Phaeton shared its fundamental structure with the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, the next Touareg will sit on the same ‘MLB’ platform as the Bentley Bentayga, a car that costs between £135,000 and £162,000 – before options.
The all-new Touareg will be unveiled in Beijing, China – capital city of the world"s strongest growing SUV market. The wraps will come off on 23 March.