Volkswagen has just unveiled its all-new Touareg. The new SUV promises to be bigger, lighter, lower and more fuel efficient than the car it replaces, and will be the first UK model to feature VW's petrol-hybrid system.
The Touareg Hybrid combines a 3.3-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine with a 46bhp electric motor to produce a peak output of 375bhp and 428lb ft of torque. That's enough to propel the SUV to 62mph in 6.5 seconds and onto 149mph, while operating alone the electric motor is capable of speeds of 30mph.
The Touareg Hybrid's conspicuous turn of pace aims it squarely at the corner of the SUV market currently dominated by the Lexus RX450h. Hybrid status earns the Touareg exemption from the London congestion charge, but the car is no eco warrior; 193g/km CO2 emissions put it firmly in gas-guzzling VED band J.
Unless a journey into the centre of London is part of your daily commute, the entry-level 3.0-litre V6 TDI will probably turn out to be a better bet. Its emissions place it in the same VED band as the hybrid, but it returns 38mpg opposed to 34mpg. The range topper features Volkswagen's new 4.2-litre TDI V8, developing 337bhp and 590lb ft of torque. All versions of the Touareg will get an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.
The UK will get four versions of the Touareg; SE, Altitude, Hybrid and Escape. Despite its all-wheel drive capabilities, few customers will purchase the big VW with off-road duties in mind, but the Escape model does offer a 4MOTION system which comprises reduction gearing, and fully-lockable centre and rear differentials.
Expect refinement levels to have been increased inside; Volkswagen is promising a subtle mix of leather, wood and aluminium highlights from an all-new interior. The Touareg remains a five-seater, but there should be more leg room thanks to the SUV's extra length and a sliding rear bench.
Start/Stop technology, touchscreen satellite navigation and leather upholstery will come as standard on the majority of trim levels. Additional options include High Beam Assist which automatically dips the headlights when it senses oncoming traffic, Side Assist to warn of vehicles occupying blind spots, adaptive roll compensation air suspension and air conditioned, massaging seats.
Production of Touaregs bound for the UK starts in June, with initial deliveries expected to commence in August.
Click below to watch the official video of the new Touareg being put through its paces.