The Volkswagen Touareg has achieved only modest sales since its launch in 2003, mostly because of its lack of seven-seater capability and premium price tag compared with many of its Japanese rivals. The second-generation model is now in the works and will hopefully address many of the issues of the current version. Due to be launched in late 2010 as a 2011 model, the new Touareg will be slightly smaller than the current one but will feature a range of more fuel efficient engines, be able to seat up to seven passengers, and likely include a hybrid variant.
The new platform will be shared with the next-generation Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7 and will feature increased use of aluminum to keep weight down. It will also be slightly sportier and adopt styling influences from the more recent Tiguan SUV. These latest spy shots show a prototype with a sticker marked "switch off the main power,” which suggests that this may be a new gasoline-electric hybrid.
Porsche is planning a hybrid version of its Cayenne SUV next year and this model’s drivetrain could easily end up in the Touareg as well. In the Porsche Cayenne, the hybrid system will feature a 333 horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 teamed with a 52 horsepower electric motor.
As for the rest of the powertrains, the new engine lineup for the 2011 Touareg is expected to start with a 280 horsepower 3.2-liter V-6 gasoline engine and top out with a 345 horsepower 4.2-liter gasoline V-8. A pair of diesel engines will also be on offer including 2.7-liter and 3.0-liter turbodiesels. All the engines will be matted with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, although VW’s new 7-speed DSG may also be made available.