Feast your eyes on Volkswagen's 2011 Touareg design, which reflect the firm's new Walter da Silva-mandated approach. Notice how the emphasis is on horizontal lines and a nose bearing a wide grill between oblong lamps.
Hints of an SUV still remain; the hood and body sides have fewer, crisper feature lines. Mostly known for its tremendous off-road capability, the Touareg is outfitted with a dual-range transfer case, locking differentials and huge wheel articulation. VW is throwing out a lot of the hardcore hardware, however, these will remain on the options list.
It's a pretty smart move since the Touareg can still be rightfully called as a true off-road SUV yet base prices can be dropped a little. Spyshots of mules for the 2011 Touareg show unchanged wheelbase and tread (note: a present generation Touareg 2 is shown).
For the new model, the basic platform is not changed radically, applying only mass-reduction measures like the use of aluminum. Clearly wanting to be known as the downsized engine specialist, Volkswagen has made economy gains in Europe by replacing many of its 1.8 and 2.0-liter engines with direct-gasoline-injection forced-induction 1.4s -- including one with both a turbocharger and a supercharger.
The V8 will be replaced with a supercharged V6 making 290 horsepower and 310 pound-feet from just 3.0-liters, coupled to an eight-speed automatic. The group's 3.0-liter clean diesel will also be available. The Touareg will continue to exhibit an outstanding mileage (18/25 mpg in the current heavy Touareg) and 400 pound-feet-plus of low-rev torque. The hybrid version of the Touareg will have higher performance.
This technology, using the same V6 supercharged engine as the standard gas Touareg, has already been demonstrated in a prototype Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid using the old VR6 engine. While VW will launch the hybrid system in the new Touareg body, the Cayenne carries on with the current body for at least two more model years.