Longer, lighter, V6 gasoline and diesel engines, and with the brightest LED headlights in its class.

Originally introduced back in 2002, the Touareg represents Volkswagen’s luxury SUV and for its forthcoming third generation it will be promoted to the role of a flagship model in the aftermath of the Phaeton’s demise. While some automakers have the tendency to overuse the term “all-new,” it’s an accurate way to describe the 2019 Touareg as we are about to show you.

Revealed:

What is it?

A sister model of the latest Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne, but also related to the posher Bentley Bentayga and even the Lamborghini Urus, the Touareg is a midsize SUV with premium aspirations set to usher in new tech for the VW core brand. Compared to the outgoing model, the new generation will shave off around 100 kilograms (220 pounds) as a result of switching to the MLB Evo platform shared with the aforementioned SUVs. Despite the massive diet, don’t expect the Touareg to be even remotely light as the base model will tip the scales at just under two tons.

It’s going to be eight centimeters (3.1 inches) longer than the current version, with most of the stretch going into the wheelbase to free up more legroom, especially for rear passengers. The increased footprint will also pay dividends in terms of cargo capacity, with a volume of 810 liters to be available.

What does it look like?

Knowing VAG and its approach towards design, we are not expecting any huge changes in regards to the appearance of the 2019 Touareg. However, it will be more than just a simple case of an evolutionary design as the new generation will get the same fancy front fascia as the Arteon, with the headlights and grille joined together. By the way, the new generation is set to gain the brightest full-LED headlights in the segment.

Thanks to fully revealing spy shots (see below), there’s actually not much of a mystery regarding the exterior design. At the back, there are completely new and slimmer taillights lending the big SUV a sleeker appearance, while the “Touareg” lettering in the middle is similar to what the Arteon features. Perhaps the best news about the vehicle’s derrière is the fact that the visible exhaust tips, which by the way are bigger on the gasoline-powered model, are not just for décor as these are fully functional. Hooray.

While the exterior won’t represent a significant departure from its predecessor, a revolution will take place inside the cabin. The revamped dashboard will host a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster accompanied by a huge 15-inch touchscreen, which will become the biggest landscape-oriented infotainment in the car industry. These two will form what VW calls an “Innovision Cockpit” and will provide a plethora of customization possibilities. While the folks from Wolfsburg haven’t released any teaser images so far of the new cockpit, expect it to be similar to what the T-Prime concept had:

VW T-Prime Concept GTE
VW T-Prime Concept GTE

Elegance and Atmosphere packages for the interior along with chrome and black line packages for the exterior are on the list of goodies.

What’s under the hood?

Initially, VW will sell the 2019 Touareg with a choice of two V6 engines, a gasoline and a diesel. The former will be good for 340 horsepower while the latter (likely the bread and butter of the sales) will have 286 hp and a torquetastic 600 Newton-meters (443 pound-feet).

In 2019, a stronger V8 turbodiesel will be added to the range. A plug-in hybrid derivative is also in the offing, though VW hasn’t decided whether to go with a four-cylinder or a six-cylinder combustion engine (likely the latter).

If you plan on taking your new Touareg on extended journeys, we’d recommend getting the optional 90-liter fuel tank as opposed to the standard 75-liter capacity for a longer range.

Technology

Beyond the aforementioned digital cockpit, the overhauled Touareg will feature a clever GPS-based cruise control that will automatically adjust speed depending on what’s up ahead. Night vision and head-up display systems are also on the list, as is a completely new sound system.

A more important feature is all-wheel steering: up to 31 mph (50 kph), the rear wheels will turn opposite to the front wheels. Beyond 50 kph, the rear wheels will turn in the same direction as the front ones.

There’s also a high-tech air suspension providing multiple settings: between 25 mph (40 kph) and 43 mph (70 kph), it jacks up the suspension by 25 millimeters (one inch); after that speed, it reverts to the normal position. Switch to sport mode and the ride height will drop by 25 mm, which will also happen automatically in normal mode by driving at speeds between 75 mph (120 kph) and 87 mph (140 kph) for more than 30 seconds. Beyond 140 kph, the Touareg automatically lowers itself by 25 mm, while in offroad mode the SUV is raised by up to 70 mm (2.8 inches) in the maximum setting.

When will we see it?

VW has announced it will unveil the all-new Touareg on March 23 in Beijing, China. Sales will likely kick off in the following months, but not in the United States as VoA has decided not to bring the new generation to the U.S. As before, the model will be built alongside the Q7 and Cayenne at the factory in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Attached below is a lengthy video (+20 minutes) shot in Zaragoza, Spain, from where some of the info has been sourced.

2018 VW Touareg undisguised spy photos