Volkswagen revealed its totally new, third-generation Touareg at an event in Beijing on Friday - quite fittingly as this is the premium SUV’s largest market.

Talking size, the redesigned SUV - which shares its MLB Evo platform with the Bentley Bentaya and Audi Q7 - is slightly longer and wider than its predecessor, yet loses 106kg thanks to its mixed material construction of aluminium and high-tech steels.

Its increased size is most apparent in the boot, for which maximum capacity with the rear seats in place swells from 697 to 810 litres, but the real party is up front, where occupants get to enjoy a totally new ‘digitalised’ interface.

VW refers to this as the Innovision Cockpit, where a 30.4cm digital instrument cluster flows seamlessly into a 38cm central infotainment and operational hub that’s absorbed practically all the controls and functions to the point where hardly any conventional switches or buttons are needed.

The newcomer also boasts the largest collection of driver assistance and comfort functions ever to make their way into a VW, including a semi-automated steering, lane-keeping, accelerating and braking system that operates at speeds of up to 60km/h, Front Cross Traffic Assist and a thermal imaging camera that detects people and animals at night. 

The Touareg will also be available with LED matrix headlights with camera-based main beam headlight control.

As per some of its platform partners, handling assistance comes in the form of active all-wheel steering and a roll stabilisation system featuring electromechanically-controlled anti-roll bars.

The engine range will vary depending on the market, but VW’s international press pack mentions two V6 turbodiesels offered in 170kW and 210kW guises, a 310kW V8 turbodiesel, a 250kW V6 petrol and a 270kW plug-in hybrid variant.

The South African line-up will be announced in due course, with the first cars expected in showrooms towards the end of this year.

IOL Motoring