Revealed at the 2016 Beijing motor show, it showcases gesture-controlled interior features and a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain.
The T-Prime Concept GTE is described as a precursor to the next Touareg, which Volkswagen says will sit at the top of a five-strong future SUV model line-up.
The production version of the T-Prime Concept GTE will be based on sister company Audi’s MLB platform. This means it may share its construction, electrical architecture and mechanical package with the recently introduced second-generation Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga, as well as future incarnations of the Porsche Cayenne and upcoming Lamborghini Urus.
While the next Cayenne and Urus are set to use a short wheelbase version of the MLB platform, the new Touareg has been conceived around the long wheelbase version, as used by the Q7 and Bentley Bentayga.
As hinted by the new concept, the next Touareg is set to adopt styling first seen on the Phideon. It will have an edgy appearance characterised by a heavily chromed grille, precise feature lines, taut surfaces, large wheelhouses filled with 22in wheels shod with 285/40 profile tyres and a practical five-door layout.
At 5069mm long, 2000mm wide and 1708mm tall, the T-Prime Concept GTE is a considerable 269mm longer and 60mm wider but 20mm lower than today’s second-generation Touareg.
Inside, the T-Prime Concept GTE provides seating for just four on individual seats front and rear. However, Volkswagen officials acknowledge the production version is likely to offer seating for up to seven in three rows of seats in a layout similar to the Audi Q7.
The dashboard of the new concept features a high definition Active Info Display instrument pack, as well as a large 15in high definition monitor in the centre console – the latter acts as a control centre for a variety of controls in a move that has allowed Volkswagen to do away with most conventional switchgear functions. As well as supporting touch control, the monitor can also be controlled via gestures, such as a swipe of the hand.
Also included is a newly developed multi-function steering wheel with touch pads similar to those adopted by the latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
It combines a longitudinally mounted turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 248bhp and 273lb ft with a brushless electric motor integrated into the front section of the T-Prime Concept GTE’s eight-speed automatic gearbox that produces 134bhp and 258lb ft.
Altogether, the combustion engine and electric motor provide a combined system output of 376bhp and a sturdy 516lb ft of torque. This is 1bhp and 89lb ft more than the existing Touareg’s petrol-electric hybrid system, which mates a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 engine with an electric motor but without plug-in capability.
With a Haldex style multi-plate clutch delivering drive permanently to all four wheels, Volkswagen claims a theoretical 0-62mph time of 6.0sec and a 139mph top speed for the T-Prime.
Combined cycle fuel consumption on the EU test cycle is put at 104.6mpg in combined petrol-electric mode, equating to an average CO2 emission figure of 63g/km. However, Volkswagen also quotes a real world figure of 35.3mpg, which provides its new concept with a more realistic average CO2 rating of 187g/km.
Electrical energy can be delivered to the lithium ion battery mounted under the luggage compartment via either a standard 240-volt mains connection at 3.6kW or via a high power 400-volt charger at 7.2kW. The former provides a full charge in eight hours, while the latter is claimed to top the battery up in two-and-a-half hours.
The driver is offered three different driving modes: E-mode, Hybrid and GTE. E-mode provides pure electric running with four-wheel drive up to a range of 31miles on a fully charged battery, according to Volkswagen; Hybrid mode combines the efforts of the petrol engine and electric motor in a consumption optimized state; GTE mode uses the electric motor to boost the performance of the combustion engine to provide full power and torque.