Next generation large 4x4 snapped desert testing in California
14 July 2009

This is the next generation VW Touareg, spied testing in the California desert ahead of its mid-2010 launch.

Its undisguised centre section and flared rear end give the best clues to its new shape, which is designed with the need to make aerodynamic and efficiency gains in mind.

See the full VW Touareg gallery here

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As well as being sleeker, the new VW Touareg is expected to be lighter as the company seeks to counter claims of large 4x4s being too inefficient for modern day use.

A weight saving of around 150-3000kg has been mooted as a target, although the higher target may be only achievable on base models that will be offered with only two-wheel drive. The lightest current Touareg, the 3.6-litre petrol V6-powered SE model weighs 2238kg.

VW sources also suggest that a third row of seats could be offered as an option, to address criticisms that the car isn't as practical as some rivals. This is likely to lead to the car having slightly longer wheelbase; the current model is 4754mm long.

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Engines are expected to include updated versions of the 3.6-litre V6 and 4.2-litre V8 petrol units currently available, plus at least two revised turbo-diesel offerings.

A hybrid VW Touareg is also being developed. It will use the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 currently used on the Audi S4 and A6, with the electric motor sitting between the transmission and the V6.

The top-end V10 diesel is expected to be dropped.

The reworked Porsche Cayenne, also due to be launched in 2011, can be seen by clicking on Next Porsche Cayenne snapped

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Our Verdict

Volkswagen Touareg

The second-generation Volkswagen Touareg has gone on a diet and become more efficient

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week