The new VW Touareg is 20 per cent more fuel efficient than the outgoing model, and according to those in the know in Wolfsburg, that wasn’t an easy saving to make.

When VW CEO Martin Winterkorn laid down that 20 per cent target two years ago, the lead engineers responsible for the car knew they would have to work differently in order to make extraordinary gains. And that’s exactly what they did.

New VW Touareg unveiled

Ordinarily VW engineers work in conventional teams. One team works on chassis, another body, another powertrain, another aerodynamics, and so on. And all of them work largely independently, moving closer together as the car nears completion.

With the Touareg though, Jochen Bohle, head of technical development for the car, decided to poach one expert from every team and throw them all together to work towards one aim: bringing the car’s emissions down. This team had operational veto over every decision during the Touareg’s development. If a chassis engineer wanted to fit wider wheels, or if the powertrain team needed more cooling, they had to refer to the CO2 team. And if the CO2 team said no, they’d be sent back to think again.