While previous encounters with the next generation Volkswagen Touareg have been of cobbled together mules, these are the first few photos of an actually prototype testing somewhere in the US.
While the design and powertrain are usually the headlining features of a new model, in the case of the Touareg a rumoured 300kg-plus weight loss has become the focus of its development.
This has been done not only to improve fuel economy but also performance when the shared chassis makes its way over to Porsche and Audi for their Cayenne and Q7 SUV replacements.
Along with the weight loss, the underpinnings have been lengthened by a few centimetres to improve interior space and better accommodate and optional third row of seats.
As for the styling, the Touareg will take on a more purposefully sporty persona with significant changes to the front fascia, grille, headlights, rear fascia and taillights.
Powertrains should include updated versions of the 3.6-litre V6 and 4.2-litre V8 petrol engines along with one or two turbo diesel offerings.
Volkswagen has also hinted at a Hybrid Touareg which should sport a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 – sourced from Audi’s new S4 and A6 – along with an electric motor that will sit between the transmission and the V6.
Sources have also indicated that the new Touareg will also be cheaper, although this is likely to be the result of VW stripping out a few of the luxury items for the lower trim levels.