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We’ve seen mules of the next generation Volkswagen Touareg for some time but now we’ve got our hands on the very first photos of an actual next-generation Touareg prototype testing somewhere in the United States.

Sources are suggesting the new 2011 Touareg will be significantly lighter, rumors suggest up to some 300 kilograms than the current model. We can only assume this is mainly to cut down on the current car’s not-so-spectacular fuel economy, plus it will no doubt go a long way to improve the Touareg’s driving dynamics.

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However don’t think it’s getting smaller, if anything the 2011 Touareg is expected to grow a few centimetres to accommodate for a more roomy interior and even an optional third row of seats (perhaps only as jump seats that fold flat).

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Volkswagen aims to bring the new generation Touareg up a notch to stand out like its brothers the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. We suspect the new model will be more sporty and less utilitarian. Sources say the front fascia, grille, headlights, rear fascia and taillights will get a rework whilst the interior will also be updated.

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Much like the current shared development, the new generation Touareg will lend its chassis to the next generation Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. So far as power trains go, nothing is really determined but VW already hinted at a Hybrid Touareg at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show so it’s in the works.

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Although any plans for the launch of a hybrid Touareg seems relatively far away, when it does eventuate, we are told it will be powered by a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 (same motor found in Audi’s new S4 and A6) along with an electric motor that will sit between the transmission and the V6.

In order to better differentiate itself from its German brothers, the new Volkswagen Touareg may retail for less this time around. The new Touareg should start production sometime in the second half of 2010 as a 2011 model year vehicle.




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