All-new SUV flagship debuts in Beijing

The next-generation Volkswagen Touareg has been revealed in Beijing, ahead of an Australian introduction next year.

Pitched as "Volkswagen's claim in the premium class", the new Touareg is a showcase of the brand's latest design, technology and luxury – as any flagship model should.

In terms of looks, the Touareg is instantly recognisable as a Volkswagen, featuring a large, chromed front grille with integrated headlights, a design feature becoming a mainstay in the company's model range.

The overall body shape is more squared-off than the previous version, again something rolling out across the company's latest-generation models. A prominent character line runs from the front fenders through to the tailgate, giving the impression of a wide, muscular rear.

It's larger than its predecessor, too. Volkswagen says the new Touareg is bigger in just about every dimension (though exact figures aren't quoted in the global press release), and luggage space has increased to 810L with the rear seats in place – up from 697L.

Additionally, it's a significant 106 kilograms lighter than the old model too, thanks to its new mixed material construction utilising aluminium (48 per cent) and high-tech steels (52 per cent).

Inside, the new Touareg is a world away from the previous model. Gone are the traditional dials and small infotainment system, replaced by a fully-digital instrument cluster measuring 12 inches, and an even larger central display measuring a whopping 15 inches.

Described as "the blueprint for tomorrow's digital interior today", the dual-screen 'Innovision Cockpit' setup apes the concept first seen on various high-end vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Range Rover – very schmick.

The overall cabin design is more driver-focused in terms of the angling of the screens, while the increased dimensions contribute to improved passenger space, not that the old one was small though.

Volkswagen has added a raft of new assistance, comfort and handling technologies to the new Touareg as well. For starters, there's a new Night Vision system, which uses thermal cameras to detect people and animals in the dark – something that five to ten years ago was only available on the most expensive of luxury vehicles.

Other technologies available include Roadwork Lane Assist (semi-autonomous accelerating, braking, steering and lane keeping up to 60km/h), four-wheel steering, roll stabilisation with electromechanically-controlled anti-roll bars, LED matrix headlights, and a head-up display.

Engine options include two V6 turbo-diesels (170kW, 210kW), a V6 turbo petrol (250kW) and a V8 turbo-diesel (310kW) – all of undisclosed capacities, though we reckon the six-cylinder models are 3.0-litre units, while the V8 should be a 4.0-litre. China will also get the option of a plug-in hybrid variant, rated at 270kW.

Australia

Volkswagen Australia has confirmed it's expecting the new-generation Touareg to arrive locally in the second quarter of 2019.

For our market, the V6 turbo-diesel is a confirmed sure-starter, while the V8 turbo-diesel high on the wishlist but not confirmed at this stage. The local division isn't ruling out the V6 petrol either.

However, the plug-in hybrid won't be coming here as previously reported. Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest Volkswagen Touareg updates.

Click the photos tab for more images