Although the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg won't have its formal -- and more detailed -- coming out party until the Geneva Auto Show, VW has released some photos and basic information on the next generation of its mid-size, all-wheel-drive SUV. Key among the Touareg's many impressive changes is that it will be available for the first time with a hybrid powertrain option.
Visually, the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg boasts a trimmer, more athletic appearance than its predecessor, with front styling details that bring it more closely in line with VW's latest corporate face as seen on the Golf and CC passenger cars. The Touareg's slimming down extends to its physical structure, as well, as the base model is nearly 460 pounds lighter and 20-percent more fuel efficient than the outgoing counterpart -- despite being slightly longer and lower and riding on a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase. Inside, new 2011 Volkswagen Touareg benefits from a similarly functional upgrade regimen that endows it with more style, greater comfort and added utility -- including the welcome arrival of a sliding rear bench seat.
While no U.S. powertain specifics have been confirmed, we expect the 2011 VW Touareg to arrive in the fall offering buyers three different choices. The existing 3.6-liter/280-horse gasoline V6 and torque-rich 3.0-liter/221-horse turbodiesel six are rumored to largely carry over intact, but they'll definitely be joined by the aforementioned hybrid option. It consists of a 3.3-liter gasoline-burning V6 that reportedly makes 328 horsepower in Euro trim teamed with an electric motor assist that adds another 46 ponies to its cleaner, greener corral. All three of the Touareg's motivators will be backed by a standard, and first-in-segment, eight-speed automatic transmission.