2022 marks 20th the birthday of Volkswagen’s most luxurious SUV, the Touareg. In the third generation since 2018, a mid-sized sports vehicle with premium aspirations is preparing a mid-cycle update that is likely to be released at some point next year. Meanwhile, several prototypes were spotted recently being tested in the Alps. The former cleverly hides the redesigned front with fake stickers in a signature VW style.
But it’s the second prototype to have us scratching our heads since VW went to the trouble of applying an unusually large amount of camouflage. While it makes sense for the all-new Touareg, it’s simply an attempt to keep the luxury SUV fresh without investing too much money. Like the other test vehicles, it also carried a dynamometer and was driven at a fairly low speed.
The disguise even covers the front and rear license plates, and you can also see the straps that attach the camo to the roof and hood. Upon closer inspection, the Touareg prototype has a folded cover piece on the roof that likely covers the windshield when the vehicle is parked. VW wanted to hide the interior of the prototype to keep the cabin away from prying eyes for whatever reason.
The dynamometer hints at an under-the-hood update to the Touareg 2023 while a visible exhaust tip reveals the prototype has a combustion engine. We don’t necessarily expect more power as automakers are now prioritizing efficiency to keep up with increasingly stringent emissions regulations. With Euro 7 looming, VW wants to ensure its ICE-powered vehicles will be economical enough that the German auto conglomerate will avoid paying hefty fines for exceeding emission limits.
Don’t hold your breath for the return of the V8 as the torque 4.0 liter diesel was retired with the Last Edition a few years ago. The oil burner offers a whopping 900 Nm (664 lb-ft), which is 200 Nm (148 lb-ft) than what you get in the Touareg R with the plug-in hybrid V6 powertrain.
This midsize SUV is competent enough thanks to its 4Motion setup and Torsen center differential lock, but we’re sure some people want a body-on-frame SUV based on the new Amarok. However, VW recently said that would not be the case.