Is Volkswagen's Beijing Concept a Touareg Preview?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Volkswagen has teased a plug-in hybrid SUV concept bound for the Beijing Motor Show later this month, but the powertrain numbers are reminiscent of a model recently axed.

From the images provided, the Beijing Concept SUV has flanks far more sculpted than we’re used to seeing from Volkswagen, but it’s in keeping with the brand’s new design language. It’s a large SUV that looks to be of the two-row variety, a niche currently filled by the venerable Touareg.

The vehicle’s dimensions aren’t stated, but Volkswagen says the concept’s plug-in powertrain makes a total of 376 horsepower and 516 pounds-feet of torque. In fully-electric mode, the vehicle can travel up to 31 miles without burning a drop of gas, while delivering a combined 78 miles per gallon on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). The automaker claims a 0-62 mile per hour time of six seconds.

Volkswagen says the concept previews the latest in digitalization, as well as showing off the brand’s efforts in elevating sportiness and elegance in SUV design.

For the 2016 model year, Volkswagen killed the hybrid version of the Touareg, which made 380 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque, and hit 62 mph in 5.8 seconds. Mileage wasn’t outstanding, and the added technology hugely inflated the price.

Knowing this, the numbers given for the Beijing Concept seem familiar, minus the battery-only range and mileage. Volkswagen has been looking to boost its green bona fides (and sales) ever since the diesel emissions scandal broke, and crossovers and SUVs are seen as the biggest money makers for this or any company.

A model with numbers like the Beijing Concept could challenge green SUVs like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and possibly the more upmarket Volvo XC90. Volkswagen already has a three-row SUV nearing production, while the Touareg received a mild refresh this year after the current generation bowed for 2011.

Whether the Touareg is replaced by a new model in the near future or adopts the styling cues and powertrain of the concept remains to be seen, but it’s clear the company wants (and needs) to add some vigor to its utility offerings.

[Images: Volkswagen of America]

Steph Willems
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  • Pdl2dmtl Pdl2dmtl on Apr 18, 2016

    German electronics..... hmmmm..... let me think for a second. No. There's a reason there are no more german electronics manufacturers. Because they stink. Last company that was making something even remotely worthwhile was Blaupunkt. Are they still around? How about Grundig....errr... Eton. So no. I would not trust a gas powered car let alone hybrid coming from Vaterland. I've been burned. My 2 cents.

  • Hummer Hummer on Apr 18, 2016

    " It’s a large SUV that looks to be of the two-row variety, a niche currently filled by the venerable Touareg." Touareg is neither large nor SUV. Seems like VW is on a race to the bottom, the largest portions of buyers they have in America are the sorority girls and the euro teens that think a 4 cylinder cabrio lowered with massive camber is in some way "cool". So they are now planning to spend less money on the cache of buyers they still attract and more money on a highly over saturated hybrid market. Sounds genius.

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
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  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.