Volkswagen T-Prime concept could be next Touareg

What you’re looking at here is the next Volkswagen Touareg. More or less.

For now it’s called the Volkswagen T-Prime Concept GTE but, beneath a bit of motor show tinsel, it’s a pretty close preview of VW’s next-gen big SUV, due sometime in 2017.

Under the skin, the T-Prime is based on a super-sized version of the MQB platform. It seats four, though the production version will carry five; a seperate seven-seat SUV is currently under development for the US and China.

There will also be another model based on the latest Tiguan and a smaller Nissan Juke competitor. VW may be behind the curve on SUV range proliferation, but it’s making up lost ground rapidly. You may not like it, but the SUV sales boom means every mainstream manufacturer needs a clutch of the things.

The GTE badge signifies that the T-Prime is a hybrid. A 248bhp 2.0 TSi motor lives under the bonnet, while a 134bhp electric motor is attached to the eight-speed automatic gearbox. They add up to a combined 376bhp and 516lb/ft of torque, enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.0secs and a 139mph top speed.

VW claims a 30-mile EV range, with fuel economy of 105mpg and CO2 emissions 65g/km – assuming you drive with electric power preservation in mind. Otherwise, VW refreshingly honestly admits you’re looking at mid-30s to the gallon.

Inside, the big news is the ‘Curved Interaction Area’. Put simply, the 12in digital instrument display and central 15in infotainment screen are combined into one, enormous widescreen display that does away with buttons entirely.

Apart from the indicator stalks, every control has been moved onto the screens. Even the gear selector. Buttons are replaced by touchscreen controls and voice and gesture commands. While it makes for an appealingly minimalist interior, I always find it difficult to learn where things are on a touchscreen. This kind of system will only really work if it’s not too menu deep. We’ll have to wait and see what the production version looks like.

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By Only Motors

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