Volkswagen’s new Touareg has been a long time coming. With a rumoured debut coming in early 2018, and promises of being more upmarket and more advanced than the outgoing model, the German manufacturer isn’t skimping out on its new SUV.

While early prototype spy photos have given us an idea as to how it might look, cameras recently captured the new SUV in full while out on a shoot for its new adverts.

On first glance, the new Touareg is more modern and much sleeker looking than the model that it replaces. The front end adopts a sculpted grille, integrated headlights and plenty of chrome detailing. Many of the same design elements found on both the T-Prime concept and the new Arteon saloon have been carried over.

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2018 VW Touareg spy photo
2018 VW Touareg spy photo

At the back the Touareg is also showing off its latest updates. Sleeker taillights and a more sculpted rear continue the premium theme, while two chrome exhaust tips can also be seen – though it’s unclear whether they are functional or just for show. Two trim levels are pictured – the blue model gives off a more sporty feel, while the beige vehicle appears to be a more luxurious model from the top of the range.

The new VW Touareg will share its bones with the Audi Q7, riding on VW’s MLB Evo platform. It’s unclear what kind of engine the new SUV will wield, but our best guess remains a base 2-litre four-cylinder unit, with a high-powered R model expected later down the line. The latter could put to use Audi’s 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo petrol engine.

The new Touareg is already being built at VW’s factory in Bratislava, with production kicking off in November. The SUV is expected to make its debut in the metal early in 2018 – it's expected to be presented for the first time at Auto China in Beijing in April.

Gallery: 2018 VW Touareg undisguised spy photos