2022 marks the 20th anniversary of Volkswagen's most luxurious SUV ever, the Touareg. In its third generation since 2018, the midsize sport utility vehicle with premium aspirations is preparing for a mid-cycle update likely to be released at some point next year. In the meantime, a couple of prototypes were spotted recently testing in the Alps. The first one cleverly concealed its redesigned front with fake stickers in typical VW fashion.
But it's the second prototype that has us scratching our heads since VW went to the trouble of applying an unusually large amount of camouflage. While it would've made sense for an all-new Touareg, this is merely a nip and tuck to keep the posh SUV fresh without investing too much money. Like the other test vehicle, this one too was hauling around a dynamometer and was being driven at fairly low speeds.
Volkswagen Touareg Facelift New Spy Photos
The disguise even covered the front and rear number plate, and you can also notice a strap that holds together the camo on the roof and bonnet. Upon closer inspection, the Touareg prototype has a folded piece of disguise on the roof that likely covers the windscreen when the vehicle is parked. VW wants to hide the prototype's interior to keep the cabin away from prying eyes for whatever reason.
The dynamometer hints at updates under the bonnet for the 2023 Touareg while the visible exhaust tips reveal the prototype had a combustion engine. We're not necessarily expecting more power since automakers are now prioritising efficiency to keep up with increasingly stringent emissions regulations. With Euro 7 looming, VW wants to make sure its ICE-powered vehicle will be thrifty enough so that the German automotive conglomerate will avoid paying hefty fines for exceeding emissions limits.
Don't hold your breath for the V8's return as the torquetastic 4.0-litre diesel was retired with the Last Edition a couple of years ago. The oil-burner offered an immense 900 Nm (664 lb-ft), which is 200 Nm (148 lb-ft) than what you get in the Touareg R with its plug-in hybrid V6 powertrain.
The midsize SUV is fairly competent off the beaten path thanks to a 4Motion setup and a Torsen central differential lock, but we're sure some would've wanted a body-on-frame SUV based on the new Amarok. However, VW recently said it's not going to happen.