China is Volkswagen’s largest market, and the Middle Kingdom has a voracious appetite for SUVs. It’s no surprise, then, that Wolfsburg has unveiled the latest version of its Touareg in Beijing, the first time the company has ever held a world premiere in the country.

Sitting on the new MLB Evo platform shared with the latest Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga, the third-generation Touareg debuts a suite of new technologies hiding under its sharp suit. On the outside, the brand’s latest design language is clear to see, with a chrome-laden version of Volkswagen’s wide grille; the headlight graphics blend seamlessly into the horizontal slats.

Along the side, there are fake front fender vents like on the Arteon, plus a crisp shoulder line and a prominent rear haunch. The rear receives wide two-piece tail lights, a full-width reflector and twin tailpipes.

The new Touareg is longer, wider and slightly lower than before, measuring 4,878 mm long, 1,984 mm wide and 1,702 mm tall, with a 2,894 mm wheelbase. Despite the increased dimensions, the car is 106 kg lighter than before, thanks to a mixed-material construction featuring 48% aluminium and 52% high-tech steels.

Inside, the dashboard is dominated by the novel Innovision Cockpit – this seamless display setup combines the 12-inch Digital Cockpit instrument display with a massive 15-inch (!) centre touchscreen of the range-topping Discover Premium infotainment system. Together, they form a digital operating, information, communication and entertainment unit that dispenses with most of the hard buttons or switches.

Volkswagen says that the increased dimensions have benefitted interior space, with the boot having been expanded significantly from 697 litres to a massive 810 litres – and that’s with the rear seats up. There’s an optional power-retracting and extending cargo cover to keep prying eyes away.

Additions to the Touareg’s safety arsenal include Night Vision, Front Cross Traffic Assist, active all-wheel steering, roll stabilisation with electromechanical anti-roll bars (à la Bentayga) and a head-up display. There’s also Roadwork Lane Assist that features semi-automated steering and lane keeping, accelerating and braking at speeds of up to 60 km/h, along with IQ.Light – LED matrix headlights.

At launch, the engine range in Europe will consist of just two V6 turbodiesels putting out 231 PS and 286 PS, with 340 PS turbo petrol V6 and a 421 PS V8 turbodiesel available in selected markets. A plug-in hybrid version with a total system output of 367 PS is being developed for the Chinese market, but Volkswagen has yet to provide a timeframe for the petrol-electric Touareg’s introduction in Europe.