Volkswagen might translate to "people's car," but that hasn't stopped the automaker from attempting to crack into the premium end of the market. The Phideon is currently fighting the battle alone, but if the new Beijing Concept SUV is anything to go by, VW's artillery of cars aimed at the high end is set to expand. Kitted out with a hybrid powertrain to challenge the Volvo XC90's fancy T8 setup, the Beijing hints at the direction VW will take with its next range-topping four-wheel drive.

As is becoming the norm at the top-end of the market, Volkswagen has focused on the 'S' in SUV. Thanks to its punchy 376 hp (280 kW) of power and 700 Nm (516 lb.ft) of torque, the Beijing Concept will sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.0 seconds, or 0.4 seconds faster than a Golf GTI.

Punchy performance hasn't come at the cost of economy because the Beijing's hybrid setup is, according to Volkswagen, capable of returning 78 MPG (3 l/100km) on the New European Drive Cycle, making it slightly less efficient than the Volvo XC90 or BMW X5 xDrive 40e.

Where the Beijing manages to outdo the Beemer and Volvo is all-electric range. Whereas the X5 will only manage 19 miles (31 km) and the XC90 will be calling on petrol power after 25 mi (40 km), VW says its concept will cover 31 miles (50 km) without any local emissions.

You'll notice all the numbers quoted by VW seem remarkably realistic, especially compared to some of the claims it has made when it comes to concept cars. It might be a concept, but we wouldn't be surprised if the next production Touareg bears a striking resemblance to the Beijing, both on the style front and under the hood.

As you might have gathered by now the Beijing hasn't yet been fully revealed, which means we can't show what the interior looks like. Volkswagen does say the SUV's cabin will be a "lounge-style" setup focused on passengers, and the car's Active Info Display and infotainment system will be merged. To us, that sounds a lot like Audi's Virtual Cockpit - but we'll reserve judgement until more details are available.

Source: Volkswagen

View gallery - 4 images