Upcoming Volkswagen Transporter T7 spotted testing around the Green Hell, ahead of its launch later this year
Our spy photographers have spotted the next-generation Volkswagen Transporter T7 at the Nurburgring, with a reveal for the new van imminent.
Coming in both panel van and people carrier guises, it will provide renewed competition for the Mercedes Sprinter and Ford Transit Custom.
Although this Transporter prototype doesn’t look like it’s wearing any camo wrap, look closer and you’ll see some clever vinyl trickery designed to mislead onlookers about the van’s styling.
The headlamps are masked up, while the grille features fake chrome trim designed to look like that on the nose of the Mk8 Golf. Around the back, there are some fake vertical tail light stickers, which appear to be hiding a pair of horizontal lights and a full-width light bar, also inspired by the latest Golf. The wing on the tailgate is a new addition, though, which we expect will make its way onto the most expensive versions of the Multivan.
When it reaches showrooms, the Transporter T7 will be available with a range of combustion engines and a new plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Volkswagen has revealed some limited details about the hybrid system along with teaser images on the van’s interior design. The eHybrid will have its lithium-ion battery mounted under the cabin floor, meaning there’s no negative impact on passenger space. Providing there’s enough charge, the system will also automatically start in EV mode, with the petrol engine only cutting in at higher speeds.
As an added benefit, Volkswagen also says that the battery’s placement low-down in the chassis drops the van’s centre of gravity, which “has a positive effect on handling.” Our previously spotted development mules show the charge flap for the system will be mounted on the front right quarter panel.
Specifications for the plug-in hybrid system are yet to be confirmed, but we expect the T7 will use the tried-and-tested powertrain from the Mk8 Golf GTE and new Tiguan eHybrid. It comprises a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 84kW electric motor, offering a maximum combined output of 180kW and 400Nm of torque.
The rest of the Transporter’s engine range will be made up of the Volkswagen Group’s familiar range of turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engines, which are used in cars such as the Tiguan and SEAT Ateca SUVs. Like the T6.1, this new model should be offered with either front- or four-wheel drive, too.
Volkswagen has previously said that the seventh-generation Transporter will improve every aspect of its predecessor’s design, claiming the T7 will be: “more sustainable, more comfortable, safer, more intelligent, better connected and higher quality than ever before.”
Most of these improvements will be thanks to a shift onto the same MQB underpinnings as the company’s latest passenger cars, which should bring some packaging benefits and give the T7 access to Volkswagen’s newest interior technology.
Judging by Volkswagen’s cabin teaser, the new Multivan will get the same dual-screen infotainment system as the latest Golf. The flagship model should feature a digital instrument cluster and a 10-inch infotainment system, along with the usual suite of safety equipment such as lane-keeping assist, cruise control and a blind-spot monitoring system.
The Multivan’s interior also looks to be modular, with the individual rear seats mounted on adjustable rails. They also appear to have a swivel function, allowing passengers to circle around the central table to socialise.
Volkswagen has already teased the new Transporter’s front end and, while the shadowy image gives little away about its features, we’re expecting it’ll be an evolution of the outgoing model’s design, with a few touches lifted from the brand’s current passenger car range.
It’ll feature a similar front end to the latest Golf, sharing the same winged LED headlamps, bumped contours and a kindred radiator grille. Spy shots also show the van will have slightly more rounded corners, a wider glasshouse and a slightly lower window line.