Volkswagen is preparing its 2011 Touareg, and the company's most expensive expensive Stateside offering is slated to lose weight. Although the German automaker is reportedly aiming for a 600 pound drop, shedding 300 pounds is said to be more realistic, and the going speculation is that the mass will be taken out of the SUV's exceptional four-wheel-drive capability.

In terms of its sheetmetal, the Touareg is being designed by Walter de'Silva, the pen behind the Audi Q7, TT, and A5 among other VW Group products.

Part of the diet challenge is that the SUV is also widely expected to gain a third row, going from a five-seater to a seven-seater, in part to distance itself from its newer, less-expensive Tiguan brethren.

If Car and Driver's sources are on their game, word is that the U.S. engine lineup won't change, but the European V10 diesel will be swapped out for the Audi V8 TDI (already employed in the Q7), and the W12 will go on hiatus, possibly to return in sunnier economic times. There will also be a hybrid in the offing, with the same supercharged 3.0-liter V6 setup seen in Porsche's Cayenne Hybrid.

[Source: Car and Driver]