Last week, we reported that Volkswagen was testing a hybrid version of the Touareg SUV. Our sources now tell us that the Touareg Hybrid has been upgraded from prototype status to an official production vehicle with a target release date in 2011.

Under new management at VW, the company’s hybrid strategy has shifted from applying gas-electric technology to small cars to larger more expensive vehicles. The Touareg V6 TSI Hybrid will be VW’s first production hybrid vehicle. It will hit the European market next year, and arrive in the US by the middle of 2011.

A company spokesperson said the gas-electric SUV will offer “maximum power with minimum consumption,” thanks to a supercharged direct-injected V6 engine tied to a 38-kilowatt electric motor. The hybrid variant will join the standard gasoline model and a forthcoming diesel-powered version—which replaces the V10 TDI, a vehicle which had the dubious distinction as the dirtiest vehicle on the market according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

As a full hybrid vehicle, the Touareg will achieve an estimated 26 miles per gallon in combined driving. That’s a 15 percent improvement over the gas-powered Touareg. And in city driving, the Touareg hybrid is expected to beat out most large SUVs by as much as 25 percent. It will also offer electric-only operation at speeds up to 30 miles per hour.

In terms of performance, the Touareg Hybrid will yield 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. A special boost function for high acceleration or towing maneuvers will push output to 369 horses and an axle-twisting 406 pound-feet of torque. The Touareg will have a zero-to-60 time of less than seven seconds, and a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds.

Pricing details are not yet available.