Volkswagen is about to launch updated Transporter, Caravelle, Multivan and California models – the four basic versions of an internationally best-selling vehicle line (dating back to the famous air cooled, rear-engined models) that has sold in the millions over the decades.

The Multivan and California passenger versions will be launched at the Frankfurt motor show next month and the commercial van variants will follow in October.

VW said the redesigned range produces lower exhaust emissions and is more fuel-efficient, comfortable and safer than its predecessor.

The ‘T5′ series’ new nose styling follows the ‘new Design DNA’ already seen on the ‘Mark Six’ Golf and Scirocco sports coupe. There are new tail lights and bumpers and fog lights inset in the bumpers also serve as cornering lights.

Four new turbodiesel engines now have common rail injection system reducing fuel consumption by up to 1.9 litres/100km and CO2 emissions are down by 52g/km so all engines now comply with EU5 emission standards.

The 103kW/140PS engine has a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry and the top-line 180PS engine has a two-stage charger.

The 85kW/115PS petrol engine is carried over but now complies with EU5 emission standards.

VW claims the optional seven-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG) optional with diesel engines is a class first while four-wheel drive (4Motion with fourth generation Haldex coupling) is also optional. DSG and 4WD will be available together from early next year.

Safety features include standard hill-start assistant, updated ESP and new optional driver assist systems.

Interiors have been completely redesigned with new instruments and updated radio and navigation systems including a unit with touch screen and hard drive.

The Transporter version can now be ordered with a new double front passenger seat bench which includes an integrated folding stowage compartment – these commercial models will be launched in mid-October.

See also: FRANKFURT PREVIEW: New VW Caravelle and California Campervan get world debut