Volkswagen unveil hybrid-powered Coupé-SUV crossover
What you are looking at here is the Volkswagen Cross Coupé GTE concept, a SUV that will be powered by a hybrid powertrain. It also features styling that is likely to become prominent on future models produced by the German brand.
Underpinning the concept is Volkswagen Group’s MQB modular transverse architecture. This is the same platform on which the Golf family have been created. Although it may not look like it, at 4,847mm in length, the Cross Coupé GTE is very close in size to the company’s Touareg, a model that is due to be replaced in 2016, demonstrating the flexibility of the platform.
At the front is a dominant grille which integrates seamlessly into the LED headlights. A huge air dam nestles in the front bumper and is traversed by a metallic blade. Chunky arches wrap around oversized alloy wheels which results in hints of both coupé and off-roader. The Cross Coupé’s sporty intentions are further emphasised by the narrow glasshouse and sloping roofline.
Inside, the cabin has been left simple and intuitive for all occupants, especially the driver. Infotainment functions are handled by a 10.1-inch touchscreen whilst ahead of the driver, a graphic representation of the dials is displayed via a 12.1-inch display.
Front seat passengers sit in leather-wrapped sport seats whilst those in the rear sit on a split-folding bench that is comfortable for three and which offers its owner added practicality.
Under the bonnet lays a conventional 276bhp 3.6-litre V6 internal combustion engine that has seen service in the previous generation Passat and Škoda Superb. It is linked to two electric motors. The higher output 116bhp motor sends 199lb ft of torque to the rear wheels whilst a smaller unit provides an additional 54bhp and 162lb ft of pulling power to the front.
The combined power output is 355bhp – enough to propel the Cross Coupé GTE to 62mph in 6.0 seconds before going on to reach a maximum of 130mph.
The driver is able to select one of five different drive modes which offer various compromises between efficiency and performance. In the most efficient ‘E-mode’, the Cross Coupé GTE will only draw its power from the rear electric motor, giving it up to 20 miles of pure electric propulsion. This should be enough to satisfy the daily commutes of many drivers.
The default setting is Hybrid, with the other three settings being ‘Off-Road’, ‘Battery Hold/Battery Charge’, and ‘GTE’ being the most performance oriented.
In ‘Off-Road’ mode, the system ensures that all four wheels receive power at all times. In the event that the rear electric motor is running low, this automatically initiates the front unit to act as a generator, powered by the engine, to send charge to the rear.
The Cross Coupé GTE is the third model in a series of Cross Coupé styling exercises that will preview a US-market SUV. A production version is intended to reach production in late 2016 and will be built at the company’s Chattanooga factory in Tennessee. Volkswagen describe the GTE as a “five-seater midsize SUV … [that previews] Volkswagen’s new US design language, combining German engineering with the American way of life”.
This article was prepared by First4Auto the independent car news specialists