Volkswagen has unveiled a new five-seater midsize SUV concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Cross Coupé GTE is a plug-in hybrid with all-wheel drive, and previews Volkswagen’s new US design language, combining German engineering with the American way of life.
The new car’s debut at the show, which runs from 12-25 January, comes ahead of the start of production at the end of 2016 of a new seven-seater midsize SUV at Volkswagen of America’s Chattanooga factory in Tennessee.
The Cross Coupé GTE is the third concept car presented by Volkswagen in the run-up to the introduction of the production version. Together, all three concept cars – the CrossBlue presented in Detroit in January 2013, the CrossBlue Coupé most recently shown in Los Angeles in November 2013 and the Cross Coupé GTE that is now being presented at the NAIAS – represent a part of the wide spectrum of SUV variants that can be realized through the modular transverse matrix (MQB), and were developed with the aim of offering an SUV in North America in the near future that is consistently tailored to the US market.
Although the design of all three SUVs was based on the Volkswagen design DNA and share common stylistic features, the latest model breaks with previous concepts, increasing the momentum towards series production. The Cross Coupé GTE measures 4,847mm long, 1,736mm high and 2,030mm wide. “The concept car has a commanding presence,” says Klaus Bischoff, chief designer at Volkswagen. “It is powerful with a look that could almost be described as aggressive. Numerous details hint at how we envisage a future production SUV model for North America.’
Powering the Cross Coupé GTE is a 3.6-liter V6 petrol engine in combination with two electric motors. The six-cylinder direct-injection engine (FSI) delivers 280ps and maximum torque of 350Nm, while the two electric motors deliver 40kW and 220Nm (front) and 85kW and 270Nm (rear). They are powered by a compact lithium-ion battery housed in the center tunnel, with energy content of 14.1kWh. The total output of the drive system is 360ps, powering the Cross Coupé GTE to a top speed of 209km/h. The Cross Coupé GTE can be driven in five different power modes: E-Mode, Hybrid, GTE, Offroad and Battery Hold/Battery Charge.
In E-Mode, the Cross Coupé GTE can travel in zero-emission mode for up to 32 km*, with the 85kW rear axle electric motor alone driving the vehicle and the V6 FSI decoupled from the drivetrain by disengaging the clutch and shutting down. As soon as the six-cylinder engine needs to be restarted due to the battery charge status or other parameters, it engages smoothly in the drivetrain again in a fraction of a second.
The Cross Coupé GTE also has a number of different driving profiles: Onroad (with sub-modes Comfort and Eco), Offroad (with sub-modes Rocks, Sludge, Sand & Gravel), Sport and Snow – each of these profiles changes the set-up and driving characteristics of the car. In Offroad, all four wheels are powered as soon as the driver activates the mode. If Offroad is engaged and the battery state of charge is low, the front electric motor is employed exclusively as a generator, driven by the V6 FSI to provide the power for its counterpart on the rear axle. As the power to drive the rear axle flows by wire and not mechanically, it is referred to as an ‘electric cardan shaft’. As the FSI drives the rear electric motor via the front electric motor in off-road mode, all-wheel drive is available even when the battery has a low state of charge.