With Volkswagen on a drive to become the world's largest automaker and restore its ailing U.S. business, the German automaker took aggressive swipe at the burgeoning SUV market tonight with a new concept, the Cross Coupe GTE.
The Cross Coup is the third concept car VW has presented derived from a seven-seat mid-size SUV it plans to build in its Chattanooga, Tenn. plant in late 2016. The Cross Coupe GTE is plug-in hybrid concept that shares its underlying MQB architecture with the Volkswagen Golf.
Typically VW reserves the GTE name for it’s sportier plug-in vehicles, and the Cross Coupe is no different; from stop to 60 mph takes just 6 seconds and top speed is 130 mph With a variety of operating modes including all electric, hybrid, GTE, off-road, and a charge mode, VW says the Cross Coupe will get 70 MPGe.
The new concept is powered by a 3.6 V-6 engine that puts out 276 hp and is paired with two electric motors, with 54 hp and 114 hp respectively, for a total of 335 maximum hp. VW says the car will go up to 20 miles in EV mode. A 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission offers four driving modes including On-road, Off-road, Sport, and Snow.
The visuals of the new Cross Coupe GTE are stylish with dual exhaust pipes mounted in the bumper, well-defined wheel arches and a huge glass sunroof that stretches along the entire length of the car. From the side, the car is vaguely reminiscent of Audi Cross Lane Coupe shown at the Paris Motor Show in 2012. The daytime running light layout with four LED headlights and four “LED light wings” on the Cross Coupe GTE are the same that will be on future production models.
On the inside, the Cross Coupe GTE is sleek and simple with most of its functions controlled by a 10.1-inch touchscreen in the center console. Complete with proximity sensors and gesture control, passenger and driver can browse and play music using swipe motions in front of the panel. Maps can be displayed in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional formats and the layers can be manipulated and even reordered based on user preference. Each layer can show things like current altitude and route and position.
The 12.3-inch display behind the steering column is digital and can be customized based on driver desire and selected drive mode. The driver can also choose to add information like route and navigation to the binnacle if so desired. The gear select is low and mouse-shaped and looks very similar to those used in some Mercedes-Benz models. In the rear of the car, tablet attachments are available in the headrests and climate controls are manipulated via touchscreen.
Because the Cross Coupe GTE shares the same architecture as the Golf, the SUV could be produced with conventional gasoline or diesel engines, as well as natural gas, electric, fuel cell, or plug-in hybrids.