Following the well-received reveal of its CrossBlue SUV Concept in Detroit, Volkswagen chose the Shanghai Auto Show to unveil its new CrossBlue Coupé Concept. Offering what VW claims is "a spectacular glimpse at the future and at a new era of SUV design," this 5-passenger plug-in hybrid clearly is far more than a one-off wonder. While stopping short of saying that it represents a first look at the next-gen Touareg, Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen Brand, did note: "The CrossBlue Coupé shows the potential of our Volkswagen design DNA and will undoubtedly have an influence on future SUV models."
Based off the automaker's new Modular Transverse Matrix "MQB" platform architecture, the CrossBlue Coupé Concept is slightly larger than the current Touareg but has a 3.4-inch longer wheelbase as well as significantly wider front/rear track dimensions. Finished in a brilliant CrossOrange Metallic, its crisply rendered and well-proportioned bodywork is set off by steeply raked A- and C-pillars and subtle side character lines that complement aggressive 3D-look fascia treatments, fore/aft skid plates, and custom 22-inch polished alloy wheels wrapped in specially crafted 285/40 performance tires.
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The CrossBlue Coupé Concept is fitted with an advanced plug-in hybrid system based around a 295-horsepower, direct-injected turbocharged gasoline V6 that supplies drive to the front wheels via a 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. It's paired with two electric motors/generators. The front unit develops 54 horses and the rear pumps out 114 ponies. Both are energized by a 9.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack located in the vehicle's center tunnel. Collectively, this sophisticated hybrid setup turns out 415 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, sufficient to send the CrossBlue Coupé Concept streaking from 0-62 mph in 5.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 147 mph.
In pure EV mode - in which the V6 is fully decoupled from the drive system and the rear motor is the sole supplier of motive force - the CrossBlue Coupé Concept has a range of up to 21 miles and can reach a speed of 75 mph. Capable of traveling up to 720 miles with its gas and electric reservoirs full, it reportedly returns 79 mpg on the Euro cycle for electric hybrids, compared to the 34.1 mpg number it generates running strictly on gasoline.
This slick VW crossover features a number of driver-selectable settings to optimize hybrid operation under all conditions. The default Eco mode is programmed to use electric power whenever possible but seamlessly return to gasoline or a gas/electric mix as required. The driver also can select Sport mode for maximum performance, Offroad that nets full-time all-wheel drive, and the aforementioned pure EV mode as well as a dedicated Charge mode that supplements the regenerative potential available under braking and/or coasting by using the V6 to help replenish the battery pack on the fly. Located under a door on its left rear flank, the plug-in port on the CrossBlue Coupé Concept incorporates both a 230V traditional input socket for the battery and a 230V/16A interface that allows the vehicle to function as an emergency generator.
Cleanly styled with decidedly minimalist flair, the cabin in the CrossBlue Coupé Concept matches Anthracite Pearl and Asphalto Nappa leather with real wood and bright/matte metal trim elements. Notable cool details include a programmable instrument cluster with mode-specific display readouts, 10.1-inch center multi-function touchscreen, premium Dynaudio sound system and a pair of mobile mini iPads in the front seatbacks that offer a varied multimedia experience to passengers in the spacious aft quarters. While its dramatically raked rear pillar/liftgate compromises cargo capacity to a certain extent, the 60/40 split rear bench does fold nearly flat to increase usable space. How much of the CrossBlue Coupé Concept eventually finds its way into Volkswagen showrooms remains to be seen. But based on Bischoff's observations and the seemingly well-sorted engineering presented in this forerunner of the future, VW appears serious about taking the genre to a new and more intriguing level.
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