Intended to gauge public opinion for a potential future addition to its U.S. lineup, the Volkswagen Alltrack Concept makes its world debut in New York. Although this intriguing one-off is spun from a European Passat Wagon platform, VW has advised that any production model it may spawn would almost certainly use different architecture.

>2012 New York Auto Show full coverage

Motivation for the Volkswagen Alltrack Concept is supplied by VW’s 2.0-liter turbocharged TDI Clean Diesel engine that makes 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of peak torque. Gear-changing duties are handled by the automaker’s 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. The on/off-road versatility of this crossover is heightened by a bespoke version of VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system that custom tunes key vehicle dynamics and assist systems, changing programming of the antilock brakes, electronic differential locks and engine torque mapping at speeds of up to 18 mph.

When the Volkswagen Alltrack Concept is operating in off-road mode, throttle mapping is tweaked to create a “longer” pedal that fosters more controllable power input, and shift points are raised to keep engine revs up when the going gets tougher. Switching the Alltrack Concept’s DSG transmission to its manual gate prevents automatic upshifts from occurring, and its standard Hill Descent Control automatically swings into action whenever the vehicle encounters a gradient of 10 degrees or more, applying the brakes and deactivating the optional adaptive cruise control.

Created to look as well as act the part of a go-almost-anywhere travelmate, the Volkswagen Alltrack Concept boasts aggressive styling cues that include bold fascia treatments, flared side skirts, black fender/spoiler lip/rear-diffuser accents, matte-chrome window surrounds/side-mirror housings/grille-trim strips, anodized silver roof rails, front foglights and dual chrome exhaust outlets. On a functional front, the Alltrack Concept’s ride height/ground clearance is raised by 1.2 inches compared with a standard Passat Wagon – a feature that, combined with the revamped fascias, improves its approach, departure and breakover angles. The Alltrack Concept also features large steel skidplates at both ends that provide an extra measure of protection for the vehicle’s engine, transmission, exhaust system and rear differential.

Although its future is still officially in question, we’d be surprised if some form of Volkswagen Alltrack didn’t find its way into American showrooms in the not-too-distant future.


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