Making its global debut in Shanghai, the Volkswagen C Coupe GTE Concept is an upscale sport sedan that reportedly previews an upcoming production model aimed directly at the burgeoning Chinese market. Filling a currently empty slot between the Passat and the upcoming Gen II Phaeton luxury sedan, this sophisticated plug-in hybrid also offers a styling preview of what we can expect from the German automaker in the years ahead. At its reveal, Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design of the Volkswagen brand noted: "The future of the new Volkswagen premium class models is starting in Shanghai because the C Coupé GTE very clearly shows the new 'face' of top Volkswagen sedans for the first time." In addition to demonstrating the firm's premium standards, Bischoff added "The evolution of the Volkswagen design DNA shown here will accompany us worldwide, and on the way to the new Phaeton."

Rolling on towards tomorrow 

Finished in "Golden Atmosphere" as an homage to China, the C Coupe GTE Concept is the first VW vehicle to be based on its new "MLB" (Modular Longitudinal Matrix) platform. Measuring 199.7 inches from nose to tail, it rides on generous 118.7-inch wheelbase and features a wide track dimensions that further reinforce is dynamic flair. Expanding on several the design elements seen earlier on the Sport Coupe Concept GTE unveiled in Geneva, this new C-segment 4-door features more sophisticated detailing that's most evident in its fascia treatments. Up front, a new five-bar bright grille helps connect the car's slimline LED headlamps while C-shaped LED running lights - signature cues for VW EV and plug-in models -- sit above a thin chrome accent element that encircles the entire lower perimeter of the vehicle. A parallel motif at the rear sees its LED taillamps set off with a wider extension of the lower garnish that incorporates the car's dual paired exhaust outlets. The C Coupe GTE Concept's profile view is equally impressive, matching crisp character line with gracefully rendered pillars and rounding out the look with 22-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 265/30 tires. Beyond its basics, this showpiece is the first VW to feature exterior ambient lighting, a tweak that adds subtle but distinctive illumination to everything from its primary logos and headlamp bezels to its door handles and fender trim. 

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The C Coupe GTE Concept's spacious, richly-appointed 4-seat cabin reflects its VW's intent of having be chauffeur-driven during business hours but owner operated on weekends. Slip behind the wheel and you have full access to the latest version of VW's multi-mode Active Info Display as well as a 12.3-inch central infotainment screen that incorporates a "Today's Schedule" that provides a concise rundown on upcoming activities for those being squired about in the C Coupe GTE Concept's lounge-like rear quarters. Split by a full console that contains a cooled champagne box, each of the individual power-adjustable/climate-controlled thrones faces a 9.5-inch media screen integrated into the front seatbacks. A mobile control unit - smartphone or tablet - is used to activate whatever entertainment form is desired and also operates a 600-watt Dynaudio premium sound system.  

Exhilaratingly efficient  

Motivation the front-drive C Coupe GTE Concept is a gasoline-burning turbocharged/direct-injected 2.0-liter/207-horsepower 4-cylinder TSI engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with its own 122-horse electric motor. Developing a collective 242 ponies and 369 lb-ft of torque, that combo has sufficient thrust to send the car from 0-62 mph in 8.6 seconds. The motor is directly energized by a 14.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack that can provide up to 31 miles of pure EV range at speeds of up to 81 mph. Top speed of this trick VW is 144 mph and total range is over 684 miles while returning the equivalent of 102 mpg on the European NEDC combined cycle. To help maximize its capabilities, the car can operate in Hybrid, electric-only E-Mode, sporty GTE or Battery Charge/Battery Hold settings, the latter to boost or maintain charge levels until the car can be plugged in to an outlet or dedicated charger.

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