Volkswagen Sport Coupe Concept GTE - an exercise in future think
Getting its grand global unveiling at Geneva, the Volkswagen Sport Coupe Concept GTE introduces a new progressive design language foreshadowed in the Cross Coupe GTE Concept that VW presented at the Detroit Auto Show in January. According to Walter de Silva, Head of Design of Volkswagen AG, the GTE Concept's edgier, 3D character mixes evolution with revolution and "shows how the highest-volume brand of our group is shaping the immediate future." Calling it "another milestone of expressive design," Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design of the VW Brand, adds: "With this concept car, Volkswagen is not only showing a new model's design, but also initial glimpses of a new design era." That forward thinking extends not only to its outward appearance but also to its avant-garde interior and an advanced AWD hybrid powertrain.
A step up in class on every level
While we're still inclined to believe a good deal of this new visual language will filter its way into Volkswagen's next-gen CC model that's expected to go into production late next year, the automaker is quick to point out that the Sport Coupe Concept GTE is one size-segment larger. Wider, longer and even lower than the Euro-spec Passat, this striking 5-door with a roofline that recalls an Audi A7 also boasts 9.0-inches of additional wheelbase. Besides adding a new sense of drama to the car's overall proportions, that strategic stretch greatly increases the amount of legroom for its two rear-seat passengers. Spun from VW's modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform, the Sport Coupe Concept GTE features full LED lighting that adds high-tech drama to the bold visual signatures of the car's front and rear fascia treatments. It dynamic profile is capped with a panoramic glass panel and further enhanced by crisp character lines and aggressive 21-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 265/30 tires.
Making the biometric connection
Inside, the Sport Coupe Concept GTE displays similarly advanced character cues. Taking a page from sister-company Audi, this VW-to-be features the prototype of the firm's new Active Info Display with a 12.3-inch screen and free-form mode-configurable instrument cluster as well as a new 10.1-inch center infotainment screen flanked by touch-sensitive slider controls for its 4-zone heating/air conditioning system. Beyond a full array of navigation/connectivity touches, the Sport Coupe Concept GTE also introduces a new interactive element that can monitor a driver's biometric data via a smartwatch or armband and then make custom-tailored routing suggestions to deliver the maximum amount of "driving enjoyment." The system bases its recommendations on a number of other inputs, including real-time data from other cars using any proposed route.
Trimmed in leather set off with aluminum, piano black, and faux wood, the spacious cabin of this engaging one-off also features a full-length console complete with its own 12.3-inch display that allows rear-seat passengers to access/operate a number of features and functions. These include perusing the on-board media library and setting climate controls as well view programming on individual 10.1-inch video screens embedded into the back of each front seat.
Hybrid power with a GTE twist
The Sport Coupe Concept GTE is fitted with an advanced gasoline/electric AWD plug-in hybrid powertrain that matches a 3.0-liter turbocharged TSI V6 developing 295 horsepower with a pair of electric motors - a 54-horse unit integrated into the 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and a 114-horse rear-mounted motor that provides all of the drive to the aft axle. Collectively, the setup makes 374 horsepower, sufficient to send the Sport Coupe Concept GTE from 0-62 mph in 5.0 seconds and let it reach an electronically limited 155 mph top end. As one would expect, the VW system allows for a host of driver-selectable operating modes, including gasoline-powered FWD, as an on-demand AWD Hybrid, or as a pure EV. When running in its greenest form, a 10.7kWh lithium-ion battery pack located in the car's center tunnel can supply enough charge for 32 miles of zero emission travel. Additionally, this trick VW has a "GTE" button that, when engaged, adds an extra measure of sportiness to the throttle, transmission and steering.
We look forward to seeing just how much VW's Sport Coupe Concept GTE does end up influencing the look and technology of the upcoming CC remake. Or whether the production vehicle it previews will simply turn out to be an upsized/upscaled replacement for the CC in the automaker's lineup.
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