Volkswagen is still experimenting with the idea of a sporty crossover coupe with a plug-in hybrid system. The latest outcome of these efforts is the Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE, unveiled at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show (NAIAS), and it is a seven-seater midsize SUV designed according to the “American way of life.”
What sets the Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE apart from the other concepts we’ve seen so far is that it’s a production-intent study, set to enter production at VW’s Chattanooga factory in Tennessee at the end of 2016. The sizable SUV will be based on the famous MQB platform and measures 4,847 mm long, 1,736 mm high and 2,030 mm wide. So it should feel quite comfortable on wide American roads.
The GTE Concept boasts interesting looks, at least for a VW crossover, with enough ground clearance and large enough wheels to at least fool you into thinking it’s a capable off-roader. But more interesting than the looks is what’s under the bonnet, which is a sophisticated hybrid power plant consisting of a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine and two electric motors.
The six-cylinder direct-injection engine (FSI) delivers 280 PS and maximum torque of 350 Nm, while the two electric motors deliver 40 kW and 220 Nm (front) and 85 kW and 270 Nm (rear). That means the total output of the system is 360 PS, which is good for a 0 to 60 mph sprint in 6 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph. The car has different drive modes, including a pure electric one in which it can drive with zero emissions for up to 20 miles or 32 km.
In terms of technology and features, the Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE packs a superb infotainment system with a 10.1-inch touchscreen, and a 12.3-inch Active Info Display. It also features sports seats at the front and a three seat bench in the rear, which can be folded 1/3 or 2/3, creating a continuous flat cargo floor.