VW Cross Coupe Debuts

VW Cross Coupe Debuts

2011 Tokyo Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • VW's sporty off-road concept features a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
  • VW describes the Cross Coupe as "part four-door coupe, part compact SUV."
  • The concept "hints at the future of SUV design at Volkswagen."

TOKYO — Volkswagen's sporty Cross Coupe off-road concept, which makes its global debut at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Show, is significant in several respects. Built on the automaker's new MQB modular platform, the compact crossover provides a sharp glimpse into the company's plans for plug-in hybrid powertrains, as well as a better sense of VW's evolving design language.

The all-wheel-drive concept falls in size between the VW Golf hatchback and the Tiguan crossover — both of which will eventually share the MQB architecture when their replacements hit the market — but looks like neither.

Stylistically, the Cross Coupe has more in common with the redesigned Passat, at least from the front. The four-place concept, according to VW, is "part four-door coupe, part compact SUV," with a relatively long wheelbase and short overhangs. Created under the direction of Walter de Silva and Klaus Bischoff, the Cross Coupe "hints at the future of SUV design at Volkswagen."

The concept looks more aggressive than many of the company's current models, with bulging fenders that shroud 265/45R20 tires on 20-inch alloy wheels.

Power comes from a plug-in hybrid system that bundles a pair of electric motors — one in front and one in back — with a small direct-injection gasoline engine that does double duty as both a generator and a source of motive power for the front wheels. Power is stored in a lithium-ion battery pack, which is designed to plug into a 230-volt outlet.

The TSI gas engine makes 148 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque and is mated with a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. The 40kW electric motor in front delivers 133 lb-ft and the 85kW motor in the rear produces 199 lb-ft. The combined system is rated at a maximum 262 hp and is capable of driving only the front or all four wheels.

The combination is peppy, providing 0-60 acceleration in less than 7.0 seconds, with a top speed of 125 mph. In pure electric mode, the Cross Coupe has a range of up to 25 miles; top speed is limited to 75 mph. Average fuel economy on the new European driving cycle is 87 mpg, giving the concept a theoretical range of well over 500 miles.

The driver can switch among three modes — City, Sport and Off-Road. There is also a user-programmable instrument cluster behind the three-spoke steering wheel. The cabin is outfitted with four individual sport bucket seats and such details as aluminum rotary switches and a touchscreen display that controls and monitors such functions as navigation and infotainment.

Edmunds.com says: More personality than the Tiguan — if that's not damning with faint praise.

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