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Future models - Volkswagen - Cross Coupe - GTE

Detroit show: VW's Cross Coupe GTE powers up

Cross fit: Volkswagen's Cross Coupe GTE will be powered by a 3.6-litre direct injection petrol engine, helped along by two electric motors (one for each axle), making it Volkswagen's first plug-in electric SUV.

Volkswagen's first plug-in hybrid SUV, the Cross Coupe GTE, not for Australia

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Volkswagen logo12 Jan 2015

By TUNG NGUYEN

VOLKSWAGEN has thrown the covers off its Cross Coupe GTE plug-in hybrid SUV concept, previewing its intended future design language prior to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), but Australian buyers will miss out on the car-maker's latest SUV.

The all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid SUV is the third stage in an evolutionary design by Volkswagen which was first introduced during the 2013 Detroit show in the form of the CrossBlue concept, which was later refined as the CrossBlue Coupe shown most recently at the 2013 Los Angeles motor show.

Looking similar to its CrossBlue Coupe cousin, the Cross Coupe GTE is now finished in a light blue and has done away with the large front and rear scuff plates, edging the plug-in hybrid SUV ever closer to production.

The concept has similar dimensions to BMW's X5 and will act as the five-seat version of the seven-seat CrossBlue that is set to join the car-maker's American line-up in 2016 or 2017.

Volkswagen Group Australia general manager of communications Karl Gehling confirmed that, similar to the Golf and Passat GTE models, Australians will miss out on the Cross Coupe GTE.

“We don't have any plans to add the model to our range at this point,” he said.

“We think it would be a nice product to have, but its only available in left-hand drive at the moment. At this stage there are no plans to offer it locally.”

Volkswagen chief designer Klaus Bischoff believes they have designed an SUV that will stand the test of time.

“The concept car has a commanding presence it is powerful with a look that could almost be described as aggressive,” he said.

“Numerous details hint at how we envisage a future production SUV model for North America.”

Moving inside the cabin, a large 12.3-inch display replaces the traditional speedometer and tachometer, now able to relay more information to the driver, and the infotainment system is controlled through a 10.1-inch touchscreen found on the centre stack.

Powering the Cross Coupe GTE is a 206kW/350Nm 3.6-litre V6 direct-injection petrol engine, coupled with two electric motors (one for each axle), making 40kW/220Nm for the front and 85kW/270Nm at the rear, for a combined output total of 265kW/500Nm.

Volkswagen claims the Cross Coupe GTE can sprint from 0-100km/h (60mph) in 6.0 seconds and carry on to hit a top speed of 209km/h, while also able to travel up to 32km with zero emissions in E-Mode. Other power modes include Hybrid, GTE, Offroad and Battery Hold/Battery Charge.

In addition to the five different power modes, the Cross Coupe GTE also boasts adaptable driving profiles for both on-road and off-road surfaces.

When Offroad mode is selected, the hybrid system cleverly juggles between electric and petrol power to keep both axles spinning and power going, or as Volkswagen explains it, “if Offroad is engaged and the battery state of charge is low, the front electric motor is employed exclusively as a generator that is driven by the V6 FSI in order to provide the power for its counterpart on the rear axle.”

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