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Detroit show: Volkswagen creates a Jetta coupe

Two door: Volkswagen appears to be set to lop two doors from its Jetta to produce a hybrid coupe.

VW presents a near-production New Compact Coupe, complete with petrol-electric power

Volkswagen logo12 Jan 2010

By TERRY MARTIN

VOLKSWAGEN has unveiled an all-new compact coupe at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, pointing to a potential two-door version of its Jetta small sedan.

As Toyota presented its take on a future small hybrid coupe with the FT-CH, Volkswagen’s New Compact Coupe (NCC) emerged in near-production trim and with a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain that empowers the car with significant green and sporting credentials.

Featuring a 110kW/220Nm 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine paired with a 20kW electric motor and seven-speed DSG gearbox, the NCC is claimed to offer 0-100km/h acceleration in 8.6 seconds, a maximum speed of 227km/h, combined average fuel consumption of just 4.2L/100km and CO2 emissions of 98g/km.

This is strong pointer to the powertrain and performance that Volkswagen intends to introduce across a range of small front-wheel drive vehicles, including the Golf, in the not-too-distant future.

3 center imageWhile recent hybrid concepts, including the Up! Lite shown in Los Angeles last month, carried a diesel-electric powertrain – a 0.8-litre two-cylinder derived from VW’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder TDI – the NCC uses a four-cylinder version of the acclaimed TSI direct-injection Twincharger (supercharged and turbocharged) petrol engine range that “closely approximates potential production versions”.

As seen on the TDI, the electric motor is integrated between the engine and the transmission, enabling pure electric driving over a limited range and, at all time, supporting the conventional engine with a strong torque boost.

A 1.1kWh lithium-ion battery supplies the electric motor with energy, and in electric mode the TSI is not only shut off but also disengaged by a clutch to avoid drag losses.

This automatic “coast-down” mode occurs at both high and low speeds whenever the driver releases the accelerator pedal, and, according to VW, leads directly to reduced fuel consumption. A fuel-saving idle-stop feature is also onboard.

Volkswagen said the NCC shows, both technically and visually, how it envisions a front-wheel drive hybrid for the compact class that will be implemented “when the time is right”.

This “right” time is expected to be when the Jetta enters a new generation in the first half of this decade.

While the basic external dimensions mirror that of the current Jetta sedan, and the design reflects the look of the future Jetta range, the two-door will have unique front and rear styling and differentiating features such as frameless doors.

The NCC is 4540mm long and 1780mm wide, and has a low overall height of 1410mm. The track is wider than the sedan at the front and rear – 1530mm and 1540mm respectively – while the wheelbase is 2650mm.

Visual cues such as bi-Xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED tail-lights, bootlid spoiler and even the 19-inch ‘Lugano’ alloy wheels can all be expected to transfer across to the production version, while the sculpted surfaces are also expected to be used in the final form.

The interior has four seats and “generous” occupant space front and rear, while the boot has a useful luggage volume of 380 litres.

The sports seats are cut in “Berry White” leather, which is also reflected in the colour of the lower cockpit area, parts of the centre console and the door trim panels. A contrasting “Grigio Quartz” colour is used on other surfaces, including the leather-trimmed steering wheel.

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