VW previews new SUV styling with Cross Coupe concept
Photo credit: VW
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Volkswagen unexpectedly previewed the bold new look of its second-generation Tiguan crossover at the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday with the unveiling of a four-wheel-drive, hybrid-powered concept vehicle called the Cross Coupe.
The concept is the first vehicle to be based off the German automaker's versatile new MQB platform. VW officially describes it as a cross between a four-door car and a compact SUV.
Some analysts speculate that Volkswagen is considering a second, compact off-roader model in the mold of the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.
However, Volkswagen sources close to design boss Walter de'Silva confirm that the Cross Coupe previews a new design lineage that will be adopted by all of VW's upcoming SUV models, including the next Tiguan due out toward the end of 2014.
The new Tiguan is expected to come with the choice of two wheelbase lengths, the longer of which will provide space for a third row of seats and likely will be assembled at the company's new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.
"We won't rule out the possibility of adding a sportier SUV to the Volkswagen lineup at some time. But the main message with the Cross Coupe is its styling, which stands for the future of SUV design at Volkswagen," Autoweek was told.
Photo credit: VW
The Cross Coupe uses front-end styling elements first seen on the Giugiaro-penned Tex and Go concepts wheeled out at the Geneva motor show earlier this year. Those styling cues are combined with heavily sculptured surfaces throughout, a highly defined shoulder -- or tornado line, as de'Silva refers to it -- a higher waistline, shallow side glass, a heavily angled tailgate, distinctive wheel-arch design and 20-inch alloy wheels.
The five-door Cross Coupe is considerably bolder than that of the existing Tiguan, whose design dates to 2005 and a former VW design team headed by Murat Gunak.
Inside, VW gave the concept a classy Audi-esque cabin with a sweeping dashboard, a high-tech instrument display and grab handles incorporated into the center pod. The four heavily contoured seats are separated by a high-set center tunnel used to store the hybrid powertrain's battery.
At 171.0 inches long, 73.5 inches wide and 60.0 inches tall, the Cross Coupe is 4.9 inches shorter, 2.3 inches wider and a significant 7.0 inches lower than today's Tiguan. It also rides on a wheelbase that is one inch longer -- at 103.5 inches.
Powering the Cross Coupe is a gasoline-electric hybrid system capable of providing drive to either the front wheels or all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It combines Volkswagen's familiar turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder direct-injection engine producing 148 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque with a pair of brushless electric motors -- one mounted up front that delivers 54 hp and 133 lb-ft, and a larger one at the rear with 114 hp and 199 lb-ft. The system is calibrated to provide a maximum 261 hp.
Energy for the electric motors is supplied by a battery mounted low in the center tunnel. Rated at 9.8 kilowatt-hours and operating at a maximum 370 volts, the lithium-ion unit can be charged both through the recovery of kinetic energy (both on a trailing throttle and under braking) and via plug-in to an external power outlet.
Photo credit: VW
Volkswagen claims an all-electric range of 25 miles at typical city speeds in front-wheel-drive mode, during which a clutch disconnects the engine from the drive process when there is sufficient battery charge.
In a move aimed at reducing weight, VW removed the conventional mechanical drive shaft. The rear wheels are driven exclusively by the rear electric motor. In four-wheel-drive mode, the rear electric motor is fed energy from the front electric motor, which then acts as a generator powered by the gasoline engine. VW says the concept SUV weighs 3,854 pounds, 282 pounds more than the heaviest of today's Tiguan models. The weight is distributed 58 percent on the front axle and 42 percent on the rear.
Despite its weight, Volkswagen claims a 0-to-62-mph time of 7.0 seconds, making the Cross Coupe 0.8 second faster than the most powerful Tiguan model today, the 2.0 TSI, in straight-line performance. Top speed, however, is capped at 124 mph on a combination of gasoline and electric power, or 71 mph when relying on electric power alone.
But it is fuel economy and overall lack of emissions that Wolfsburg officials are talking up with their latest concept car, which is said to get combined-cycle consumption of 87.1 mpg on the European test cycle.
You can reach Greg Kable at firstname.lastname@example.org.