Continuing its march upmarket, Volkswagen unveiled the C Coupe GTE concept this week at the Shanghai auto show. Meant to be positioned between the Passat and the Phaeton if it enters production, the C Coupe GTE concept is powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection TSI gasoline engine connected to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with an electric motor integrated in the transmission housing providing extra power; electricity is stored in a 14.1 kWh lithium ion battery.
The combined power output tops out at 242 hp and 369 pounds-feet of torque, which is enough to send the C Coupe GTE to 62 mph in 8.6 seconds, according to VW.
The large sedan's hybrid powertrain is engineered to return 102 mpg, as estimated by Volkswagen using the European cycle, and to cover 31 miles in pure-electric mode when needed at speeds of up to 81 mph. These mpg figures give it a total range of more than 684 miles.
As with a number of recent Volkwagen GTE hybrid concept cars, the C Coupe GTE features several driving modes aimed at maximizing efficiency or performance, based on the driving requirements of the moment. That means the vehicle can operate as a hybrid using the gasoline and electric powertrains, as a pure-electric in E-Mode, in battery charge/hold mode, or in the sporty GTE mode that turns up the power.
The interior of the C Coupe GTE is aimed at the Chinese market, where rear seat space is valued.
"The future of the new Volkswagen premium class models is starting in Shanghai because the C Coupe GTE very clearly shows the new ‘face’ of top Volkswagen sedans for the first time," said Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen brand head of design. "This sport sedan unequivocally demonstrates our premium standards. The evolution of the Volkswagen design DNA shown here will accompany us worldwide, and on the way to the new Phaeton."
The exterior design of the C Coupe GTE also reflects the latest design language from Wolfsburg, with plenty of sharp edges, stacked horizontal lines and elongated elements that make the car look horizontally stretched.
The proportions are clearly meant to preview a car larger and more luxurious than the current Passat, with a high shoulder line and a rakish greenhouse accentuating the car's length.
The interior has been designed with rear passenger luxury in mind -- this concept is debuting in Shanghai, after all -- with generous rear-seat legroom and passenger-focused features.
"Sedans have changed hugely in recent years," said Walter de' Silva, Volkswagen Group global design chief. "The new rear-end design that is oriented to the classic two-door ‘coupe’ has given them more personality. The Volkswagen designers have integrated this stylistic element into the very dynamic design of the C Coupe GTE saloon; they have developed a striking front end and given the vehicle its own authentic character. They have created a model that appeals to Chinese customers, who always follow the trends of European car design with great interest."
Volkswagen is staying mum on the chances of this concept sedan being turned into a production car, though all the technology, including the powertrain, is available in production form or will be available soon for the MLB modular longitudinal platform, which this concept uses.