Volkswagen unveiled its CrossBlue Coupe Concept at the Shanghai Auto Show and they've certainly got our attention with what looks to be a glimpse at the future of VW and a new era of SUV design.
"The disproportionate growth in the SUV segment gives designers the opportunity to implement an even great diversification of models. The CrossBlue Coupe shows the potential of our Volkswagen design DNA and will undoubtedly have an influence on future SUV models," said Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen Brand.
A refreshing note on the CrossBlue is that it's not intended to just be green while throwing sportiness out the window. The turbocharged direct-injection (TSI) V6 gasoline engine is paired with two electric motors to produce as much as 415hp. Not bad for a little SUV! And those numbers net a 5.9sec sprint to 60mph with a top speed of 147mph. Where do we sign?
While the performance specs are undeniably impressive, even more so are the economy numbers. The CrossBlue has a combined fuel consumption of just 79mpg in the new European driving cycle (NEDC). Sure, these figures are achieved with optimal battery charge, but even when they're fully depleted and the CrossBlue is left only with its TSI engine, the V6 still nets 34.1mpg, and with a massive 21.2 gallon fuel tank, you've got a theoretical range of 720 miles. That means you can do New York City to Savannah, Georgia on one tank.
The best part is, if your commute to work is less than 21 miles and you can keep your speeds under 75mph, you can make it there, charge it and return home without using a drop of gasoline. There an all EV mode for zero emissions that is engaged with the push of a button.
The CrossBlue concept is based off the new Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) chassis and could, if it's actually made, be fitted with standard four and six cylinder engines with various fueling options like gas, diesel and CNG. While it wears Coupe in its name, there are five comfortable seats and a spacious trunk.
Of course you wouldn't expect Volkswagen to fall short on the interior, and the CrossBlue delivers, blending an array of unique and high-tech materials. The dashboard has a graphic that spreads horizontally across to the door trims, giving a clean and elegant look to the cabin. Nappa leather in Anthracie Pearl or Asphalto, combined with polished chrome surfaces and sandblasted matte edges, working in harmony with dark aluminum, naturally-treated wood accents and Graphite colored Alcantara covering the roof pillars and headliners, and you've got an interior that screams new-age urban with just the right amount of SUV masculinity.
There are five drive modes to choose from: Sport, Eco, Offroad, Charge and EV, that can be selected right next to the shift lever for easy access, along with the ESC button to help in tough traction situations such as deep snow.
Eco mode is the default drive setting which is essentially programmed to give zero emissions whenever possible.
EV mode is pure electric, powering the car using only the lithium-ion battery. Charge mode uses the TSI engine to charge the battery while driving in order to store enough electrical energy for EV mode later in the journey. So you can charge on the highway to be fully electric in the city. As soon as the accelerator pedal is released, the electric motors and engine are decoupled from the drivetrain and the engine is shut off, provided that the battery has enough juice. This is called "coasting", another area where no emissions are generated. The battery also gets a charge fro regenerative braking, using energy recovered from the brakes to transfer power to the lithium-ion battery.
In Sport mode, where the most fun can be had, all four wheels are driven and powered by the TSI engine and the two electric motors and VW refers to this as "boosting."
Finally, Offroad mode is similar to sport in that all four wheels are driven, however, the front electric motor is now used as a generator, receiving power from the TSI motor and transferring its power to the rear electric motor for sufficient four-wheel drive ability in tough conditions. This action is called "propshaft by wire" since the rear power is not mechanical, but electric.
When just using the TSI motor, the CrossBlue is only front-wheel drive, so really, there is a mode for any situation.
Overall, this BlueCross Coupe concept seems to have some great offerings, making use of today's technology without abandoning the sportiness a Volkswagen-or SUV in general-should exhibit.