The Volkswagen Cross Coupé is a four-seater, four-wheel drive petrol-electric hybrid

Klaus Bischoff, Executive Director of Volkswagen Design, has confirmed that the Volkswagen Cross Coupé concept shown at the Tokyo motor show shows off design themes of all future SUVs from the company. "It is the future face of all VW SUVs," he said.

The Cross Coupé also previews the bold new look of its second-generation Tiguan. Sitting on the German car maker’s versatile new MQB platform, the new four-seater, four-wheel drive petrol-electric hybrid is officially described as a cross between a four-door coupé and compact SUV, which has led many to speculate that Volkswagen is considering a second compact off-roader model in the mould of the Range Rover Evoque.

See pictures of the Volkswagen Cross Coupé

However, Volkswagen sources close to design boss Walter de Silva have confirmed to Autocar that the Cross Coupé has a broader brief in previewing a new design lineage that will be adopted by all of the company’s upcoming SUV models, including the next Tiguan due out in 2014.

“We won’t rule out the possibility of adding a sportier SUV to the Volkswagen line-up at some time. But the main message with the Cross Coupé is its styling, which stands for the future of SUV design at Volkswagen,” Autocar was told.

The Cross Coupé combines front-end styling elements first seen on Volkswagen-owned Giugiaro penned Tex and Go concepts wheeled out at the Geneva motor show earlier this year with heavily sculptured surfaces throughout. It has a highly defined shoulder – or tornado line as de Silva refers to it – higher waistline, shallow side glass, heavily angled tailgate, distinctive wheel arch design and 20-inch alloy wheels shod with substantial 265/45 profile tyres.

The five-door Cross Coupé is both considerably bolder than the existing Tiguan, whose design dates back to 2005 and a former Volkswagen design team headed by Murat Gunak.

Inside, Volkswagen has provided its latest concept with a classy Audi-esque cabin with a sweeping dashboard whose various horizontal design elements mirror those of the exterior, a hi-tech instrument display combining traditional analogue and the latest in computer enhanced graphics. It also has grab handles incorporated into the centre pod and four heavily contoured seats separated by a high set centre tunnel which is used to store a battery that powers the concept’s electric motors.

At 4345mm in length, 1868mm in width and 1523mm in height, the Cross Coupé is 125mm shorter, 58mm wider and a significant 177mm lower than today’s first generation Tiguan. It also rides on a wheelbase that is 26mm longer at 2630mm – allied to tracks that up by 15mm at the front and by 43mm at the rear at 1585mm and 1613mm respectively. Nominal boot space underneath the rear windows is put at 380 litres – or 90 litres less than the Tiguan, rising to 1230 litres when the rear seats are folded away.

Powering the Cross Coupé is a petrol-electric hybrid system capable of providing drive to either the front wheels or all four wheels via a seven-speed double clutch gearbox, depending on the driving conditions. It combines Volkswagen’s familiar turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder direct injection TSI petrol engine producing 148bhp and 155lb ft of torque with a pair of brushless electric motors – one sited up front delivering 54bhp and 133lb ft and a larger one at the rear with 114bhp and 199lb ft. The system is calibrated to provide a maximum 261bhp.

Energy for the electric motors is supplied by a battery mounted low down within the centre tunnel of the floorpan. Rated at 9.8kWh and operating at a maximum 370 volts, the lithium ion unit can be charged both on the run through the recovery of kinetic energy (both on a trailing throttle and under braking) and via plug-in means with conventional mains power.

Volkswagen claims an all-electric range of 25 miles at typical city speeds in front-wheel drive mode, at which a clutch is actuated to disconnect the petrol engine from the drive process when there is sufficient battery charge.

In a move aimed at reducing weight, Volkswagen has replaced the conventional mechanical drive shaft with a newly developed electric drive shaft that sees the rear wheels driven exclusively by the rear electric motor. In four-wheel drive mode, the rear electric motor is fed electrical energy from the front electric motor, which then acts as a generator powered by the petrol engine. All up, the new concept car is claimed to weigh 1748kg – 128kg more than the heaviest of today’s Tiguan models, the 2.0 TDI, distributed 58 per cent to the front axle and 42 per cent to the rear.

Despite its relative weight, Volkswagen claims a 0-62mph time of just 7.0sec – placing the Cross Coupé 0.8sec ahead of the most powerful Tiguan model of today, the 2.0 TSI, in outright straight-line performance.

Top speed, however, is capped at just 124mph on a combination of petrol and electric power or 71mph 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. With combined cycle consumption of 104.6mpg on the European test cycle, the Cross Coupé’s CO2 rating is put at just 62g/km.

Greg Kable

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