Volkswagen made public its plans for a second new SUV model at the Shanghai motor show this weekend, with the unveiling of a so-called coupé variant of the CrossBlue – a Toyota Highlander-rivaling SUV the German car maker plans to take into production at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2015.
The overtly sporting four-wheel drive SUV, pictured here in a series of official photographs for the first time, is said to closely preview a new five-seat model that is being developed as a sister car to the original seven seat CrossBlue unveiled at the Detroit motor show back in January.
“We’re looking to cover a broader section of the market with our next generation of SUV models,” a Volkswagen official revealed to Autocar on the eve of the Shanghai motor show, adding, “There is definite customer demand for a more sporting model alongside the standard car we hinted to with the earlier BlueCross concept, and we’re airing our ideas on how it might look in China”.
Both the Volkswagen CrossBlue and CrossBlue coupé have been conceived to enter the marque's line-up as a successor to the smaller Tiguan in markets such as North America and China, at a price that would see them positioned below the more luxurious Touareg – itself set to grow appreciably when a third-generation model is revealed in 2016.
While retaining the same styling lineage as the initial CrossBlue concept, the new coupé variant boasts a significantly sleeker silhouette than its comparatively upright sibling, with a lower front-end, more heavily angled windscreen, shallower glasshouse and added curvature to its roofline. The new SUV clearly places styling ahead of practicality – something that is as evidenced by the heavy rake of its tailgate.
As well as boasting a more eye-catching profile, the new Volkswagen concept also receives its own unique exterior detailing. Key elements include a new interpretation of Volkswagen’s horizontally themed corporate grille that mates with the internal graphics of the LED headlamps to provide the BlueCross coupé with an imposing front end appearance enhanced by its visual width.
At 4889mm in length, 2015mm in width and 1673mm in height, the CrossBlue Coupé is 93mm longer, 74mm wider and 36mm lower than the second generation Touareg. Large wheelhouses allow the fitment of 22-inch polished aluminium wheels, which are shod with 285/45 tyres.
Based around the German car maker’s versatile MQB platform that sites its petrol engine transversely in the engine bay, Volkswagen’s latest concept also rides on a wheelbase that is 85mm longer than the Touareg at a lengthy 2980mm. The track's widths are put at 1709mm at the front and 1726mm at the rear.
"It defines the maximum flexibility of this architecture," said Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, a member of Volkswagen's board of management responsible for development.
Inside, the CrossBlue Coupé provides accommodation for up to five in a contemporary-styled cabin, boasting the same uncluttered dashboard design seen as the CrossBlue SUV. Boot capacity is put at 537 litres, some 43 litres less than the Touareg, when a spare wheel is included. With the second row of seats folded down, capacity increases to 1101 litres.
The CrossBlue Coupé is powered by an all-new plug-in petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain, that is being developed for use in a number of upcoming Volkswagen models. Unlike the system used in the earlier CrossBlue SUV, which was based around a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, this latest arrangement relies on a more powerful turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 unit developing 301bhp.
The petrol engine operates in combination with a pair of brushless electric motors – one up front with 54bhp and another at the rear with 114bhp. Together, the three power sources provide a combined system output of 409bhp and 516lb ft of torque. Hackenberg commented "The performance is such that we're really talking about an SUV sports car."
Drive is channeled through a six-speed, dual-clutch transmission with the ability to provide either front, rear- or four-wheel drive and five different driving modes: eco, sport, off-road, electric vehicle and charge – the latter of which allows the driver to charge the battery using the petrol engine.
Energy for the electric motors is provided by a 9.9kWh lithium ion battery mounted entirely within the centre tunnel and conceived to operate at a maximum 375 volts.
Volkswagen claims an all-electric range of 21 miles at speeds up to 75mph, 0-62mph in 5.9sec, top speed of 147mph and combined fuel consumption on the European NEDC test cycle of 94.2mpg. In real word conditions, the CrossBlue coupé is said to return 41.0mpg – sufficient to provide it with a range of up to 740 miles on its 80-litre fuel tank.
"We intend to produce electric models like this with our joint venture partners in China to stimulate Chinese customers and remain at the technical forefront," stated Hackenberg.
Volkswagen hints the production version of the CrossBlue coupé will receive a limited range of four-cylinder and V6 petrol and diesel powerplants, as well as a plug-in hybrid drivetrain similar to that showcased in the concept to be revealed in Shanghai.
As well as harbouring plans to produce the new SUV alongside the US market Passat at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Volkswagen hints the CrossBlue and CrossBlue coupé could also hail from production lines in Shanghai, China.
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