Volkswagen has gone public on plans for a coupe variant of the next-gen Jetta with this near-to-production-ready concept, revealed at today’s Detroit show.
Dubbed New Compact Coupé (NCC), the two-door presages the look and mechanical layout of a new front-wheel-drive model that will be built at VW’s Puebla plant in Mexico, as part of ongoing plans to further penetrate the US market.
Although the car is conceived primarily for North America, Volkswagen says a production version of the NCC could be sold in Europe as part of the sixth-generation Jetta line-up. The US does not receive the Scirocco, partly due to the high cost of importing it from its factory in Portugal and partly because American buyers prefer traditional three-box coupés to the Scirocco’s hatchback body.
While a future Jetta range is expected to share the same styling revealed by the NCC, the coupé will have a unique front end, faster screen angles, frameless doors and widened tracks. BMW employs similar tactics to differentiate the 3-series coupé from the saloon.
“We didn’t just want to put two doors on a Jetta,” said Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen brand design. “Buyers expect more from a coupé these days. The changes are subtle but they help provide the NCC with its own visual flavour.”
At 4540mm long, 1780mm wide and 1410mm high, the NCC shares its dimensions with today’s Jetta. But with a rear track that has been lengthened by 30mm and a slightly lower ride height, it has a more planted stance. This is further enhanced on the Detroit show car by 19-inch alloy wheels, shod with 235/35 tyres.
The NCC’s drivetrain provides the first clues to how Volkswagen plans to add a petrol-electric hybrid option to selected volume-selling front-wheel-drive models, including the Golf and Jetta, from 2014.
The petrol engine is a 1.4-litre Twincharger, with 148bhp and 177lb ft of torque. It’s supported by an electric motor integrated into the gearbox; with 27bhp and 103lb ft, it draws electricity from a 1.1kWh lithium ion battery housed under the boot to boost the NCC’s overall output to 175bhp and 280lb ft.
Channelling the combined outputs to the front wheels is Volkswagen’s latest seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, with automatic stop-start and brake energy recuperation.
Volkswagen has engineered its new hybrid system to allow electric-only propulsion, albeit for short distances only owing to the small capacity of the battery. In electric mode the petrol engine not only shuts off but is also disengaged by the clutch to reduce mechanical drag in a so-called ‘coast down’ mode.
VW isn’t revealing how much the system weighs, but it claims the NCC will hit 62mph in 8.1sec on the way to a top speed of 141mph. Combined fuel economy is put at 67.3mpg, and CO2 emissions are a relatively low 98g/km. These figures roughly match those of the new diesel Golf Bluemotion.
Despite this, VW says it is keen to offer the car as a diesel in the US. At present, 80 per cent of Jetta estate sales in the US are for diesel models, an unusally high amount, and the car is seen as a key part of encouraging diesel acceptance in the States.