Volkswagen has unveiled a heavily reworked version of its CrossBlue Coupé concept at the Detroit motor show. The model features a fresh new styling lineage and a further-developed 355bhp petrol-electric plug-in hybrid system for the five-seat off-roader, which is expected to see production by the end of 2017.
The new model, which is planned to share its underpinnings with a roomier seven-seat model previewed by the original CrossBlue concept at the 2014 Detroit motor show, has been conceived as an affordable alternative to the likes of the BMW X6. It will form part of what Wolfsburg officials describe as a broad-based SUV offensive aimed at significantly raising Volkswagen’s sales prospects in the rejuvenated US market.
Called the Cross Coupé GTE, the new Volkswagen concept was styled under the guise of Klaus Bischoff. The head of Volkswagen brand design describes it as an ambassador for a new design language developed for the US, suggesting that numerous details hint at a future production SUV model.
While retaining the same basic two-box silhouette and five-door layout as the earlier CrossBlue concept, the new Cross Coupé GTE has a more rugged-looking exterior and a further refined interior, both created after criticism of the original concept in various styling clinics held in the US.
A distinctive full-width grille with prominent horizontal elements and small LED headlights dominates up front, while the flanks receive added structure with more heavily flared wheel arches and a pair of deep swage lines across the doors. At the rear there’s a large tailgate with a heavily raked window and large spoiler element.
The aim with the new look, according to Bischoff, has been to make the Cross Coupé look less car-like and more like a dedicated SUV in its own right. “The new concept has acommanding presence," he said. "It is powerful with a look that could almost be described as aggressive.“
At 4847mm in length, 2030mm in width and 1736mm in height, the Cross Coupé GTE is some 52mm longer, 90mm wider and 26mm taller than the recently face-lifted Touareg, which is itself set to grow appreciably when a third-generation model is launched in 2017, according to well placed Volkswagen sources.
Underpinning the new Volkswagen concept is the latest version of the versatile MQB platform now used extensively across the German car maker’s line-up. No official chassis dimensions have been revealed, although the Cross Coupé GTE is thought to share the same 2980mm wheelbase as the earlier CrossBlue Coupé concept wheeled out at the Shanghai motor show in 2013, along with its 1709mm front and 1726mm rear tracks.
Inside, the new Volkswagen concept provides seating for up to five adults in a contemporarily styled cabin that boasts a further developed version of the clean and unadorned dashboard initially previewed on the CrossBlue Coupé concept.
As well as previewing the look of a five-seat sporting off-roader which Volkswagen plans to slot into its line-up alongside a production version of the more practical seven-seat Cross Blue concept, the Cross Coupé GTE also showcases a new plug-in hybrid drivetrain set to be used by the German car maker in a range of mid to large size models in coming years.
The petrol-electric system is based around a transversely mounted 3.6-litre V6 and two electric motors, one of which is mounted up front eith the other sited at the rear. The petrol engine delivers 276bhp and 258lb ft, while the synchronous electric motors provide 54bhp and 162lb ft at the front and 114bhp and 199lb ft at the rear.
All up, the new drivetrain offers combined outputs of 355bhp and 369lb ft, which is the maximum permitted by the four-wheel-drive Cross Coupé GTE’s gearbox. This is sufficient, according to Volkswagen’s own figures, to provide it with a 0-62mph time of 6.0sec together with a 130mph top speed.