First Look: Volkswagen New Compact Coupe

Volkswagen Compact Coupe

To showcase its ability to meld fuel economy and fun, Volkswagen unveiled its New Compact Coupe at the 2010 Detroit auto show. The New Compact Coupe features a hybrid drivetrain that allows it to get up to 45 mpg while maintaining a fun-to-drive nature.

Volkswagen says the car will be positioned between the Passat CC and the GTI. To keep the sporty nature of the GTI, the car will be powered by a new hybrid drive with a combined power output of 170 hp. The new hybrid drive system combines a turbocharged 1.4-liter, 150-hp four-cylinder gasoline engine with a 27-hp (20-kW) electric motor and VW's new 7-speed DSG. This combination enables the New Compact Coupe to achieve 45 mpg and do 0 to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds.

VW chose to use a modern lithium-ion battery in the NCC. The company packaged the 1.1-kWh battery at the rear of the vehicle. Although the NCC can be propelled by electricity alone at low speeds, the small battery size means that it won't get too far on electricity alone. To recover some of the spent electricity, the NCC is equipped with regenerative braking, although the system is not as aggressive as that on other hybrids, to enable the NCC to coast for extended periods of time even at highway speeds.

In styling the NCC, Klaus Bischoff, chief designer for VW, tried to portray the car's efficiency through an interpretation of VW's DNA befitting a sporty hybrid. Complex headlights with LED daytime running lights help give the NCC an immediately recognizable look. The side profile of the vehicle features a sporty, yet elegant merger of past Volkswagen design with modern coupe elements. At the rear, LED taillights further show the car's efficiency as well as give a unique look.

Inside the car, the driver and passengers are greeted by a two-tone contrasting interior. The seats are covered in a light "Berry White" colored leather with matching door panels and lower center console. The remainder of the interior is done in a darker "Grigio Quartz" color. Volkswagen also says the NCC will have the most interior room in its class and the car can handle a weekend for four with ease. As with the CC, the center console is carried all the way to the rear seats.

Switchgear in the NCC will also be familiar as the instrument panel and steering wheel are carried over from the GTI. The center console also retains the 8-inch touchscreen radio-navigation display and familiar climate controls.

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