Saving fuel is the name of the game at any major auto show these days, so it’s no surprise Volkswagen will show off a concept car that uses a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The Cross Coupe TDI Plug-in Hybrid concept is a small crossover that uses an efficient diesel engine in partnership with electric motors.
The Cross Coupe isn’t exactly new; it was previously shown at the Tokyo Motor Show last fall, albeit with a gasoline engine and slightly shorter all-electric driving ranges. Compared to the Tokyo version, this Geneva-bound Cross Coupe concept also demonstrates more of Volkswagen’s new MQB (Modular Transverse Matrix) chassis technology. The outside of the Cross Coupe continues to show a unique five-door shape, with a stubby and angular tail that results from a sharply sloped rear window.
The complicated powertrain consists of two electric motors, and a turbodiesel inline-four engine coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. One electric motor, rated for 133 lb-ft of torque,is attached to the front wheels and can propel the car or act as a generator. The second electric motor, rated for 199 lb-ft, is attached to the rear axle and draws power either from a 9.8-kWh lithium-ion battery or from the front electric motor/generator.The 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine drives the front wheels, is newly designed for cars on the MQB platform, and produces 295 lb-ft of torque.
There are thus several different driving modes for the Cross Coupe: City (for maximum efficiency), Sport, Off-Road, E-mode, and Charging. If the lithium-ion battery is charged, E-mode allows the crossover to drive for 28 miles and up to 75 mph on electrical power alone using the rear motor. (The diesel engine and front electric motor are disconnected from the drive axles.) In Sport mode, the diesel engine and both electric motors provide 516 lb-ft and all-wheel-drive, allowing the Cross Coupe to hit 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.
If the driver selects the Off-Road mode, the Cross Coupe provides electrical all-wheel-drive. The diesel engine powers the front wheels, and electricity generated by the front motor/generator powers the rear motor. Finally, in Charging mode the Cross Coupe drives solely with the diesel engine turning the front wheels, which at the same time recharges the lithium-ion battery); driving range on a full tank of 14.5-gallons diesel is about 800 miles — which equates to 55 mpg.
In addition to the diesel engine and the dual-clutch transmission, Volkswagen says the front and rear suspension on the Cross Coupe TDI Plug-in Hybrid concept is sourced from the new MQB chassis series.
It’s unclear so far whether the Volkswagen Cross Coupe will ever reach production. However, given the fact that we’ve now seen it at two auto shows (Tokyo 2011 and Geneva 2012), we’d say chances are high that Volkswagen wants to either place the efficient crossover into series production, or have its shape and drivetrain influence other forthcoming Volkswagen SUVs and crossovers.
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