Volkswagen took to the Detroit Motor Show to debut its new Tiguan GTE Active Concept. Built as a beefed-up, off-road version of the all-new Tiguan, the model could make its transition into dealers as soon as later this year – with VW claiming the “off-road design elements are feasible as options for production cars”.
But the GTE Active Concept is more than a set of chunky bumpers and off-road tyres, as it’s been fitted with the brand’s next-generation infotainment system. Made up of a 9.2-inch touchscreen, the set-up uses gesture control technology in place of conventional knobs and dials.
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It’s expected that the facelifted Golf – due later this year – will be the first model to feature the tech, but VW also confirmed that a long-wheelbase, seven-seat version of the Tiguan designed primarily for the US and Chinese markets will feature the new set-up when it arrives in 2017.
The concept has been raised by 45mm over the normal model to accommodate the big off-road tyres, with ground clearance up to 225mm. Approach and departure angles have improved for tackling tough terrain, while underbody protection finished in matt aluminum has been added to the front and rear bumpers for more protection.
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Despite its rough and tough appearance, as the name suggests, the GTE Active is actually a plug-in hybrid. It uses the same powertrain as the recently launched Passat GTE, which comprises a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine and two electric motors that combine to deliver 222bhp.
VW claims that when the engine and motors work together to produce the maximum power, the show star can do 0-62mph in just 6.4 seconds and go on to 120mph.
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The Active Concept has four-wheel drive, with power sent through a six-speed DSG gearbox. If there is enough battery power, the car will always start in EV mode. The Tiguan claims a range of 20 miles on electric power alone and a top speed of 70mph. Six driving programs – On-road, Off-road, Sport, Snow, Charge and Battery Hold – alter how power is distributed, while green E-mode and performance GTE modes are selected via separate buttons on the centre console.
We’ll learn more about the concept – including official production feasibility and UK on-sale dates – in the coming months.
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