Tough new VW Cross Coupe GTE concept takes Detroit bow

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE debuts in Detroit pointing the way to VW’s future SUVs due in 2016

The Cross Coupe GTE, a sleek SUV concept with green credentials that could be winging its way to the UK, leads Volkswagen’s presence at this week’s Detroit Motor Show.

The car is the third concept created by the German giant in the run-up to the planned introduction of a full-production version, which is likely to appear in late 2016 or early 2017. It follows the CrossBlue that appeared at the Detroit show in 2013 and the CrossBlue Coupe shown three months later in Shanghai.

Using the VW Group’s much-used MQB platform and measuring 4,847mm long, 1,736mm high and 2,030mm wide, the Cross Coupe GTE is slightly longer and wider than the current Touareg SUV and just 4mm taller. And while the car has been designed for an American audience, a Volkswagen insider hinted that the car could appear in Europe and the UK.

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If it does cross the pond, it is more than likely to join the CrossBlue seven-seat SUV as the more sporting, five-seat coupe version. The pair would sit below the Touareg – which will be bumped upwards from a positioning perspective and use Volkswagen’s MLB platform just like the forthcoming Audi Q7 and Bentley SUV

Volkswagen’s chief designer Klaus Bischoff said: “The concept car has a commanding presence; it is powerful with a look that could almost be described as aggressive. Numerous details hint at how we envisage a future SUV model for North America.”

The design is a light update of the CrossBlue Coupe Concept as revealed at the Shanghai Motor Show in 2013. Short overhangs, angled A- and C-pillars and bulbous wheel arches give a sporty look, while LED headlights blend seamlessly with the two-bar chrome grille.

Under the bonnet lies a 3.6-litre V6 FSI petrol engine mated to two electric motors powering the front and rear wheels. The six-cylinder lump pushes out 276bhp and 350Nm while the two electric motors give 40kW and 220Nm at the front and 85kW and 270Nm at the rear. Total power is 355bhp, 0-60mph is six seconds and the car’s top speed is 130mph.

Five modes are on offer to drivers: E-Mode – which gives 20 miles of pure electric range – hybrid, GTE, Offroad and Battery Hold/Charge and there are a number of driving modes ranging from ‘Eco’ to ‘Sport and Snow’. Prod ‘Offroad’ and all four wheels are powered, but if the batteries are low on charge, the front wheels act as a generator to power the rear ones.

Inside the cabin design is minimalist but clearly presents the next stage in how VW interiors will look. The dashboard is dominated by a 10.1-inch touchscreen in the centre-stack and a 12.3-inch ‘Active Info Display’ – the same as seen on the new Passat and Audi’s ‘Virtual Cockpit’ in the TT. Front passengers sit on sports seats while in the rear the bench seat can be folded 1/3 and 2/3 creating a flat load space.

Get all the latest from the 2015 Detroit Motor Show right here...

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