With many similarities to the SUV coupe concepts shown by Audi a few years ago, Volkswagen has showcased its own interpretation at the Tokyo Auto Show this week.
The all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid is said to be a crossover between a four-door coupé and an SUV, but is based on the company’s new ‘modular transverse matrix’ – or MQB.
The concept is longer and wider than a Golf but shorter and narrower than a Tiguan, giving it very compact dimensions for this category, which should reduce weight for its hybrid drive. However, the wheelbase is longer than both these vehicles, giving the car a compact but dynamic appearance.
The designers have also considered its off-road ability by ensuring the front angle of approach is 24.2˚ and 32.5˚ rear. Combined with its ground clearance, it means the vehicle shouldn’t get hung up on its first venture off-road.
The design team was led by VW Group Chief Designer Walter de Silva and Brand Design Chief, Klaus Bischoff. Together, they gave it characteristic horizontal lines of the Volkswagen ‘face’ while moving it forward with a new light and grille treatment. In fact, the designers merged the xenon twin headlamps with the grille’s chrome-plated fins.
The chrome fins that extend to the side of the vehicle are part of a new lighting concept where the lower chrome fin contains daytime running light, and the fin above contains the direction indicators. Furthermore, there are LED foglights either side of each bumper inlet.
The rear is dominated by steeply sloping angles and new light clusters, which are combined with a chunky bumper and twin tailpipes.
The shallow line of the side windows also influenced the rear because the sloping angle meant the rear window is typically narrow like a coupé. The hatchback is topped by a spoiler for visual and aerodynamic enhancement.
The four-seat Cross Coupé is powered by two electric motors (one front and rear), which generate 132 and 200 lb-ft of torque respectively. It also uses a TSI direct-injection turbo engine with 265hp, allowing the concept to accelerate to 62mph in 7sec and to a top speed of 125mph. It’s also said to be able to travel up to 25mph on purely electric power.
When the vehicle is driven on electric power, the electric motors receive their current from an 8-module lithium-ion battery located inside the center tunnel. A power control module, operating at around 370 volts, manages the flow of energy to the electric motors, while the low voltage electrical system is supplied with 12 volts through a DC/DC converter.
The battery is charged either from a 230V plug-in source or by the TSI engine and battery regeneration (both front and rear axles) when in motion.
With fuel consumption of just 87mpg US, its CO2 emissions equate to 62g/km. This means that with a fuel tank capacity of 14.5 US gallons, the theoretical range in hybrid mode is 506 miles. Adding the electric range, the Cross Coupé could do 530 miles without stopping for gas.
The hybrid drive system works by using both electric motors to assist the TSI gasoline engineduring acceleration. Although they can also power the vehicle for up to 25 miles, as previously mentioned. By opening the clutch, the TSI can be disconnected from the drivetrain and switched off, although the seven-speed DSG remains connected.
To drive in electric mode, the driver simply presses the relevant button on the center console next to the gear lever. As soon as the TSI needs to be brought back into play, the engine starts up and engages with the drivetrain.
Whenever the brakes are applied, both electric motors act as a generator, utilizing the braking energy to charge the battery. The driver can (via another button) also charge the battery from TSI engine in order to drive in a regulated zone perhpas.
Based on the amount of drive need (such as a loss of traction on the front axle) or through the driver switching to all-wheel or electric mode, the second electric motor on the rear axle can engage in an instant. In general, there are three driving modes available: City (eco-mode with minimal consumption), Sport (dynamic driving) and Offroad (permanent AWD).
The all-wheel drive system with ‘electric driveshaft’ also represents an innovation for VW because the rear axle is driven by the rear electric motor. In this situation, power is supplied to the rear motor by the front one, which then acts as a generator powered by the TSI engine.
This means the flow of electrical energy has replaced the conventional driveshaft to transfer power between each axle, creating space in the central tunnel to house the lithium-ion battery.
Arranged behind the three-spoke steering wheel is a user-programmable instrument display where a rotary knob on the console can select between ‘Sport’, ‘City’ and ‘Offroad’ modes. The functional screen content of the modes then varies accordingly providing readings such as a gyrometer, compass and topographic map in Offroad mode. Each of the three modes has a customized screen layout and different color scheme.
Positioned centrally between the instruments is another multifunction display for more information about the vehicle, phone menu, audio details and alongside it a 3D off-road navigation picture can be shown.