The VW Cross Coupé concept that debuted at the 2011 Tokyo auto show, which in turn seemed to be a progression of Audi’s SUV coupe, has been updated for the Geneva show. Rather than the original plug-in gasoline/electric hybrid system, this version is powered by the alliance of a direct-injection turbo-diesel engine (TDI) and two electric motors.
As such, its combined fuel consumption in the New European Driving Cycle is a sensational 1.8 liters per 100km (around 130.7mpg US). This in turn translates to CO2 emissions of just 46g/km in a 306hp, 516 lb-ft SUV with a top speed of 137mph but a considerable kerb weight of 4100 lb.
Where the gasoline/electric hybrid could only deliver 87mpg, this new TDI/electric hybrid improves on that figure but inevitably it would add to the purchase price if such a machine were to become commercially available.
The Cross Coupé is built on Volkswagen’s recently announced modular transverse matrix (MQB) – see separate News story at www.eurotuner.com. The new platform standardizes certain parameters across models and VW Group brands (for example the distance between the accelerator pedal and the front axle), but makes other parameters variable, creating flexibility for developing a wide range of models. This means, for example, it is possible to make a Cross Coupé that uses a gasoline/electric hybrid system as easily as a diesel/electric, but also to use combustion engines alone, or only electric power.
The Cross Coupé uses MQB front and rear SUV suspension, plus the new 190hp TDI EA 288 engine mated to a six-speed DSG transmission.
Added to this is a lithium-ion battery in the center console, plus a 40kW electric motor at the front and an 85kW motor at the rear. Together, they can propel the Cross Coupé from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds.
The 2.0-litre TDI engine alone provides the Cross Coupé with 295 lb-ft of torque from just 1600rpm, while the front E-motor provides 133 lb-ft, and the rear E-motor a further 199 lb-ft. The drive system can, therefore, provide a maximum of 516 lb-ft at any one time.
In pure electric mode, the Cross Coupé can cover up to 28 miles at speeds of up to 75mph, which should be sufficient for the majority of commuters to make the journey to work with zero emissions.
Two electric modes are available: E-mode (CITY) and E-mode (SPORT). In the former, only the rear motor is used, while both are employed for sporty driving. In electric drive, the turbo-diesel engine is decoupled from the drivetrain and shut off. If the TDI is needed (when the battery is depleted), it re-engages in fractions of a second.
The main battery is in the center tunnel and consists of eight lithium-ion modules. The battery has a capacity of 9.8kWh, and operates at approximately 370 volts. The battery can either be charged while driving or from an external 230-volt power supply.
Should the driver wish to charge the battery while the vehicle is moving, there are two ways of doing this. By selecting CHARGE mode, the TDI engine will supply power to the battery. This is useful if, for example, the driver is approaching a zero-emissions zone for which they require a fully-charged battery.
The battery can also be charged by the electric motors operating as generators when the driver is coasting.
Should the battery not need charging, the Cross Coupé shuts off all motors and engines, and ‘coasts’ to providing zero-emissions driving.
For off-road driving, there is an OFFROAD mode, which ensures all four wheels are driven. In this case, the TDI engine powers the front wheels, and also provides energy to the front electric motor. The front motor does not, however, power the front wheels. Instead, it becomes the sole source of electrical energy for the rear motor, operating as a kind of ‘electric propshaft’. Because power for the electric motors is provided via the TDI engine, OFFROAD mode is possible even if the battery charge is depleted.
For the sportiest driving experience, the driver can select SPORT mode. This utilizes the full power of both E-motors and the TDI engine, for maximum acceleration.
Similarly for minimum emissions (but with TDI engine engaged), a CITY mode keeps energy consumption to a minimum. In theory, the Cross Coupé’s 55-liter fuel tank gives a range of 800 miles.
The Cross Coupé has a long wheelbase, making it longer and wider than a Golf but shorter and narrower than a Tiguan. The wide track is enhanced by 20” wheels with 265/45 R20 tires.
Inside, there are four individual seats with plastic shells. These provide greater durability when folded in the rear to accommodate larger loads.
Programmable instruments behind the steering wheel provide different information depending on the mode – CITY, OFFROAD or SPORT. For example, in OFFROAD mode, the instruments display gyroscope, compass and topographical map. Each mode not only displays different information, but also a unique color scheme.