The car follows on from 2013's CrossBlue and CrossBlue Coupe concepts and will mark the start of VW's SUV product offensive when it goes on sale in 2016. Designed by VW's North American design studios the Cross Coupe also previews VW's new SUV design language which unlike other SUV come coupe's on the market is actually rather good, in fact the Cross Coupe GTE is quite a handsome beast. Flared wheel arches, wide grill, lots of straight lines and a generally boxy appearance give the GTE a purposeful look, like it could actually do some off roading if you asked it too. Measuring 4847mm in length it is only a few mm's shorter than a Touereg but thanks to a low roof line looks considerably more compact, a neat trick, hopefully the car will change little on its journey from concept to production. The rather lovely and suitably huge wheels might also make it to production.
The Oily bits
As well as previewing VW's future design language the GTE also showcases the companies commitment to hybrid drive systems. Powering the GTE is a 3.6 litre direct injection V6 accompanied by 2 electric motors, one at the front, one at the back. All combine to produce 360hp and enough torque to propel the GTE to 100km/h in 6 seconds, before going onto 209km/h. This strikes me as a power train designed to keep American petrol engine buyers happy though. Expect the 3.6 litre V6 to be replaced in other markets with a more sensible turbo diesel engine or smaller TFSI unit, combined with the electric shove these engines will still provide all the performance you could ever need with even further reduced fuel consumption figures. All cars will have auto boxes, most likely DSG's.
The Cross Coupe GTE is a technical showcase too, providing the driver with a number of driving modes. 5 are available, E-Mode, Hybrid, GTE, Offroad and Battery Hold. The first mode is self explanatory, it allows the car to run on electric power only up to 32km's, Hybrid meanwhile maximises both power sources to get the most possible range out of the car and GTE does it's best to turn your SUV into a sports car. VW point out that the Offroad mode though is key to buyers, so they have gone to great lengths perfecting this set up. Sub menu's can be selected in Offroad to tailor the car for sand, rocks, sludge, gravel and snow, each one setting up the car a little differently. Things like the gearing, suspension and torque delivery are all altered depending on the mode. The most interesting fact about the GTE though is it's lack of prop shaft to the rear wheels, this car get's it's 4WD capabilities by wire instead or electric cardan shaft to give it it's proper name. The engine only ever powers the front wheels with the rear electric motor powering the rear when 4WD is needed. But what if the car needs 4WD when it's batteries are out of juice I hear you cry? Not to worry, in this instance the engine will power the front wheels freeing up the front electric motor to generate charge for the rear. Voila, the rear wheels have drive without the need for a drive shaft, this saves weight, bettering fuel economy and increases cabin space.
Inside the Cross Coupe is no less impressive, gone are the days of buttons, everything is controlled via a 10.1 inch touchscreen while a 12.3inch screen relays all the cars vital information. The whole cabin is wonderfully minimalist. When describing the interior there's also a slightly dull thing VW mentions that proves this cars almost production ready. A split folding rear bench seat and flat cargo floor are noted, no concept car needs this so the fact it exists shows this cars pretty much finished.
The Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE, a coupe come SUV that actually looks good and also happens to showcase a bunch of clever hybrid tech, is there anything that Volkswagen can't do? I might be a little bias towards VW but seriously why can't other manufacturers produce such well rounded vehicles? This is an SUV you might actually want to own some day, no word on worldwide release dates yet, but production kicks off in the USA in 2016.