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As today’s auto market continues to evolve, so too are the product plans at Volkswagen. That was an important takeaway from the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, where the brand introduced a new concept vehicle designed specifically to address the changing marketplace: The Volkswagen CrossBlue Coupé. The five-seat crossover/SUV builds on the successful introduction of a similarly themed seven-seat model—the Volkswagen CrossBlue—that was first seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
But while both vehicles showcase advanced plug-in hybrid powertrains, the VW CrossBlue Coupé isn’t just a version of its big brother with one of its rows missing. In the CrossBlue Coupé, the larger vehicle’s four-cylinder TDI clean-diesel engine has been replaced by a direct-injected and turbocharged V6. As a result, the Coupé’s propulsion system brandishes a total of 415 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. That kind of output delivers some serious performance, with the concept vehicle able to run from 0-60 mph in noticeably under six seconds and run up to a terminal velocity of 147 mph.
But thanks to its high-efficiency drivetrain, which also includes two electric motors and can provide more than 20 miles of all-electric, zero-emissions driving range, the Volkswagen CrossBlue Coupé can achieve 79 mpg (in European efficiency testing). Those two electric motors also enable a unique off-road driving mode in which the gas engine powers the front wheels and the front motor acts as a generator for the rear unit, which drives the back wheels.
And despite its Chinese introduction, customers around the world can look forward to seeing more of the VW CrossBlue Coupé in the near future. Said Klaus Bischoff, head of design for the VW brand: “The disproportionate growth in the SUV segment gives designers the opportunity to implement an even greater diversification of models. The CrossBlue Coupé shows the potential of our Volkswagen design DNA and will undoubtedly have an influence on future SUV models.”
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VW CrossBlue Coupé Concept: Platform News
Along with its impressive combination of performance and efficiency, the VW CrossBlue Coupé Concept also stands out as an early example of how Volkswagen plans to use its new MQB vehicle architecture. Volkswagen poured tens of billions of dollars into the project, but the result will be used across the Volkswagen Group in vehicles from the next-gen VW Golf to the new family of SUVs/crossovers that was previewed by the VW CrossBlue Coupé and CrossBlue
“MQB” stands for the German words “modularer querbaukasten,” which translate into “modular tranverse matrix.” The name refers to the fact that the platform will be used for vehicles with transversely mounted engines and was designed following modular principles that make it easy (and relatively inexpensive) for engineers to adjust the architecture for different kinds of vehicles. Also significant is the fact that the MQB platform relies on lightweight yet robust materials and cutting-edge engineering advances to reduce mass—and that in turn helps boost fuel economy.
And speaking of fuel economy, VW’s MQB vehicles will have another advantage as well, since the platform’s standardized engine mounts were designed right from the start to handle alternative-fuel and electric powertrains.
The party line from the company: “The MQB opens up new opportunities at Volkswagen Group, allowing it to produce high-volume and niche models at the highest quality and extremely competitive costs over the long term and worldwide—vehicles that are individually tailored to the requirements of very diverse markets such as Europe, China and America, as well as emerging markets such as India.”
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