With sales of electric vehicles sputtering, Volkswagen continued to reinforce its position in the clean diesel market, using the Geneva motor show to introduce a diesel plug-in hybrid rated at an impressive 130 mpg or 1.8 L/100 km.
This powertrain is installed in the Volkswagen Cross Coupe, a compact SUV styling exercise that hints at the next Tiguan. “Look at the Cross Coupe,” said Volkswagen Group of America President Jonathan Browning, when asked about the company’s plans in the compact SUV segment.
That is VW’s next area of focus in the U.S., he said, where the company will introduce a price-competitive entry in pursuit of a spot near the top of the sales roster in the compact SUV market. “The obvious next opportunity is the SUV segment the Tiguan participates in,” he said.
The Cross Coupe possess stronger, more memorable styling than the pleasantly generic Tiguan, with a long hood and low roofline, which should help attract attention to the new model.
Under the skin, the Cross Coupe represents VW’s first application of the VW Group’s new Modular Transverse Matrix (which the company abbreviates MQB) platform. Fixed parameters for MQB include the distance between the accelerator pedal and the front axle and the mounting position of the engine, regardless of type. The design is flexible enough to let different brands and models stretch and shrink the wheelbase, track, and wheel sizes.
For this conceptual model, VW installed a diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain featuring a 188-hp (140-kW) diesel from the company’s new EA288 series and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. To achieve the startling fuel efficiency, engineers supplemented this planned production internal-combustion powertrain with a pair of electric motors and a 9.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack in the central tunnel.
The internal-combustion and electric drivetrains are modular, exhibiting their ability to be used independently of one another, producing all-IC or all-electric versions of the vehicle.
In addition to the diesel’s 140 kW, the front electric motor contributes 40 kW, and the rear produces 85 kW with a total maximum system power of 225 kW, yielding a top speed of 220 km/h (137 mph) and 0-100 km/h (0-63 mph) acceleration in 6.5 s.
The diesel’s 400 N·m (295 lb·ft) starts at just 1750 rpm, while the front electric produces 180 N·m (133 lb·ft) and the rear 270 N·m (199 lb·ft). Total maximum system torque is 700 N·m (516 lb·ft).
In electric mode, the Cross Coupe can reach 120 km/h (75 mph) and travel a range of 45 km (28 mi). The driver can select between programs for optimum driving range or ideal dynamic response while running on electric power alone.
Although the Cross Coupe is billed as a concept, Browning’s hints that this is the very segment that is in VW’s crosshairs at the moment, along with an unusual level of technical specificity regarding the underlying platform, suggest that we’ll soon see a production Tiguan that strongly resembles this concept.
For example, the company released plans that the MQB platform will feature diesels in the EA288 family of 1.6- and 2.0-L displacement, ranging between 66 and 140 kW (88 to 188 hp). For improved refinement, the 2.0-L TDI includes dual balance shafts. A planned EA211 family of gasoline engines will also be available, giving the future Tiguan the flexibility to be gasoline, diesel, electric, gasoline-electric, or diesel-electric in configuration.
Inside the Cross Coupe previews a possible user-programmable instrument cluster for the Tiguan, in which Sport, City, and Off-Road driving modes display different information on the screens. Each mode has its own color, and the Off-Road mode includes displays of a compass, gyrometer, and topographic map.