Volkswagen Cross Coupé Concept: Many Motors, Modes

Volkswagen says they have no plans to produce the Cross Coupé concept (which, with four doors, doesn't really seem like a coupé), but this thing seems so packed with new tech it's a pretty safe bet we'll be seeing bits of it all over the Volkswagen Group's fleet.

Before poking around in the entrails, it's worth looking at the exterior of the Cross Coupé, as it likely has much of the DNA of VW's future corporate look. The front end's nicely integrated lights-and-grille treatment seems a pretty safe bet for the new VW corporate face, and that's not a bad thing, as the face is easy to picture scaling well from Golf to Touareg. The overall proportions of the Coupé are satisfying, if not earth-shattering; the thick C-pillar gives an almost Mini-ish sporty quality, and the detailing is handsome, if in a pretty quiet way.

But the interesting part here is drivetrain, which in this case is an elaborate three-way of prime movers that seems to manage to give a bit of something for everybody. Everything lives on VW's new "modular transverse matrix" platform (which for some probably German reason goes by the acronym MQB), which will be used all across the VW Group, and mounts a 2.0 L TDI Diesel engine and two electric motors, one front and one rear. Working together, all the motors make about 357 HP, broken down thusly: 190 HP for the TDI, 53 for the front electric, and 114 for the rear. The press release gives the total as about 302, so now I'm a bit confused, but either way, it's a good number of ponies running around under there. VW says these will lunge you from 0-62 in 6.5 seconds.

It's the combination of these motors that make things really interesting; for example, the gas mileage in CITY mode (one of three) comes out to be about 157 mpg. That's the European Combined Cycle, which is usually more generous than our own EPA, but that's still pretty amazing. The Coupé can go up to 28 miles on just electric power (rear motor only), with the TDI kicking in when charge gets low. Another electric mode, OFFROAD, uses both electric motors, and there's a non-pure-electric OFFROAD mode as well, that uses the TDI, the rear electric motor, fed by the front electric motor, which appears, in this mode, to be acting as a generator.

Volkswagen Cross Coupé Concept: Many Motors, Modes

With a combination of electric and diesel power, the torque numbers for the car are pretty huge, with a combined total of 516 lbs ft (700 Nm). That's a lot of twisting. All that torque is available when in SPORT mode, which employs all three motors for full power. If you're getting confused with all these modes, the dash displays different instruments and color schemes for each mode, sort of like that little light under R2-D2's eye, I imagine.

This is a car that does a lot of different things, but that makes sense when you look at it— it's 3 motors, combined into very distinct drivetrains. As long as I don't have to try and troubleshoot repairs on it, it sure seems like an appealing and impressive system.