This is Volkswagen's new SUV concept, seen in public for the first time at this week's Detroit motor show. Called the CrossBlue, it has been developed specifically for the US and Canada and, if it goes into production, would sit above the Tiguan and below the Touareg in the Volkswagen SUV line-up.
VW claims the CrossBlue will average just 2.1 litres per 100km, using a plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a TDI engine and with two electric motors, a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and an electric all-wheel-drive system that it calls 'propshaft by wire'.
VW CrossBlue concept combines a TDI engine with two electric motors, a DSG transmission and an electric all-wheel-drive system.
The concept is 4987mm long, 2015mm wide and 1733 mm high, with 21” alloys, shod with 235/45 rubber on a wide track - 1686mm in front and 1696mm at the rear.
It has two 'fuel caps': one for the diesel tank on the passenger side, the other over two electrical sockets on the driver's side. The first is to charge the lithium-ion battery, while the second can be used to connect electrical devices.
SIX INDIVIDUAL SEATS
It has six individual seats in three rows, but VW says a production version would be a full seven-seater. Access to the rear seats is via sliding second-row seats that can be operated with a single hand movement.
As soon as the driver starts the CrossBlue, controls for the lights, climate control and all-wheel-drive system emerge from their hideen 'off' positions. There's also a 255mm touchscreen in the centre console and an Apple iPad Mini in the back of each front head-restraint.
The CrossBlue's 140kW, two-litre turbodiesel, 40kW front and 85kW rear electric motors combine to deliver a quoted 225kW and 700Nm, which should take it from 0-100 in about seven seconds. Top speed is an estimated 202km/h, or 120km/h in electric mode; the 9.8 kWh lithium-ion battery in the centre tunnel should be good for 33km, using the European driving cycle with only the rear electric motor driving.
The battery can be charged by external power sources or by the engine while the vehicle is moving, by pressing a button on the centre console, so that the diesel engine charges the battery while driving, to store enough electrical energy for battery-only driving later in the journey, for instance in an urban area.
Other operating modes are:
Coasting: When the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the engine and electric motors are disconnected from the drivetrain, provided there is sufficient battery charge.
Battery regeneration: When the accelerator is released or the brakes applied, the electric motors act as generators and feed energy recovered from the brakes into the battery, while the engine is also shut off and disconnected from the drivetrain.
Boosting: When more performance is required, the engine and both electric motors work together to drive all four wheels for maximum acceleration.
Off-road('propshaft by wire'): All four wheels are driven, but the front electric motor is driven by the engine, acting as a generator to power the rear motor.
TDI only: With both electric motors switched off, the CrossBlue is a pure front-wheel-drive vehicle.