Volkswagen Cross Coupe concept: Now even more efficient
Last year, Volkswagen unveiled the Cross Coupe concept at the Tokyo Motor Show, powered by a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid system with low fuel consumption of 2.7 litres per 100 km (around 105 mpg) and CO2 emissions of just 62 g/km. This year, a new Cross Coupe is making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, but with an even more frugal drivetrain that promises to return a combined cycle figure of 1.8 litres per 100 km (around 157 mpg) with emissions of just 46 g/km of CO2.
Making this possible is a drivetrain consisting of a turbodiesel direct injection engine and two electric motors, which together produce 306 PS (225 kW) of power. That’s enough to propel the 1,858 kg Cross Coupe to a top speed of 220 kmh (137 mph).
The Cross Coupe is built on Volkswagen’s new modular transverse matrix (MQB). This revolutionary new platform standardises certain parameters across models and brands (for example the distance between the accelerator pedal and the front axle), but makes many other parameters variable, creating maximum flexibility for more effectively developing a wide range of models. This not only means it is as easy to make a Cross Coupe that uses a petrol-electric hybrid system as a diesel-electric hybrid, but also to use combustion engines alone, or electric power alone for example.
The Cross Coupe uses many elements of the new MQB modular toolkit: MQB front and rear SUV suspension, plus the new 190 PS TDI EA 288 engine, in this case mated to a six-speed DSG transmission. Added to this is a lithium-ion battery in the centre console, plus a 40 kW electric motor at the front and an 85 kW motor at the rear. Together, these can propel the Cross Coupe from zero to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds.
The 2.0-litre TDI engine alone provides the Cross Coupe with 295 lbs ft of torque (400 Nm) from just 1,600 rpm, while the front E-motor provides 133 lbs ft (180 Nm) and the rear E-motor a further 199 lbs ft (270 Nm). The drive system can provide a maximum of 516 lbs ft 700 Nm at any one time. This helps give the Cross Coupe the performance of a sports car, but with efficiency greater than that of a city car.
In pure electric mode, the Cross Coupe can cover up to 45 km (28 miles) at speeds of up to 120 kmh (75 mph). This is sufficient for the majority of commuters to make the journey to work with zero emissions. Two pure electric modes are available: E-mode (CITY) and E-mode (SPORT). In the former, only the rear motor is used, while in the latter, both E-motors are used. In both pure electric modes, the turbodiesel engine is decoupled from the drivetrain and shut off. If the TDI is needed (for example if the battery’s charge is depleted), it seamlessly re-engages within fractions of a second.
The main battery for the E-motors is in the centre tunnel of the Cross Coupe, and consists of eight lithium-ion modules. The battery has a capacity of 9.8 kWh, and operates at approximately 370 Volts. The battery can either be charged while driving, or from an external 230 Volt power supply.
Should the driver wish to charge the battery while the vehicle is moving, there are two ways of doing this. By selecting CHARGE mode, at the press of a button, the TDI engine will supply power to the battery. This is useful if, for example, the driver is approaching a zero-emissions zone for which they require a fully-charged battery. The battery can also be charged by the electric motors operating as generators when the driver takes their foot off the brake or the accelerator. Should the battery not need charging, when the driver lifts their foot from the brake or accelerator, the Cross Coupe shuts off all motors and engines, and ‘coasts’, providing zero-emissions driving.
For off-road driving, there is an OFFROAD mode, which ensures all four wheels are driven. In this case, the TDI engine powers the front wheels, and also provides energy to the front electric motor. The front electric motor does not, however, power the front wheels. Instead, it becomes the sole source of electrical energy for the rear motor, operating as a kind of ‘electric propshaft’. Because power for the electric motors is provided via the TDI engine, OFFROAD mode is possible even if the battery charge is depleted.
For the sportiest driving experience, the driver can select SPORT mode. This utilises the maximum power of both E-motors and the TDI engine, for maximum acceleration. Similarly for minimum emissions (but with TDI engine engaged), a CITY mode keeps energy consumption to a minimum. In theory, the Cross Coupe’s 55-litre fuel tank thus gives it a range of 1,287 km (800 miles).
As well as a long range, the Cross Coupe has an especially long wheelbase for its overall size, at 2,630 mm. Its 4,357 mm length means it is longer than a Golf, and shorter than a Tiguan, but short overhangs (855 mm front, 860 mm rear) create a more dynamic appearance. In width (1868 mm) and height (1,523 mm) the Cross Coupe sits between the Golf and Tiguan. Track widths of 1,585 mm (front) and 1,613 mm (rear) give it a dynamic and muscular appearance, enhanced by 20-inch wheels, shod with 265/45 tyres.
Inside, there are four individual seats with plastic shells. These not only help preserve each occupant’s personal space, but also provide greater durability when folded to accommodate larger loads. With all the seats in position, the boot has a 380-litre capacity; with rear seats folded this rises to 1,230 litres.
Programmable instruments behind the steering wheel provide different information depending on the mode that the Cross Coupe is in – CITY, OFFROAD or SPORT. For example, in OFFROAD mode, the instruments display gyroscope, compass and topographical map. Each mode not only displays different information, but also a unique colour scheme.
The Cross Coupe is a concept vehicle, and there are no current plans to put it into production.