Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE Concept Preview

  • 5-passenger crossover SUV
  • Plug-in hybrid powertrain
  • Displays new design signatures for U.S. market
  • Introduces new infotainment and instrumentation technologies


Volkswagen has announced that it will begin production of a 3-row, 7-passenger crossover SUV for the 2017 model year. The new SUV will be built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and will feature front styling similar to what is seen here on the Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE Concept.

The concept vehicle debuted at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, equipped with a plug-in hybrid powertrain and seating for 5 passengers. According to Volkswagen, the "GTE" name reflects the driving character of a grand touring vehicle and the presence of an electric motor powered by a battery.

Exterior Features

According to Klaus Bischoff, chief designer at Volkswagen: "The Cross Coupe GTE is the ambassador of a new design language developed by Volkswagen for the U.S."

Calling the concept SUV "upscale, sporty, rugged, powerful" and "confident," Volkswagen confirms that its new 7-passenger crossover SUV's front styling will look like the Cross Coupe GTE. Painted a color called Grand Pacific Glacier, the Cross Coupe GTE features LED headlights with a new running light signature to be used on future Volkswagen models.

At the back, LED taillights and new Volkswagen brand design elements created specifically for the U.S. market are on display.

Interior Features

Claiming that the Cross Coupe GTE is equipped with the "midsize SUV interior of tomorrow," Volkswagen explains that this concept vehicle's cabin reflects horizontal design orientation as well as features and controls designed for intuitive operation.

In the concept, Volkswagen employs premium, 2-tone semi-aniline leather upholstery with perforated inserts. The front seats are heated and ventilated, and rear-seat occupants get their own touch-screen climate control panel. The Cross Coupe GTE also includes tablet computer attachment points on the front-seat head restraints so that rear passengers can access a number of entertainment options via the SUV's Wi-Fi mobile hotspot connection.

Under the Hood

The Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE Concept is a plug-in hybrid vehicle. It is equipped with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine, front and rear electric drive motors that effectively create an all-wheel-drive system, 14.1-kWh Lithium-ion battery residing in the vehicle's center tunnel, and a 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) automated manual transmission with click-to-shift button control.

According to Volkswagen, total system output is 355 horsepower. The automaker says it takes 6 seconds for the SUV to accelerate to 60 mph from a standstill, and the Cross Coupe GTE Concept's claimed top speed is 130 mph. Volkswagen predicts that the SUV would earn a 70 MPGe efficiency rating from the EPA.

Drivers can choose from a number of different driving profiles that calibrate the drivetrain to specific conditions. They include Eco, Comfort, Sport, Snow, Sand and Gravel, Sludge, and Rocks. Furthermore, five different driving modes are available, including E-Mode, Hybrid, GTE, Off-Road, and Battery Hold/Battery Charge.

Hybrid mode is the default mode when the vehicle is started. In this mode, the gasoline engine and the dual electric motors operate together to propel the SUV. Hybrid mode also includes Coasting and Recuperation settings, and offers the driver the ability to switch to propulsion supplied solely by the V-6 gasoline engine. In this latter mode, the SUV operates as a front-wheel-drive vehicle.

Engage E-Mode and the Cross Coupe GTE provides 20 miles of electric driving range via the rear electric drive motor. In this mode, the SUV operates as a rear-wheel-drive vehicle.

Off-Road Mode continually powers all four wheels even if the battery has reached its minimum state of charge. In this situation, the gasoline engine powers the front electric motor, which then serves as a generator for the rear electric motor via what Volkswagen calls an "electronic driveshaft." Volkswagen says the Cross Coupe GTE is designed to provide aggressive approach, breakover, and departure angles for greater off-road capability.

Place the Cross Coupe GTE into GTE mode to increase performance. In this mode the powertrain produces maximum horsepower and torque, and the SUV's throttle, transmission, and steering settings are adjusted for improved responsiveness.

The Cross Coupe GTE's Battery Hold/Battery Charge mode is accessible via the infotainment system screen. It can be used to hold the SUV in E-Mode for driving in restricted urban areas, which are common in Europe.


Drivers face high-resolution, 12.3-in., Active Info Display digital instrumentation that can be tailored to the preferences of multiple people who might drive the Cross Coupe GTE Concept.

The SUV also includes a 10.1-in. touch-screen infotainment system equipped with 3-D information display and proximity sensors that support what Volkswagen calls "interactive gesture control." By way of illustration through example, the automaker says occupants can swipe and scroll through music playlists without touching the screen.

Additional features include a premium audio system, Wi-Fi connectivity and Internet access, and a Volkswagen Media Control app for tablets that are attached to the front-seat head restraints.