Volkswagen is expanding its model range at high speed and the latest show of this intent is on display at Auto Shanghai—the C Coupé GTE. This sport sedan, which is about five meters long, sprints right into the middle of the C-segment. If it were to go into production it would find its place between the Passat and the Phaeton. Explaining the design concept, Walter de Silva, Head of Design of the Volkswagen Group, says: “Sedans have changed hugely in recent years. The new rear-end design that is oriented to the classic two-door ‘coupé’ has given them more personality. The Volkswagen designers have integrated this stylistic element into the very dynamic design of the C Coupé GTE saloon; they have developed a striking front end and given the vehicle its own authentic character. They have created a model that appeals to Chinese customers, who always follow the trends of European car design with great interest.”
Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design of the Volkswagen brand adds: “The future of the new Volkswagen premium class models is starting in Shanghai because the C Coupé GTE very clearly shows the new ‘face’ of top Volkswagen sedans for the first time.” And he continues: “This sport sedan unequivocally demonstrates our premium standards. The evolution of the Volkswagen design DNA shown here will accompany us worldwide, and on the way to the new Phaeton.”
Technically, the C Coupé GTE has one of the world’s most modern plug-in hybrid systems. It consists of a four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection TSI gasoline engine, an 8-speed automatic gearbox, an electric motor integrated in the transmission housing and a 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery. The TSI engine produces 155 kW/210 PS, the electric motor makes 91 kW/124 PS, and the combined system gives 180 kW/245 PS and an impressive 369 pound-feet of torque. The concept car can travel up to 31 miles in zero emissions E-mode, at up to 81 mph. It has NEDC combined fuel consumption of 2.3 l/100 km or 102 mpg, corresponding to just 55 g/km of CO2 emissions. The vehicle has a total range of more than 684 miles. Despite being so efficient, the C Coupé GTE is a sporty premium car, with 0 to 62 mph acceleration in just 8.6 seconds and a top speed of 144 mph.
The driver can choose between a number of operating modes: Hybrid, E-Mode, GTE and Battery Charge/Battery Hold.
Hybrid. The concept car starts by default in Hybrid mode. The C Coupé GTE is a full hybrid, which charges its battery via regenerative braking and automatically utilizes the right combination of TSI engine and/or electric motor according to the specific driving situation. As soon as the driver releases the accelerator pedal, and the battery is sufficiently charged, all drive sources are shut off and decoupled from the drivetrain. This is a special form of zero emissions “coasting”. If the driver decelerates the vehicle and the battery is insufficiently charged, the electric motor operates as a generator and feeds the energy recovered from braking into the lithium-ion battery. In this case, the TSI engine is also shut off and decoupled.
E-Mode. In E-Mode, which the driver activates by pressing a button, only the electric motor provides propulsive power. During electric driving, the TSI engine is decoupled from the drivetrain by disengaging the clutch, and it is shut off. As soon as the gasoline engine needs to be used again—due to the battery’s charge state or other parameters—it is smoothly coupled to the drivetrain again within fractions of a second. The lithium-ion battery supplies the electric motor with energy. The power electronics integrated in the engine compartment manage the flow of high-voltage electricity to and from the battery and the electric motor. The vehicle’s 12-volt electrical system is supplied with electricity via a DC/DC converter.
GTE. The GTE button—positioned to the left of the shift lever like the E-Mode button—activates the sporty GTE mode. The accelerator pedal, gearbox and steering characteristics are now even sportier. Furthermore, in GTE mode, the TSI engine and electric motor work together in ‘boosting’ which uses the full system power and torque.
Battery Charge/Battery Hold. The dual-mode Battery Hold (battery’s energy content is kept constant) or Battery Charge (battery is charged while driving) is activated from a submenu in the infotainment system. This enables zero-emission driving in E-Mode at the press of a button, for example in a city.
Dimensions and proportions
The concept car is designated a “Coupé” on account of its long flowing C-pillars and tapering trunk section. The C Coupé GTE is painted in “Golden Atmosphere”, a color that was chosen in homage to the Chinese market. In China aspects such as wisdom and tolerance, patience and power are associated with the color gold. The environmentally friendly drive system, the active and passive safety, the superior comfort and the design are in tune with these parameters.
Like all new Volkswagens, this concept car is also characterized by extremely sporty proportions. Defining design traits include the strikingly long hood and short overhang, resulting in a powerful and elegant premium-class design. Because the C Coupé GTE is the first Volkswagen to be based on the new modular longitudinal matrix (MLB), the designers were able to further perfect these upscale proportions.