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CrossBlue Concept - VW Look To The Future

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Volkswagen CrossBlue

CrossBlue Concept - VW Look To The Future

Geoff Maxted
November 15, 2013

Volkswagen CrossBlue Volkswagen CrossBlue Volkswagen CrossBlue
Gird your loins. More news of concepts cars to be revealed. This time it’s Volkswagen who are giving a spectacular glimpse of the future with a new era of SUV design with the U.S. debut of the CrossBlue Coupé concept at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The CrossBlue Coupé has a plug-in hybrid powertrain that is as fuel-efficient as it is sporty. A turbocharged direct-injection (TSI) V6 petrol engine works together with two electric motors to produce as much as 415 horsepower. This SUV can thus perform like a sports car, with a 0 to 60 mph time of just 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 147 mph, whilst still delivering an estimated combined fuel consumption of 70 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). In hybrid mode, it allows for a theoretical range of around 570 miles.

The CrossBlue Coupé can be driven as a zero emissions EV for up to thirteen miles at a maximum speed of 75 mph: to intentionally use this eco-friendly mode in urban areas, the driver simply pushes a button. The concept vehicle is based off the new Modular Transverse Matrix platform and could, if it were produced, be fitted with conventional four or six cylinder engines running on a variety of fuels. Equipped with five comfortable seats and a spacious trunk, the CrossBlue Coupé definitely belongs to the SUV avant-garde.

The relatively long 117.3inch wheelbase and wide track sit on large 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels that are shod with 285/40 tyres especially designed for the concept.

As you can see for yourself, the concept features a long and broad bonnet, a very short frontal overhang, and a long roofline. The concept’s sporty stance is further improved by a very short A-pillar and a very swept back C-pillar, as well as a distinctive character line. The designers have combined a dominant line—one that starts in the upper area of the rear lights and runs at the height of the door handles—with a second line that begins beneath the rear lights and ends in the front bumper. The space between the two lines narrows towards the front and ends beneath the A-pillar in a stylized chrome air outlet. These lines significantly reduce the SUV’s visual centre of gravity.

Despite the dynamic styling, practicality is central to this vehicle’s mission. An example is the way that the doors open wide for optimal entry and egress, as well as extending down into the sill area. The ports for the fuel tank and battery were uniformly integrated into the design of the CrossBlue Coupé. The fuel filler neck is located under a lid on the right side of the vehicle, with the electrical outlet cover opposite it on the left side.

An especially prominent feature of the elegant and clean interior is a horizontal dashboard graphic that extends into the side door trims. Upscale materials abound in the cabin: velvety soft Nappa leather. Chrome surfaces that are polished on top and sandblasted in a matte finish on their chamfered edges; dark aluminium and naturally-treated wood accents. The seats are also upholstered in elegant Nappa leather.

As soon as the driver’s door is opened, the controls come to life apparently. When the “Engine” button is pressed, the switches for the climate control and headlights instantly lift from rest. At the same time, all of the display layouts appear on the monitors and the ambient lighting is activated.

The uppermost level of the centre console contains the buttons for the seat heaters and air circulation as well as the hazard lights switch. Beneath these, there are three knobs for the four-zone climate control: the left and right ones control the temperature, and the middle knob adjusts the fan level.

Arranged conveniently on the right side, next to the gear lever grip, are the buttons for ESC deactivation (used when driving in deep snow, for example) and for the drive modes: “Sport”, “Eco”, “Offroad”, “Charge”, and “EV” (electric driving). The shifter for the six-speed transmission has very short throws, thanks to a new drive-by-wire system. A veritable host of technology is also featured.

The driver can intentionally switch over to a charging mode by pressing another button on the centre console. The TSI engine charges the battery while driving in order to store enough electrical energy for EV operation later in the journey—for instance, in an urban area. There are also a number of other specific modes that automatically come into play, depending on the circumstances.

Coasting: As soon as the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the engine and electric motors are decoupled from the drivetrain and the engine is shut off, provided that the battery is sufficiently charged. This is referred to as “coasting.” No emissions are generated.

Battery regeneration: Whenever the driver releases the accelerator pedal or applies the brakes, and the battery is insufficiently charged, the two electric motors act as generators and feed energy recovered from the brakes into the lithium-ion battery. In this case, the TSI engine is also shut off and decoupled from the drivetrain to ensure maximum regeneration.

Boosting: When very sporty performance is required, the electric motors form an alliance with the TSI engine known as “boosting”: in this mode, all four wheels are driven.

Offroad (“propshaft by wire”): All four wheels are also driven whenever Offroad mode is intentionally activated. In this case, however, the front electric motor—which is now supplied with energy by the TSI engine—operates exclusively as a generator and a power source for the electric motor at the rear. Since the energy for driving the rear wheels is electrical rather than mechanical, this is referred to as “propshaft by wire”. Because the TSI engine drives the front wheels in off­road mode, the four-wheel-drive system is still operational even when the battery doesn’t have much charge.

Really this is just a précis of all the information Volkswagen have put out about this car. It’s endless, which signifies, at least to us, that there’s a pretty good chance that something like the CrossBlue could make an appearance in the next couple of years.

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