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Shanghai show: VW’s svelte CC replacement previewed

Future now: The VW C Coupe GTE concept is set to be a Chinese-market only model, and it measures more than five metres long.

Volkswagen’s Shanghai star delivers more clues to German brand’s next CC


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20 Apr 2015

THE Chinese-market Volkswagen C Coupe GTE concept, revealed at the Shanghai motor show, previews a new design language for future full-sized sedans, such as the next CC and Phaeton limo.

The C Coupe GTE is the first VW to be based on the new modular longitudinal matrix, measuring more than five metres in length, 1.9m wide, just 1.4m tall but with a long wheelbase of just over three metres.

While the current Passat-based CC is due for a new-gen model soon, the 12-year-old Phaeton – which is more popular in China than any other market, given the country's love of long-wheelbase sedans – is well overdue for a replacement.

Volkswagen Group head of design Walter de Silva said sedan design had changed in recent years and the C Coupe reflected that shift.

“The new design of the rear that is oriented to the classic two-door ‘coupe’ has given them more personality,” he said. “The Volkswagen designers have integrated this stylistic element into the very dynamic design of the C Coupe GTE saloon they have developed a striking front end and given the vehicle its own authentic character.”

The concept car’s grille has five chrome bars but the top and middle bars partly frame the dual LED headlights, with the lower air intake bookended by C-shaped LED daytime running lights – all of which forms part of the ambient exterior LED lighting system.

The exterior lighting begins with a glowing VW logo and subsequently surrounds the car in light when first unlocked. It sits on 22-inch wheels to complete the strong stance.

The C Coupe GTE concept is being shown with a larger version of the plug-in hybrid drive system that is similar in operating principle to the Passat GTE that was shown at the Paris motor show late last year.

The petrol side of the equation is taken care of by a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder unit producing 155kW and 350Nm, up from the Passat’s 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine.

An eight-speed automatic transmission (up from six speeds in the Passat GTE) is accompanied by an integrated electric motor, driven by a rear-mounted 14.1kWh lithium-ion battery (up from the 9.9kWh battery in the Passat).

The electric motor offers 91kW and 220Nm, able to drive the vehicle without petrol power up to a speed of 130km/h or a range of 50km.

The driver can choose between operating modes, but the C Coupe GTE defaults to the petrol-electric hybrid mode - unlike the Passat GTE which starts in electric mode - and can manually be switched to full electric mode.

When performance desires trump economy, the GTE mode is manually selected by the driver to sharpen steering, throttle and transmission, as well as instructing the petrol and electric drivetrain to deliver full power.

VW said the combined petrol-electric hybrid drive develops 180kW and 500Nm – outputs 20kW and 100Nm above the Passat GTE - enough for a sprint to 100km/h in 8.6 seconds and a 232km/h top speed.

The combined European fuel consumption figure claim of 2.3L/100km is sufficiently frugal for an overall range of at least 800km.

VW said the C Coupe GTE has been designed as a sporty four-seater car to appeal to drivers, as well as being an ideal chauffeur car, where the long wheelbase equals generous rear legroom.

Embedded in the infotainment system is a chauffeur mode, where information relevant to the driver’s duties about the rear passenger’s schedule can be transferred via a smartphone to the car’s on-board system.

There are also displays detailing air quality, as well as other more conventional infotainment functions on the 12.3-inch high-definition touchscreen display.

The driver is informed by a similarly large Active Info Display which produces an instrument cluster on a high-definition screen with 3D visual effect.

Occupants in the rear are afforded controls for seat and climate control systems by way of smaller touchscreens in the rear centre console.

The rear passengers are able to use a mobile media control unit (a smartphone or tablet) to control the two 9.5-inch screens in the backrests of the front seats for their personal entertainment.

Electric side window blinds and an electrochromic auto-darkening glass roof will keep glare from the screens or just improve rear privacy.

Volkswagen Australia general manager of communications Karl Gehling said there were no plans for the C Coupe GTE - as it is only a concept car - and he reiterated the German brand’s absence of plans for plug-in hybrids without legislated incentives and adequate demand.

“We have no plans for it, as it is only a concept.”“This concept car doesn’t change anything for us in Australia on plug-in hybrids, we have such low demand we don’t have any plans to introduce one.”“Obviously we’ve got the option, there are a number of models available to us to expand our line-up but at this stage we’re not planning on it,” he said.

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