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VW shows off hybrid coupe concept

The New Compact Coupe, a hybrid concept car, can disengage the gasoline engine when it's not needed to improve fuel economy.

VW's New Compact Coupe seen at its Detroit debut Monday.
VW's New Compact Coupe seen at its Detroit debut Monday. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

DETROIT--Volkswagen on Monday rolled out a hybrid concept car called the New Compact Coupe, a machine the company said will get 45 miles per gallon by combining a four-cylinder gasoline engine from the company's TSI with a 1.1 kWh lithium-ion battery.

When the car's gasoline engine isn't needed, it shuts off and is disengaged from the transmission to cut down on drag, including at highway speeds. The braking system can recover energy by storing it in the battery, the company said at the concept car's unveiling at the North American International Auto Show here.

The electric motor, mounted between the engine and a 7-speed automatic gearbox, can be used for pure electric driving, Volkswagen said. The 1.4-liter gasoline engine generates power of 150 horsepower; the electric motor produces 27 horsepower.

The concept car's 8-inch touch screen can control the radio and navigation system. Climate controls are separate, located immediately below the screen.

The interior, done out in "Berry White" leather, seats four comfortably, VW said.

Disclosure: Stephen Shankland's spouse is employed by Tesla Motors.