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Volkswagen looks to a sporty offroader (pictures)

Volkswagen's Cross Coupe GTE concept mixes in a number of recent innovations, from cabin to drivetrain, resulting in a high-performance and gasoline-sipping car with off-road capability.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
1 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET

DETROIT -- Volkswagen has shown off variations of this medium-sized SUV concept over the last couple of years, calling it everything from the CrossBlue to the Cross Coupe TDI. The latest incarnation, on show here, uses the name Cross Coupe GTE, the last three letters evoking the same sort of hybrid drivetrain performance we saw in the Golf GTE.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
2 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET

Under the hood sits a 3.6-liter V-6 direct injection engine, good for 276 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, driving the front wheels. The transmission integrates an  electric motor-generator, and another electric motor drives the rear wheels, giving the Cross Coupe GTE four-wheel-drive.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
3 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET

Volkswagen notes that the aggressive front-end design of the Cross Coupe GTE will be used in a new seven-seat SUV for the US.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
4 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET

This Cross Coupe GTE concept holds five passengers, and gains its coupe name from the raked rear pillars.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
5 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET

The Cross Coupe includes four drive modes. GTE offers sporty onroad performance, while Off-road ensures that all four wheels are driven. E-mode powers the car with electricity for its stated range of about 20 miles. Battery hold/charge lets the driver either maintain the current battery level or have the engine charge the battery.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
6 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET

A 14.1 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack powers the rear motor, and can be charged through the car's plug-in port. That port also includes a 110-volt AC outlet.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
7 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET

As a concept the Cross Coupe GTE incorporates a futuristic cabin design, but the features on the dashboard are all in development by Volkswagen.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
8 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET

As part of Volkswagen's performance intention for the Cross Coupe GTE, this concept gets a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
9 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET

An LCD panel for the instrument cluster gives Volkswagen flexibility for what information it shows, especially useful considering the different drive modes and hybrid drivetrain.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
10 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET

As an advancement over the previous Cross concepts from Volkswagen, the Cross Coupe GTE gets a similar gesture-controlled cabin tech interface to what we saw at CES on the Golf R Touch concept.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
11 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET

The Cross Coupe GTE uses a bench for the rear seat, although the seven-seat SUV promised for the US will use a different configuration.

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
12 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET

Tablets mounted on the headrests look similar to the Android-based tablets that Audi developed for its cars. These tablets are closely integrated with the car, letting rear seat passengers control entertainment, load destinations into navigation and view vehicle running data.

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