The gas plug-in T-Prime GTE Concept follows the diesel plug-in CrossBlue Concept as Volkswagen is getting ready to launch its full-sized three-row hybrid SUV. This time, we’re looking at a combined output of 375 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque with an electric range of 31 miles. Can it make SUV-crazed Americans care?
While the T-Prime Concept debuted at the Beijing Motor Show, it’s no secret that an economical yet sporty three-row SUV is something that Volkswagen needs to have in America. In fact, this future model is only part of VW’s upcoming SUV offensive, which starts with the introduction of the 2017 Tiguan (and Tiguan Extended Wheelbase in Asia), followed by a new Touareg and the premier of two smaller SUVs, one based on the Golf and another on the compact Polo.
The T-Prime GTE Concept might wow the Chinese audience with four seats this time around, but imagine this car with seven, and we’re in business.
Powered by the combination of a 2.0 TSI with 248 hp and 273 lb-ft and an electric motor packing 134 hp and a maximum torque of 258 lb-ft, the combined system output is 375 horsepower and 516 lb-ft in boosted mode. The powertrain is complete with an eight-speed gearbox sending the juice to all corners through a limited-slip differential for permanent all-wheel drive.
Once you’ve travelled 31 miles without burning any fuel, VW says the car will charge up from a flat state in eight hours using a conventional 220-volt outlet, or in two and a half with a 7.2 kW public charger.
Inside, the T-Prime goes all Audi with the most advanced gesture- and voice control features, touch-sensitive surfaces even for the gearbox operation and a digitalized instrument panel located under a curved piece of glass.
The infotainment system is fully customizable and recognizes swiping motion, so that there’s really no need for conventional buttons messing up all those huge clean surfaces.
We just have to wait and see how much of these futuristic gizmos can make it into production.
If priced well below the Volvo XC90 T8, this might just work for them.