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VW’s Cross Coupe GTE Concept Sets Stage for Cross Blue

Five-seat SUV sets the design pattern for larger ute.

by on Jan.11, 2015

The 2015 Cross Coupe GTE concept revealed at the Detroit Auto Show is a precursor to the Cross Blue.

Volkswagen is looking to whet the appetites of those looking forward to its U.S.-built seven-passenger SUV with the 2015 Cross Coupe GTE concept revealed at the Detroit Auto Show.

The upscale, five-passenger concept is a “preview” of the long-awaited Cross Blue, which will be built in Tennessee beginning late next year. The Cross Coupe uses a plug-in hybrid system developing 355 horsepower and an all-wheel-drive system that uses an “electric driveshaft.”  VW estimated the mileage on the SUV at 70 MPGe.

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“The Cross Coupe GTE is the ambassador of a new design language developed by Volkswagen for the U.S.,” said Klaus Bischoff, chief designer at Volkswagen. “The concept car has a commanding presence; it is powerful with a look that could almost be described as aggressive.” (more…)

VW Will Build Beetle Dune

But no plans yet for U.S. version of modern dune buggy.

by on Jul.03, 2014

The Beetle Dune Concept will reach European showrooms by sometime early in 2016.

Few cars have ever been more popular – or lent themselves more to tinkering than the original Volkswagen Beetle. And a half century ago, a popular pastime was converting the Bug into a dune buggy.

At the Detroit Motor Show, earlier this year, VW showed off what a modern sand-crawler might look like in the form of the Beetle Dune Concept which, the maker hinted, was “is a potential version of the design icon.”


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That potential is about to turn into reality, it seems, VW confirming that it plans to build a version of the Beetle Dune, with a European launch scheduled for sometime in early 2016. What’s unclear is whether a U.S. version will follow, something that would seem a natural for the concept.


Is This VW’s New Dune Buggy?

Beetle Dune Concept to Debut in Detroit.

by on Jan.09, 2014

VW appears quite serious about putting the Beetle Dune concept into production.

You’re going to need a scorecard to keep up with all the offerings Volkswagen plans to unveil in Detroit next week, including its sporty Golf R, Passat BlueMotion Concept, a likely production version of the CrossBlue crossover – and, as this image suggests, a possible new version of the Beetle.

If this rendering strikes a retro chord, no surprise. It’s apparently an attempt to recapture the mystique of the once-popular dune buggy based off the original, long-lasting VW Bug.  And to fast-forward to what’s likely to be the most frequent question, maybe, says VW, telling us “the Beetle Dune concept is a potential version of the design icon.”


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Now, this isn’t the stripped-down Dune Buggy of the ‘60s, where customizers stripped almost everything out of the first-generation Beetle, often including the body itself.  This show car is a closed-top coupe and, in fact, borrows its sportier drivetrain from Beetle R-Line edition.


VW Passat BlueMotion Concept Squeezes Subcompact Mileage out of a Midsize Sedan

More proof the internal combustion engine isn’t dead.

by on Jan.08, 2014

VW's Passat BlueMotion Concept could make it even harder to justify a hybrid.

There are a number of folks – including some California regulators – who’d be happy to see the internal combustion engine go extinct. But as makers of hybrids and other battery-cars have learned to their chagrin, the time-tested ICE is proving a moving target that’s shown a lot more life than many expected.

A case in point is the Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept making its world debut next week at the North American International Auto Show.  With a highway fuel economy rating estimated at 42 mpg, the German sedan is nudging into compact and even subcompact territory.

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How get near-hybrid efficiency out of a conventional gasoline engine? VW engineers pulled several tricks out of their sleeves.  For one thing, the BlueMotion Concept adopts increasingly familiar Stop/Start technology which briefly shuts the engine off, rather than idling.  There’s also a transmission decoupling system that lets the Passat prototype freewheel when coasting, reducing normal frictional losses. But there’s an even more novel approach alternately known as cylinder deactivation and variable displacement.


VW Reveals CrossBlue Midsize SUV Concept

6-seater designed specifically for U.S. market.

by on Jan.14, 2013

VW says the CrossBlue Concept was designed specifically for the US market.

Volkswagen has promised to double the range of SUVs and crossovers it currently offers – and a critical addition to the line-up is making its first appearance at the Detroit Auto Show this week.  Dubbed CrossBlue, the midsize SUV concept has been developed specifically for the North American market.

Significantly, the prototype on display at the 2013 North American International Auto Show features VW’s new diesel-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain, a technology the maker boasts can deliver a mix of performance, range and segment-leading fuel economy.

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Whether the diesel hybrid technology will actually be offered in the U.S. market remains to be seen, but a production version of the CrossBlue Concept is expected to reach showrooms in the near future. Company officials say it is critical if they hope to meet their target of setting an all-time sales record in the American market before the end of the decade.


Volkswagen Reveals Passat Performance Concept

More punch from a midsize package.

by on Jan.11, 2013

A show car for now, the Volkswagen Passat Performance Concept may yet return in production trim.

Like many of its competitors, Volkswagen has a handful of offerings to share with the media and mainstream masses next week but while it’s keeping a reported new SUV under wraps for now the German maker has decided to pull the covers off another new entry.

And the Passat Performance Concept suggests we’ll be getting a little more punch out of the maker’s midsize mainstay in the near future, even though VW is only suggesting the show car is meant to “explore this practical four-door’s sportier side.”

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The overall look is still that of a practical sedan.  While some makers have been emphasizing show over go – witness the new Dodge Dart GT – Volkswagen appears to be downplaying the visual excesses.  The only real upgrades to the exterior include larger bi-xenon headlamps, LED taillights, 19-inch Luxor alloy wheels, a dual exhaust system, two-tone leather seats and carbon fiber interior accents.


VW Rolls Out Battery “Bugster,” and Hybrid Passat

Battery-powered “great comeback.”

by on Jan.10, 2012

The Beetle-based Volkswagen E-Bugster battery-electric concept car.

Volkswagen bugged out on its Detroit Auto Show news conference, the maker introducing the Beetle-based E-Bugster concept car, along with a hybrid version of its popular Jetta model.

Both are intended to show that despite its slow entry into the world of electrification, Volkswagen aims, by 2018, “to be the most sustainable automaker and will further invest heavily in research and development,” according to VW AG CEO Martin Winterkorn.

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The E-Bugster, short for Electric-Bug speedster is the latest in VW’s growing line-up of Blue e-motion concepts.  It’s not your classic convertible but features a chopped and removable roof that gives it a look that some might find more like the new Mini Roadster than the classic Volkswagen Beetle.


VW Going Electric at Detroit Auto Show

German maker to unveil Passat hybrid and a new battery car.

by on Dec.14, 2011

Volkswagen will reveal a new hybrid version of the Passat sedan during the Detroit Auto Show.

Volkswagen hopes to charge into the upcoming Detroit Auto Show with a pair of battery-based vehicles including a new hybrid version of its hot-selling Passat sedan.

The German maker is better known for its commitment to diesel technology, so-called “oil burners” accounting for as much as a third of the sales of some of its U.S. models.  But to win over the growing “green car” segment, both here and abroad, VW has been putting a bigger emphasis on electric propulsion.

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The arrival of a Passat hybrid would follow the launch of the maker’s first gas-electric model, the Touareg Hybrid, last year.  The newer offering is due to market by November as a 2013 model.

As for the battery-electric vehicle that Volkswagen plans to show in Detroit the maker isn’t ready to release details beyond saying the small zero-emissions vehicle will not be the same E-Up model that it first revealed during the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009.