Johannesburg Motor Show - This, says Volkswagen, is the SUV of the future - a 225kW, all-wheel-drive four-seater with a top speed of 220km/h and the fuel consumption of a moped.
It's the Cross Coupé concept, the star of the VW stand at Nasrec - a plug-in hybrid with a direct-injection turbodiesel and two electric motors, that returns an astonishing 1.8 litres per 100km in the New European Driving Cycle, equivalent to CO2 emissions of just 46 g/km.
The concept is a runner, based on VW's Modular Transverse Matrix, in which certain design parameters - such as the distance between the accelerator pedal and the front-wheel axis, and the mounting position for all engines - are standardised across model series and brands, while others, such as the wheelbase, track widths and wheel sizes, can be varied to suit the application.
In this case they include a 140Kw, EA288 two-litre oil-burner, a six-speed DSG 'box, a lithium-ion battery in the centre tunnel, a 40kW electric motor on the front axle and an 85kW electric motor on the rear axle.
VW quotes 400Nm at 1600rpm for the TDI, 180Nm for the front motor and 270 for the rear - together they'll take the 1858kg concept to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds. In pure electric mode its top speed is limited to 120km/h, with a range of "up to 45km".
The necessary amps come from a 370-volt, 9.8kWh a lithium-ion battery consisting of eight modules, which can be charged either by the turbodiesel while driving or a conventional 220V socket.
Electric driving range and total range are continually displayed in real time.
As soon as the driver lifts his or her foot from the accelerator, both electric motors and the engine are shut down and disconnected from the wheels - provided that the battery is sufficiently charged.
If not, the two electric motors switch over to generator mode to feed energy recovered from braking into the battery.
In off-road mode, the diesel drives the front wheels and supplies electricity to the 85kW rear electric motor (VW calls it the 'electric propshaft') so that all-wheel drive is always available, even when the battery is flat.
At 4357mm long, 1868mm wide and 1523 high, the Cross Coupé concept is bigger than a Golf7 but smaller than a Tiguan, with an unusually long 2630mm wheelbase for short overhangs, and impressive approach and departure angles, running on 20" alloys shod with 265/45 rubber.
A touchscreen in the centre stack displays three different layouts according to Sport, City or Offroad modes, each with its own colour scheme, while a second display between the major dials provides vehicle, telephony and audio information.
The cabin has four individual seats, each with a plastic rear shell, providing a durable cargo surface when the rear seats (and the front passenger seat, if necessary for long items) are folded to increase luggage capacity from 380 to 1230 litres.
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