2015 Volkswagen C Coupe GTE Concept
Volkswagen is debuting the C Coupe GTE Concept vehicle at the Shanghai auto show this year, positioning it as a chiseled looker of a luxury-liner for the Chinese market, with tons of technology and comfort, and an efficient hybrid drivetrain. On the outside, you’ll find ambient lighting, and lines similar to those seen on the Sport Coupe Concept from Geneva. This car, however, is much larger, slotting between the Passat and Phaeton in terms of catalog hierarchy. Inside, you’ll find chauffeur-oriented equipment up front and lounge kit in back. It’s ideal for the busy businessperson, and surprisingly, somewhat realistic for a concept car.
VW says it’s a premonition of things to come from its most expensive models: “The future of the new Volkswagen premium class models is indeed starting in Shanghai because the C Coupe GTE very clearly shows the new ‘face’ of top Volkswagen saloons for the first time and an unparalleled superior design presence,” says Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design of the Volkswagen brand. "The sports saloon unequivocally demonstrates our premium standards. The evolution of the Volkswagen design DNA shown here will accompany us worldwide – also on the way to the new Phaeton.”
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen C Coupe GTE Concept.
2015 Volkswagen C Coupe GTE Concept
Horsepower @ RPM:241
Torque @ RPM:368
0-60 time:8.6 sec.
Top Speed:144 mph
Although it has four doors, the C Concept backs its claim to “coupey-ness” thanks to long, gently curving C-pillars that flow into the rear end with sporty stylishness. The paint hue is called “Golden Atmosphere” and was specifically chosen for the Chinese market, which presumably associates gold with the attributes of wisdom, tolerance, patience and power.
The hood line is extended, an aspect VW says enhances the car’s “prestige clearance,” which describes the distance between the front door shut line and the central point of the front axle. More distance means a longer hood without significant front overhang. VW also says the C Coupe Concept is the first car based on a new modular longitudinal matrix, which enabled the designers to refine the prestige clearance concept.
Based on VAG’s MLB underpinnings, the C Coupe Concept is a vast, behemoth of a vehicle.
Based on VAG’s MLB underpinnings, the C Coupe Concept is a behemoth of a vehicle. It’s 199.64 inches long, 75.98 inches wide, and 56.88 inches tall, with a 118.66-inch wheelbase. The overhangs, however, are relatively short for a car of this size, at only 36.38 inches up front and 44.61 inches in the back. Appropriately sized 22-inch rims sit at all four corners, wrapped in 265/30 rubber.
The design lines are trim and sharp, somewhat reminiscent of the 2014 Audi Prologue Coupe Concept unveiled in Los Angeles last year, or the Sport Coupe Concept revealed in Geneva this year. The grille is much smaller than the piece found on the four-ring product, but uses a similar chrome-bar scheme that looks a bit three-dimensional. The front fascia also uses thin dual LED headlights, although the VW’s are squarer next to the wedge-like headlights on the Audi. Two large air inlets framed by C-shaped LED daytime running lights can be found in the bottom half of the bumper. A single line of chrome runs a ring around the base of the car, front, sides, and back.
While integral to the overall design language, the lighting is also part of an exterior ambiance scheme new to VW. When the car is unlocked by either remote or keyless entry, the entire vehicle lights up, front to back. First, the VW emblem fixed to the front grille is illuminated, followed by the contour in the top radiator grille crossbar and headlight bezels. Then, a narrow band of light that runs along the car’s flank is illuminated, shining down on the retractable door handles. The light flows into the rear, terminating at the taillights and rear VW emblem.
The profile features a prominent shoulder line that’s sharply cut and mirrored below, accentuating the length of the vehicle, particularly around the C-pillar. The wheel arches complement the long look with equally muscular width. The windows are framed in chrome, while the doors are frameless.
Out back, you’ll find horizontal surfaces that underscore the car’s width. The taillights wrap into the rear flanks, connected by the ambient lighting feature when the car is unlocked. Chrome strips can be found at multiple levels, including the lower bumper, which integrates dual geometric exhaust pipes.
|Length||5,071 MM (199.64 Inches)|
|Width||1,930 MM (75.98 Inches)|
|Height||1,445 MM (56.88 Inches)|
|Wheelbase||3,014 MM (118.66 Inches)|
VW claims the C Coupe Concept is both a sporty sedan and the kind of car you’d want be chauffeured around in, all wrapped up in one neat package. Like the exterior, the interior features wrap-around ambient lighting, which helps impress when relaxing as a passenger, complemented by 74.09 inches of interior length that is best utilized by those lounging in the rear. For the driver, the dash panel and interior architecture have been designed with a focus on technical performance.
VW has developed something it calls “chauffeur mode,” where important information (like a list of the passenger’s appointments) is transferred via smartphone to the car’s infotainment system. According to a press release, “This means that the chauffeur has a chronological list of appointments specially tailored to his tasks and is able to provide his boss with further information upon reaching the destination, for example the floor and room of the appointment. Parallel to this, the appointment list also serves to plan the navigation route for the day.” This information is filtered specifically to fit the needs of the driver. If the passenger needs further direction beyond where the car can drive, “Last Mile Navigation” is transferred to his or her smartphone.
VW has developed something it calls “chauffeur mode,” where important information (like a list of the passenger’s appointments) is transferred via smartphone to the car’s infotainment system.
The dash is colored in Blizzard Grey anthracite up top, and continues the exterior’s horizontal design scheme. Below the air vents is Damascus steel trim, which is made from a complicated additive process requiring a good deal of craftsmanship. The trim runs parallel with the ambient lighting system and is repeated in the instruments and door panels. The doors also have contoured wood trim. An analog-look clock is placed in the central instrument panel, but the face is interchangeable with other functions pertaining to infotainment content and vehicle status, such as interior air quality from the cabin air purification system. Other trim includes high-gloss black in the door panels and B-pillars, not to mention in the dash where it integrates the infotainment system and instrument cluster.
The infotainment includes a large, high-definition 12.3-inch touchscreen display acting as a central hub for system controls. The driver can use this to call up information pertinent to the task of delivering his or her passenger to the right place at the right time, including synched navigation info. This is also the interface for the climate control.
The instrument cluster also uses an HD 12.3-inch display, fully integrated into the dash thanks to a 3D-look ambient lighting effect. In “basic configuration,” this display shows two round instruments, with the “power meter” on the left and the speedometer on the right. However, a variety of information can be displayed on this system, including playlists, vehicle data and navigation. A 3D display of landmarks in navigation mode assists driver orientation. The graphics also change between driving modes, outlined in the “Drivetrain” section below.
You’ll find seating for four, with the left and ride side of the car separated by a large continuous center console running the length of the interior. This features space for the gear selector equipped with “shift-by-wire control logic,” which basically means you nudge it to go between reverse, neutral and drive. Park can be found on a separate button.
When a car comes with something called chauffeur mode, you can bet the rear seats have some good things going for them. Not only are they roomy, materials like wood and leather abound. VW says “The shape of the wood, the trim elements and the wrap-around ambient lighting visually connect the rear and the driver’s area with each other,” and by the look of it, I’d agree.
Technology in the back includes two personal 4.5-inch touchscreens in the central console, used to adjust seating position and climate control for either the right or left side. The passengers can also use a smartphone or tablet to control two additional 9.5-inch screens mounted in the backs of the front seats. A 600-watt Dynaudio sound system is also controlled via these systems. The stereo features aluminum trim around the speakers.
Integrated into the doors are controls used to operate the electric windows and side blinds, as well as adjustment of the “infinitely variable darkening” panoramic sliding roof, which goes between transparent and opaque thanks to an “electrochromic foil.” A roof console trimmed in high-gloss black houses two vanity mirrors and an illuminated surface. Finally, refreshments can be carried in a chilled champagne box.
Refreshingly, the C Coupe eschews the typical fusion reactor hyper drive usually found on concept cars, in favor of something much more down to Earth. You could even call it tame.
The car uses a plug-in hybrid drivetrain good for 242 horsepower, 369 pound-feet of torque, and 102 mpg. Emissions are rated at 55 g/km. Making these numbers is a 207-horsepower turbocharged direct injection TSI four-cylinder gas engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Electric assistance comes from a 122-horsepower electric motor integrated into the gearbox module, powered by a rear-mounted lithium-ion battery.
With all this efficiency, you’d expect the C Coupe Concept to not be very fast. And you’d be right – 0-to-60 mph takes 8.6 seconds and top speed is 144 mph.
The battery has energy content of 14.1 kWh, and can be charged externally from an outlet or while driving from regenerative braking. Up to 31 miles of emission-free driving are possible when the battery is fully charged. Total range with the four-banger activated is over 684 miles.
With all this efficiency, you’d expect the C Coupe Concept to not be very fast. And you’d be right – 0-to-60 mph takes 8.6 seconds and top speed is 144 mph. However, there are several driving modes to help the driver eke out all the power he can in certain situations.
Hybrid mode is the standard, using a combination of the TSI and electric motor. If the driver releases the throttle and the battery is sufficiently charged, all drive sources are shut off and decoupled from the drivetrain, effectively keeping the car coasting without using energy or gas or emitting carbon.
Pressing a button in the console activates E-Mode, which sees only the electric motor providing motive power while the TSI is decoupled and shut off. If the gas ICE is needed, due to insufficient battery charge or other parameters, the TSI is reconnected in fractions of a second. Max speed in this mode is 81 mph.
A button to the left of the gear lever activates GTE Mode, thus yielding top performance. The throttle response is sharpened, the gearbox changes gears quicker, and both the TSI and electric motor work in unison for max output.
Finally, there’s Battery Charge/Battery Hold mode, which does exactly what you’d think – either charging the battery or keeping it at it’s current power level. This is activated via a submenu in the infotainment system.
|Drive system||Plug-in hybrid|
|Drivetrain concept||Front-wheel drive|
|Petrol engine||2.0 TSI (turbocharged, direct-injection)|
|Electric motor||91 kW / 162 LB-FT|
|System power||241 HP|
|System torque||368 LB-FT|
|Battery energy capacity||14.1 kWh|
|Top Speed||232 KM/H (144 MPH)|
|Top Speed E-Mode||130 KM/H (80 MPh)|
|0-100 km/h||8.6 seconds|
|Fuel consumption (NEDC, combined)||2.3 l/100 km|
|CO2 emissions (NEDC, combined)||55 g/km|
|Range, electric||50 km (31 miles)|
|Range, total||> 800 km (497 miles)|
This thing is just a concept, so there’s currently no price tag. However, if the C Coupe Concept made it to production with all the aforementioned luxury and technology, prices would probably be in the $75,000 to $80,000 ballpark. That’s a lot for a VW, but if you’re in the market for a car with something called chauffeur mode, then such figures are probably not an issue.
BMW ActiveHybrid 7
Note: vehicle pictured is 2010 model.
Featuring that classic Bimmer styling with all the efficiency of an electrically assisted drivetrain, the ActiveHybrid 7 gets nearly 40 mpg while sprinting to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. All that size on the outside translates into plenty of space on the inside, which is complemented by premium leather upholstery, flat-screens, and a high-end sound system. Anyone looking for a bit of extra sporting flair can opt for the M Sport Package. MSRP starts at around $85,000, but expect that figure to rise dramatically as options are added.
Read our full review here.
The C Coupe Concept is an interesting take on VW luxury and technology. It’s aimed squarely at the Chinese market, and is built to impress business moguls who need a moment of respite between high-pressure meetings
The exterior looks large and in charge, exhibiting the typical concept car flair with exaggerated proportions and huge wheels. Personally, I think it looks great, with well-sculpted, muscular lines and a simple aesthetic. Hopefully, VW doesn’t feel the need to change too much when looking to the C Coupe for future exterior inspiration.
The interior is equally impressive, with technology that makes sense in a very un-concept-like fashion. This is repeated in the drivetrain, and although I find it hard to see the sporty attitude, I do applaud VW for giving us a drivetrain that might actually see the light of day in production form.
The question, though, is if anyone would buy a $75,000 VW. Part of the problem is in brand recognition. However, in China, such prejudices may simply not exist, which means the C Coupe Concept might have traction in the future.