Volkswagen may have given buyers their first look at the reborn Phaeton this week, with the unveiling of its new C Coupe GTE concept.
Like the Sport Coupe, the new C Coupe wears an evolved and more market-ready take on Volkswagen’s familiar louvred grille design and sharp angular headlights.
With an overall length of 5071mm, the C Coupe GTE is the most obvious candidate yet to replace the current 5060mm model.
Importantly, for the rear legroom-obsessed Chinese market, the concept boasts a 3014mm wheelbase - 13mm longer than in the longest version of the current Phaeton.
For its part, Volkswagen has confirmed it is not ready to give up on the Phaeton badge, despite the poor reception that greeted the 13 year-old (and still in production) first-generation model.
"The sports saloon unequivocally demonstrates our premium standards," Volkswagen brand design boss Klaus Bischoff said in Shanghai.
"The evolution of the Volkswagen design DNA shown here will accompany us worldwide, also on the way to the new Phaeton."
Like the other GTE concepts before it, power in the C Coupe GTE is provided by a plug-in hybrid system that pairs a 155kW 2.0 litre turbo petrol engine with a 91kW electric motor, drawing energy from a 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Volkswagen claims a combined hybrid drive output of 180kW and 500Nm, and an all-electric driving range of up to 50 kilometres.
Fuel consumption in Hybrid mode is estimated to be around 2.3 l/100km on the European test cycle, with CO2 emissions rated at 55g/km.
The 0-100km/h sprint is listed at a stately 8.6 seconds and, in zero-emissions ‘E-Mode’, the concept lists a top speed of 130km/h.
If the C Coupe enters production, we might expect this new PHEV system to be joined by regular petrol and diesel engines.
Features in the four-seat C Coupe GTE include a large 12.3 inch centre infotainment display, along with a pair of personal 9.5 inch entertainment displays in the rear.
Rear passengers also get their own 4.5 inch touchscreen control displays in the centre console, offering controls for seat position and climate control.
Watch for the C Coupe GTE concept to morph into the next Phaeton over the year ahead.