Volkswagen has revealed the T-Prime GTE concept at the Beijing auto show overnight, which, though only a concept for now, will preview a new flagship SUV model for the German automaker.
The T-Prime GTE merges many of the just-launched VW Tiguan's surfacing and design cues with a deeper eggcrate grille, more pronounced side air intakes, slimmer tail lamps and larger exterior proportions.
It also shows what we can expect Volkswagen's future SUV family - which is expected to grow from today's two models to a full range of six distinct cars across the compact, small, medium, large and upper large SUV categories.
Inside, the concept also hints at where Volkswagen's future in-car technology could go.
Capacitive touch controls are everywhere, a 15-inch curved colour touchscreen dominates the dashboard and the traditional analogue instrument panel has been turfed in favour of an reconfigurable 12-inch electronic display. Even the gear selector becomes a touch-sensitive glass scroll wheel.
Gesture controls are another premium feature, and one that's only just starting to be seen in high-end production cars like the BMW 7 Series.
The choice of cabin materials display VW's premium aspirations for this car, with leather, wood and aluminium all on prominent display. However, despite appearing big enough for three rows of seats, the T-Prime GTE Concept only boasts enough space for four adults.
The T-Prime GTE's power is provided by a plug-in hybrid powertrain, which incorporates an electric motor, a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol inline four and a 14.1kWh lithium-ion battery.
By itself, the petrol engine supplies 182kW and 370Nm while the electric motor makes 98kW and 350Nm. Combined, there's a total power of 275kW and a huge 700Nm of torque - enough to make the T-Prime GTE concept hit 100km/h in just six seconds flat.
It can also be driven entirely on electric power, with a peak range of 50km on a single charge. The battery charges in roughly eight hours on a 220 volt power outlet or 2.5 hours via a quick charging station.
Besides some of the more futuristic elements of its interior, the T-Prime GTE concept looks virtually production-ready. However, while a showroom model has yet to be announced, Volkswagen has confirmed that the T-Prime GTE is a harbinger of things to come.
At Beijing the brand outlined its future SUV strategy, with the Tiguan being the first of its all-new SUV family, followed by a mid-size SUV for the USA and China (predicted to be based on the VW Crossblue concept), then the Touareg's successor, then "a vehicle in the style of the T-Prime Concept GTE".
Below the Tiguan will sit two completely new SUV models: a VW Golf-sized small SUV "inspired by" the T-Roc concpet and a VW Polo-sized compact SUV that will take cues from the T-Cross Breeze displayed recently at the Geneva auto show.
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