VW has sprung a surprise at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show with the C Coupe GTE concept – large four-door Coupe that will inspire a production model in 2016. Unfortunately though, unless sales of large saloons picks up significantly in Europe it’s destined to be a China-only model.
Measuring in at over five metres long, it’s roughly the size of a Mercedes S-Class and is designed to sit below the range-topping Phaeton, plugging a gap in VW’s saloon line-up. “In China we have the Magotan, we will have the new Passat CC and then there’s a big gap to the Phaeton,” VW design chief Klaus Bishoff told us. “This fills that hole.”
Bishoff confirmed that an all-new Phaeton will launch in mid to late 2017, but claimed only “small details” from this concept will be carried over. The Phaeton’s front-end design, for example, will be completely unique.
But the Phaeton will be a one-off in that respect. Bishoff’s plan is to group future VW models and build in greater distinction between those groups. “Over the next years you will see SUV type faces, saloon type faces and small car faces,” Bishoff explained. “The idea is to differentiate them more.”
Based on the new MLB platform, the C Coupe GTE will be styled more like a saloon and less like a coupe for production, Bishoff confirmed. He also pointed out that it was larger than the current short-wheelbase Phaeton, suggesting that the 2017 Phaeton will be noticeably bigger than the current car.
The C Coupe GTE’s interior is tailored to its Chinese audience, with two individual rear seats for those who like to be chauffeur driven. The hi-tech layout could be another clue to the Phaeton, with a digital instrument cluster and two further touch screens in the centre console. Rear passengers get wraparound screens and a digital centre console to control the various infotainment and climate functions.
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The GTE in the concept’s name points towards its plug-in hybrid powertrain, which combines a 2.0 TFSI engine and an electric motor in the eight-speed transmission for a total of 241bhp and 500Nm of torque. It can travel 31 miles on electric power only, cover 497 miles in total between fill ups and returns 122.8mpg and 55g/km of CO2. The 0-62mph sprint takes 8.6 seconds with a top speed of 144mph.
What it will be badged when it rolls off the production line next year is still under wraps. Although Bishoff did tell us that it’s name will be “unique.”