You know when you have one of those days when you feel like you’re on top of the world? You know the ones I mean; the sun is shining, everything is coming up smelling of roses, you can do no wrong. Well that is exactly the kind of mood that Volkswagen have been in for the last 3 months following their rip-roaring success at the start of their maiden WRC season. And now it seems like that intoxicating aura of self-confidence has seeped over from the desert dustbowls of Portugal to the shiny showrooms of Shanghai where VW have proudly unveiled their newest concept, the hybrid-powered CrossBlue SUV.
Given, it probably wouldn’t be Sébastien Ogier’s top choice for tackling the world’s most demanding roads, but the CrossBlue is nevertheless a fully-fledged 4WD compact SUV. This five-door coupé slots comfortably in between the smaller Tiguan and the heftier Touareg but adopts a lower and sleeker profile than its two siblings. In fact, just about everything in the design department has been flat-packed down to accommodate the CrossBlue’s more athletic persona, exemplified by the narrow 3D radiator grille which extends into the headlights. Twin angular exhaust pipes and set of suitably chunky 22-inch alloy wheels complete the powerful but sleek look.
The CrossBlue’s hybrid party trick comes in the form of a turbocharged V6 TSI petrol engine coupled to two electric motors, together pumping out 409 BHP. Combined, the hybrid system can produce up to 516 lbs/ft torque and propel the CrossBlue from 0-62 mph 5.9 seconds. The concept’s sporty credentials are underlined by its 146 mph top speed, making it the quickest VW SUV around. Like all hybrids, the CrossBlue can be switched to all-electric mode at the push of a button, giving it a range of 20 miles at speeds of up to 75 mph, meaning that the batteries even come in handy for short motorway journeys. Alternatively, you can always drive the old fashioned way in TSI mode, isolating the batteries and turning the CrossBlue into a pure front-wheel-drive petrol car.
Amongst the gadgets on show are the boot lid which opens and closes electrically and a two-way socket which not only charges the car’s battery pack but can also be hooked up to other electric devices, making the CrossBlue coupé in to a sort of mobile power station.
The German manufacturer say that this concept “provides a glimpse of the future design direction of Volkswagen SUVs”, effectively filing it under ‘T’ for test bed. However, destined for production or not, VW will be hoping that the unveiling of the CrossBlue concept will prove to be the latest in a whole series of back-patting moments that have so far defined 2013.