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Volkswagen previews crossover offensive with Cross Coupe GTE concept

Volkswagen has introduced the Cross Coupe GTE concept ahead of its debut at the Detroit Motor Show.

Built on Volkswagen’s modular MQB platform, the Cross Coupe GTE stretches 190.8 inches long, 79.9 inches wide and 68.3 inches tall, dimensions that make it slightly bigger all around than the Audi Q5. The concept takes the form of a five-seater crossover with a sharp, understated look that accurately previews the design language that will influence all of Volkswagen’s upcoming crossovers in the United States.

The Cross Coupe GTE’s front end is characterized by headlights that are seamlessly integrated into a full-width twin-slat radiator grille and a muscular-looking front bumper with three air ducts. Pronounced wheel arches add a rugged touch to the overall look, while a thin strip of chrome trim that connects the trapezoidal tail lamps emphasizes the crossover’s road presence.

With room for up to five passengers, the Cross Coupe GTE’s cockpit boasts brushed aluminum accents and a straightforward, function-over-form dashboard that is dominated by a 10.1-inch touch screen flanked by two sets of air vents. The instrument cluster has been replaced by a configurable 12.3-inch screen, a technology already found on a number of Volkswagen products including the eighth-generation Passat that is sold in Europe and the third-generation Audi TT.

Power for the Cross Coupe GTE comes from a plug-in hybrid drivetrain consisting of a 276-horsepower 3.6-liter VR6 engine that works jointly with two electric motors linked to a lithium-ion battery pack. Shifting through a six-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission, the three power sources generate a combined output of 355 horsepower and 280 foot-pounds of torque, enough to send the Cross Coupe from zero to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 130 mph.

Related: Ducati-powered Volkswagen XL Sport

The crossover offers five driving modes called E-Mode, Hybrid, GTE, Off-road and Battery Hold / Battery Charge, respectively. In E-Mode, the VR6 shuts down and the crossover is driven by the bigger of the two electric motors for up to 20 miles. In Hybrid mode, the three power sources work together to return the highest possible gas mileage.

GTE mode lets the driver tap into the hybrid system’s maximum power output and enhances the driving experience by modifying the throttle response, the transmission’s shift points and the steering rack’s stiffness. In Off-road mode, the front electric motor works as a generator that sends electricity to the rear motor, increasing the crossover’s off-terrain prowess via what Volkswagen calls an electric driveshaft. Finally, Battery Hold / Battery Charge lets the driver top up the battery on the go and save its charge for a later time.

Volkswagen has confirmed that it will start production of its long-awaited seven-seater crossover late next year in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant. A smaller five-seater model inspired by the Cross Coupe GTE will likely arrive shortly after.