Volkswagen Sport Coupe Concept GTE: New Shape and New Plug-In Power (Geneva)

Written By: EightySix

Edited By: Assen Gueorguiev

Volkswagen Sport Coupe Concept GTE Plug-in Hybrid (Geneva Motor Show)

This week at the Geneva Auto Show, Volkswagen showed a bright gold example of its new design era. This ain't your daddy's VW. This is an audacious departure from the typical blocky Jetta or Passat.

Or it looks like an Audi A7 with a much bigger sunroof and a hatchback rather than a trunk. Family resemblance?

A New Shape

Nevertheless, the Sport Coupe GTE is quite long and wide, with the 21" wheels pushed out to the corners for greater stability. The shape is uncharacteristically broad and round. The fenders bulge a bit and the doors are tall, but not in an exaggerated fashion. The roof-line tapers back in a rain-drop shape, but unlike so many new sports coupes that are nothing but pillars and blind-spots in the back, this concept seems to have plenty of glass.

The whole roof is transparent, leading to an all-glass hatchback with narrow pillars. Rear visibility should not be an issue. With the long wheelbase, interior space is generous.

With a Plug?

Volkswagen's new GTE designation was first used on the 2014 Golf GTE. Derived from the iconic GTI (Grand Tourer Injection) which began the sports hatchback craze, the term means Grand Tourer Electric. The Golf GTD is the diesel model.

The Sport Coupe GTE uses a 295 horsepower turbo-charged 3.0 liter V6 to power the front, a 54 horse electric motor in the six-speed gearbox and another 114 horse electric in the rear. Just like the Golf GTE, this concept gets around 32 electric miles. Zero to sixty is five seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.

Volkswagen says it has plans for GTE versions of all its cars. Across its brands, VW AG promised at least six PHEVs after 2014. Already we've seen the Audi A3 e-tron and the Golf GTE. The Q7 PHEV was unveiled in Geneva. Many wonder…isn't it time for an all-electric version too?

Until pure electric cars can deliver the range and value the average driver needs, plug-in hybrids are the proper bridge. With thirty or more electric miles backed up with familiar gas range, a vast majority of drivers would have the necessary clean transportation.

And on the Inside?

Lots of digital displays. A 12.3" unit sits before the driver in place of a traditional instrument cluster. The speedometer and power meter are left and right with the center dedicated to various trip information. The configuration is fully customizable.

Another 10.1" display gives driver and front passenger infotainment and climate control. Passengers in the back have their own 12.3" screen to control their own fun. 10.1" screens sit in each seat back to entertain the rear passengers.

All the screens are designed to blend into the surrounding panels with ambient light. 3D graphics make the controls and displays appear to float above the screens.

Check Your Pulse

Through an armband or smart watch, the Sport Coupe GTE will be monitoring you as much as you monitor it. The car will use your biometric information to tailor the driving experience to you. Do you want to take the tranquil scenic route or the thrilling daredevil one? The car knows and will navigate you there. Certainly it will also check to see if you're getting drowsy and aim you to a rest stop.

The coupe will also use car-to-car data to learn about upcoming traffic problems, weather and alternate routes.

GTE For Everything

Plug-in hybrid needs to become the standard system for cars. Not only because of the electric range. It's nice to be able to drive most of the way clean and have zero-emissions for urban centers that require it.

But consider the performance. Getting the best from gasoline and electricity is why the modern Formula One car is so fast. Recapture braking energy and release it in a burst when you need it. Why not use all the motors at once?