Volkswagen Unwraps T-Prime GTE Concept at Auto China 2016

VW are getting the pangs of conscience in Beijing, where the Dieselgate lead actor introduced the T-Prime GTE Concept SUV

Maybe it’s the astronomical amount of money VW Group has to pay in order to come out with a clean shirt from the recent emissions scandal or maybe it’s China’s pollution-choked cities that need cleaner cars behind the decision to launch the T-Prime GTE Concept on the land of The Red Dragon.

It had to be an SUV, because trends, but let’s see how Volkswagen envisions such a model. We shall start with the obvious: the MLB-underpinned T-Prime GTE is big. Longer (5.06 meters) than the dead and gone Phaeton, T-Prime GTE sits on 22-inch wheels and keeps the dull design language successfully implemented by VW via a pair of C-shaped LED DRLs and Passat-borrowed headlights.

Powertrain-wise, T-Prime GTE packs 375 hp coming from a hybrid duo made of an electric motor (134 hp, 258 lb-ft) and a turbocharged 2.0-liter TSI gasoline engine (248 hp, 273 lb-ft) plus a battery pack chargeable during drive or via dedicated external hardware. 4MOTION all-wheel drive completes the suite together with a limited-slip diff and an eight-speed auto transmission.

VW claims average fuel economy stands at 87 mpg in the NEDC cycle while full-electric cruising should be enough for a clean but short 31 miles (50 km) trip. Juicing up the battery lasts eight hours on a 3.6 kW charger or 2.5 hours from a 7.2 kW outlet.

What VW describe as a “progressive interior” stands for a show-off session regarding the manufacturer’s tech solutions. The instrument panel aka Active Info Display (basically a 12-inch screen) merges with the 15-inch infotainment display through a slightly curved glass surface to form the Curved Interaction Area, which is said to break into VW’s range starting 2017. 

Other gimmicks include a smooth-surface steering wheel without switches which works just like your smartphone via touches and swipes plus three other displays – one between the individual rear seats and two headrest-attached 10.1-inch tablets.