We present you the new Volkswagen T-Prime concept. If you have lost the count on the number of concepts Volkswagen has debuted recently you are not alone. The automaker has previewed almost all of its upcoming crossovers with concept models. As if that is not enough, the automaker is at it again. This time, VW has showcased a concept that previews an SUV that will seat at the top of the automaker’s SUV lineup. The concept is dubbed the “T-Prime”.
You might ask why Volkswagen is channeling one crossover after the other, well, the answer is simple; the automaker delayed in joining this segment which has seen automakers who were first in the segment rake in awesome profits. Volkswagen plans were also rocked by the “Dieselgate” scandal. To cover ground of what it has lost, the automaker hopes to increase its presence in emerging economies like China. Already, the automaker has showcased a large sedan (2017 Phideon sedan) specifically targeted for the Chinese market. It is likely that the SUV this concept previews will also be exclusive to China. The Chinese market’s appetite for large cars spanning from large sedans to crossovers and SUVs is growing exponentially. Read along to find out what VW plans to add to its SUV lineup:
Volkswagen T-Prime concept Exterior
The T-Prime is one big car. Though it currently features only two rows of seats, the model is larger than the three-row Touareg. It is based on the MLB modular architecture. The vehicle stretches a whole 199.6 inches long with a width of 78.7 inches and a 67.2-inch height. It is just slightly smaller that the Chevrolet Tahoe.
Unlike many concepts which always look too flamboyant to take to production, the T-Prime looks production-ready. At the front, it looks like other Volkswagen SUVs. Its checkered grille is flanked by slim LED headlights and C-shaped DRLs. The headlights run into the grille which creates an impression that the grille and headlights are one single unit, a feature VW has used on some of its models before.
On the sides, the SUV features straightforward body lines which run from the front to the rear. Its flared wheel arches look muscular than ever before. The rear also looks production-ready where the vehicle sports angular taillights with arrow-shaped patterns. Its tailgate extends to the bumper which creates an impression of a low load sill.
Completing the SUV exterior is look is Beihai Blue body paintwork. Beihai is a beach in the South China Sea. It rides on a set of 22-inch alloy wheels in 285/49 Series rubber.
Volkswagen T-Prime concept Interior
Inside, the Volkswagen T-Prime concept only features a seating capacity for 4 passengers but VW is quick to point out that the production model will accommodate 7 passengers on three rows. The interior is highly modernized and very clean. It features only a few buttons as all other functions are controlled via installed screens, touchpads or via gestures.
The dash is fitted with a high-definition Active Info Display instruments along with a 15-inch monitor mounted within the center console. The vehicle also features a multi-function steering wheel with touch pads in place of knobs. VW seems to have adopted this idea from the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Another 12.0-inch display screen is used in place of the traditional gauge cluster.
Not only will the model be a family hauler but also an epitome of luxury. There is a 9.6-inch screen integrated on the center console which hosts controls for the vehicle’s climate control and seat adjustment. The rear also features two, 10.1-inch tablets attached to the seatbacks of the front seats headrests.
Engine Specs and Performance
The concept that VW previewed was hooked up with a plug-in hybrid drive-train but we expect the production model to add a V-6 or a V-8 engine or both. Currently, the T-Prime is powered by a 2.0 L, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine capable of producing 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. This mill is paired with a powerful built-in electric motor which produces 134 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Both combine to produce 375 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque.
All this juice is channeled to all wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission system which combines with the automaker’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system. Extra juice from the motor is stored in a 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack which is mounted on the trunk. The battery pack enables a 31-mile electric-only range. When the battery gets exhausted, the vehicle starts operating as a regular hybrid.
The vehicle has three driving modes. The first is the electric-only mode and hybrid mode I have discussed above. The third mode is named Sporty mode which uses both the electric power and the petrol mill for the greatest power output. In this mode, VW says the vehicle can accelerate from standstill to 60 mph in 6 seconds flat. It has a top speed of 139 mph.
The battery is recharged either via a standard 220-volt household plug with a power of 3.6 kW which takes 8 hours to fully recharge the battery from 0% or via a 7.2 kW fast charger which replenishes the battery in only 2 hours and 30 minutes.
In terms of fuel economy, the vehicle returns 29 mph when the vehicle is in Hybrid mode. Overall, the models drive-train is rated at 87 MPGe (104.5 MPGe UK).
Volkswagen reckons that the T-Prime concept is just a preview of an upcoming SUV. Though the market for SUVs is somewhat improving, it remains to be seen how the new Volkswagen SUV will fare.