Volkswagen unveiled a sleek New Compact Coupe concept, with a 45-mpg hybrid powertrain and an off-white leather interior with bucket seats for four.
According to Volkswagen, “the New Compact Coupe (NCC) shows, both technically and visually, how Volkswagen envisions a front-wheel-drive hybrid for the compact class that would be implemented when the time is right.”
This is the second U.S. concept debut from Volkswagen focusing on fuel-efficiency. At the Los Angeles Auto Show last month, the automaker unveiled the Up! Lite, a lightweight, high-mileage model with numerous design details all emphasizing efficiency gains.
In the NCC, Volkswagen supplemented its 150-horsepower 1.4-liter TSI four-cylinder engine—employing direct injection and intercooling—with a 20 kW electric motor. The motor is between the engine and seven-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) transmission.
The electric motor is about the strength of those employed in mild-hybrid systems and functions mainly to boost the TSI engine and help it operate in its most efficient range, though Volkswagen says that this could be considered a full hybrid system as the NCC can operate in electric mode alone when cruising or coasting. When braking, the system recovers energy, storing it in the 1.1 kW-hour lithium-ion battery.
The concept gets a combined fuel economy of 45 mpg, according to VW, yet can reach a top speed of 141 mph or get to 60 mph in just 8.1 seconds—which looks to be a compelling compromise between efficiency and performance.
Inside, there’s an eight-inch touch screen for the navigation system and audio, with chrome trim and bezels used throughout the dash, but the standout aspect of the interior is the Berry White leather used throughout, contrasted with slightly darker Quartz trim details. The interior is said to be good for four adults, while the trunk is a roomy (for a small coupe) 13.4 cubic feet. Overall, it’s about 178 inches long, which puts it just slightly longer than the 2010 Kia Forte Koup.
The NCC, if produced, would likely be closely related to the all-new 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, termed NCS (New Compact Sedan) within the company, that’s expected late this year.