What is the Volkswagen T-Prime GTE plug-in hybrid?
It was just two weeks ago that we heard the news that Volkswagen would be bringing another SUV concept to an auto show. So far this year we saw the T-Cross Breeze in Geneva back in early March, and before that Volkswagen tantalized us with the Tiguan GTE Active back at the NAIAS in January. Volkswagen has repeatedly indicated that the SUV lineup will expand in upcoming years, introducing as many as three new options to the lineup and updating both the Tiguan and Touareg. Naturally, we thought this update of the Touareg would be the next unveiling, since it is the standing luxury option in the lineup, but instead we were introduced to the T-Prime concept. So what is the Volkswagen T-Prime GTE plug-in hybrid and why should you be excited about it?
Features of the Volkswagen T-Prime GTE plug-in hybrid
There’s a whole lot we could say about the T-Prime regarding its styling and materials, but since you can’t sit in it yourself, we’ll spare you the play-by-play on design and jump into what you really care about: performance and features. If you’ve been keeping up with the Volkswagen concepts leading up to this point, you’ve likely noticed a theme. Each one is getting more and more advanced with the human-machine interface, which is to say the combination of voice, touch and gesture controls which work together to create an intuitive and natural user experience. Some say these features are too flashy for the automotive world and can be distracting, but the actual aim is to not only make the driving experience more enjoyable, but eliminate the distractions that result from fiddling with controls and taking your eyes off the road to do so.
Particular to this model is a large, curved screen that blends into the dashboard. Both the Active Info Display and the infotainment system are present on this single screen, which is 12 inches at the instrument cluster and grows to 15 inches at the infotainment system. Features will include everything from navigation to music, weather and much more in multiple tiles that can be moved and adjusted.
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Another interesting development is the eight-speed automatic transmission which uses by-wire technology to allow gear shifts through a glass scroll wheel. This, too, is meant to be more intuitive and flows together with other gesture controls in the vehicle. Most buttons have been removed, not only from the infotainment system, but from the multi-purpose steering wheel and climate control.
Horsepower for the VW T-Prime GTE plug-in hybrid
Naturally, we’re easily distracted by the luxury features in the T-Prime, but it also is one of the most impressive SUVs we’ve seen shown from Volkswagen. We’ve been keeping a close on GTE models that have been released in Europe, like the Passat GTE, and the fuel economy numbers are jaw dropping. For the T-Prime, VW has listed the combined economy rating as 87 mpg based on the NEDC cycle. Compare this to the Touareg, which has a highway rating of 23 mpg, or the Tiguan, which has a highway rating of 26 mpg, and this number is truly astounding.
One fear we’d like to lay to rest immediately is that the model would be underpowered since it is a hybrid. This simply isn’t the case. It is a full-sized SUV that returns 375 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque from the hybrid powertrain system, which is quite an upgrade from the 280 horsepower 266 pound-feet of torque found in the Touareg. What this means as far as performance is a 0 to 60 time of six seconds and a top speed of 139 mph.
Between performance, features and fuel economy, we could see the T-Prime making major waves should it go to production. Would you buy it if it was released at a reasonable price? Share your thoughts with a comment below, and be sure to check back here at the Napleton Volkswagen Springfield Blog for updates on this and other models.