|Alltrack Concept in New York. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen is showing a diesel-powered Alltrack Concept at the New York International Auto Show. The company staged the world premiere of the new Passat Alltrack—a new wagon configuration that VW says closes the gap between the conventional Passat Estate and the Tiguan SUV—at the Tokyo Motor Show in November 2011. (Earlier post.)
The Alltrack concept on display in New York features Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter turbocharged TDI Clean Diesel engine that produces 140 hp (104 kW) and 236 lb-ft (320 N·m) of torque, mated to a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. It also features 4Motion all-wheel-drive, with an offroad driving program. Essentially, this program tunes key vehicle dynamic and assistance systems for offroad driving at speeds of up to 18 mph at the press of a button.
The offroad program modifies the settings for the safety and driver assistance systems. For instance, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) now has higher control interval thresholds; on loose surfaces, such as gravel, a wedge of material is formed in front of the tires to decelerate the vehicle more effectively. At the same time, the electronic differential locks react more quickly to help prevent wheelspin at individual wheels. The engine’s torque control is modified in parallel.
A Hill Descent Assist program is automatically activated when the gradient exceeds 10%; the system applies the Alltrack’s brakes. Meanwhile, features such as the optional adaptive cruise control are deactivated.
In offroad mode, the throttle map is altered to give a “longer” pedal to more accurately meter engine power. At the same time, gearshift points are raised, automatically giving the driver higher engine revs and therefore more power to work with. If the DSG lever is switched to the manual shift gate, the transmission no longer upshifts automatically.
To illustrate how serious the Alltrack can be in an offroad environment, the engine is protected by a solid underbody guard made of steel plate. This helps protect the engine, gearbox, oil pan, exhaust system (front section) and various hoses from damage, and there’s another underbody shield at the rear of the car. Other exterior changes include matte chrome window surrounds, door mirror housings and radiator grille trim strips. Anodized silver roof rails are standard, along with front foglights and dual chrome tailpipes.
Adding to its offroading credentials, the Alltrack’s ground clearance is raised by 1.2 inches compared with a non-Alltrack model. This ride height and the more aggressive bodywork improve the approach and departure angles: these are pitched between a conventional wagon’s and many a crossover at 16 degrees and 13.6 degrees respectively. The ramp breakover angle is 12.8 degrees.
Currently, there are no plans to bring this vehicle to market in the US, but the concept is set to gauge market reaction to a potential future model that is similarly sized and combines offroad ability with wagon versatility.