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Volkswagen CrossBlue Coupé plug-in makes its European debut; showcasing the MQB

Engine compartment of the CrossBlue Coupé plug-in hybrid shows the transverse-mounted 3.0L V6; DSG is to the right, with the power electronics unit mounted above it. Click to enlarge.

Volkswagen brought the new CrossBlue Coupé plug-in hybrid sporty mid-size SUV show car, introduced in April at Auto Shanghai 2013 (earlier post), to a media event in Berlin for its European premiere.

The CrossBlue Coupé—based off the Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture (the Group’s modular assembly kit for vehicles with transverse-mounted engines)—features a transverse-mounted turbocharged direct-injection (TSI) 220 kW (295 hp) 3.0L V6 gasoline engine (EA 390) and six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission with 40 kW electric motor (DQ 400 E) in the engine compartment. The DQ 400 E hybrid transmission is also being applied in the upcoming Audi A3 plug-in hybrid. (Earlier post.)

The MQB is the Volkswagen Group’s assembly kit for vehicles with transverse-mounted engines and transmissions and front-wheel and/or all-wheel drive. The Group also is using the New Small Family (NSF) kit; the MLB (Modular longitudinal kit); and the MSB (Modular standard kit). The Volkswagen brand is responsible for the MQB; the Audi brand for the MLB; and Porsche for the MSB (which is sporty). Click to enlarge.

(The CrossBlue Coupé is a sportier, gasoline-engined version of the diesel-engined CrossBlue SUV concept introduced at this year’s Detroit auto show. Earlier post. Although equipped with a different engine, the CrossBlue SUV also uses the DQ 400 E hybrid transmission and rear-axle motor as the Coupé.)

The power electronics unit is integrated in the front engine compartment above the DSG unit and operates at a voltage level of around 375 V. A DC/DC converter supplies the body electrical system with the 12 Volt electrical power it requires.

A 9.8 kWh Li-ion battery is housed in the center tunnel, and the rear axle features an 85 kW electric traction motor connected to the front via an “electric propshaft”.

The electric motors contribute 180 N·m (133 lb-ft) (front) and 270 N·m (199 lb-ft) (rear). In boosting—i.e., when the full power potentials of the engine and electric motors are combined, as in Sport mode—the drive system can produce a total system torque of up to 700 N·m (516 lb-ft).

The CrossBlue Coupé can deliver as much as 415 hp (309 kW). With acceleration from 0 to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds, and a top speed of 147 mph (237 km/h), the CrossBlue Coupé has a combined fuel consumption of 79 mpg (3.0 l/100 km) in the new European driving cycle (NEDC).

MQB plug-in hybrid powertrain with the DQ400e transmission. (Diagram does not show the same engine as in the Coupé.) Click to enlarge.

In hybrid mode fuel consumption (sub-cycle of the European ECE-R101 standard with discharged battery powered by just the TSI drive), the SUV consumes 6.9 l/100 km (34 mpg US) of fuel. This value enables a theoretical range of around 1,190 kilometers (739 miles) with a fuel tank capacity of 80 liters (21 gallons US).

The basic family elements of the MQB are electrics/electronics; powertrain; chassis; and body & trim. While certain aspects of the MQB vehicles, such as the orientation of all the engines, are uniform, there is considerable scope for variation in dimensions such as the wheelbase and track widths. The CrossBlue Coupé uses MQB front suspension and four-link rear suspension and electro-mechanical MQB steering.

Possibilities for alternative powertrains in the MQB. Source: Volkswagen. Click to enlarge.

All new MQB models are designed so that they can be built with natural gas, hybrid, or electric powertrains as well as diesel or gasoline engines. As an example, the powertrain of the CrossBlue Coupé could apply a smaller battery pack, do away with the rear traction motor and on-board charging electronics, and be delivered as a conventional hybrid variant.

The default drive program for the CrossBlue Coupé is “Eco” or hybrid mode; it optimally manages use of the drive sources. The electric motors are used for propulsive power as often as possible in this case. The driver can switch to the Sport mode by pressing a button; in this case, the vehicle exploits the maximum power of the drive system. There is also an Offroad mode (permanent all-wheel drive), EV mode (driving with zero emissions), and a Charge mode (battery charging).

Shifter and drive mode buttons in the CrossBlue Coupé. Click to enlarge.

The shifter for the six-speed transmission has very short throws, thanks to a new drive-by-wire logic. Like a joystick, the lever continually returns to its middle position; the “D”, “R” and “N” positions are activated by a short flick and “P” by a separate pushbutton that is integrated in the lever.

Arranged on the right side, next to the shift lever grip, are the buttons for ESC deactivation (used when driving in deep snow, for example) and for the drive modes: “Sport”, “Eco”, “Offroad”, “Charge”, and “EV” (electric driving).

CrossBlue Coupé at the Volkswagen Automobile Forum in Berlin. Click to enlarge.

In EV mode, the CrossBlue Coupé can cover a distance of up to 21 miles (34 km) in pure electric mode; top speed is limited to 75 mph (121 km/h). In EV mode, only the rear electric motor provides propulsion; the V6 TSI engine is decoupled from the drivetrain by opening the clutch, and the engine is shut off. As soon as there is a need for gasoline power—because of the battery charge or other parameters—it is coupled to the drivetrain again.

The driver can intentionally switch over to a charging mode by pressing another button on the center console. The TSI engine charges the battery while driving in order to store enough electrical energy for EV operation later in the journey.

Volkswagen is hosting Green Car Congress at the media event, which will also highlight the new Golf GTD (the first GTD built off the MQB components set), the XL1 and the MQB.



Congratulations to Mike and GCC on being hosted by VW - that is a sign that VW has noted the serious and professional coverage this site gives.

The next year is an exciting time for those of us interested in VW, as they start to release the host of plug in and electric vehicles they plan, as well as those using natural gas etc.

To carp a little, the pure EV range of this is not extensive, as the car is a big, heavy one so there is only so much that a 9.8Kwh battery pack can do.

If you can prise any info out of them on what battery chemistry they have chosen and who their supplier is the information will be much appreciated.

The Golf should go further on the same size battery pack, if that is what they have.

Those of us in Europe can expect the E-Ups release, by around September, I believe.

Nick Lyons

That's got to be one pricey drive train.


34 mpg is lousy for a car with so much costly technology.

The problem is, as always, that the car is too big, too heavy and has too big of an engine.

Any car with this much technology should be getting 60mpg, easily.


For a car this big and heavy, which can do 0-62 in under 6 seconds, 34 mpg is excellent, and it will only go down to that figure on a run.

Other than the Tesla route or fuel cells I can't see how you would get 60mpg with this sort of vehicle.


What did I just say?

" the car is too big, too heavy and has too big of an engine."


If you are altering the specification, then it is hardly the 'any car' which you assert should be capable of getting 60mpg.

You are in fact simply presuming to determine on their behalf what others should chose to drive.

VW however has to cater to people's actual choices pending your appointment as dictator.


Fusion PHEV is about 40 MPG not 60. When they say 90 MPGe divide by 2, they do not take the energy required to make the electricity into account.


Right on, SJC. MPGe is a fraudulent measure.


Is all the energy required to discover, drill, extract transport, refine, process, distribute and pump one gallon of gas into an ICEV considered to arrived at the mpg?

The answer is NOPE.

If it were, an ICEV mpg may be considerably lower?



We are talking about how many tons of coal go into making how many mega watt hours of electricity to charge PHEVs, not how much energy it took to make the cement to make the power plant.

An MPGe of 100 assumes that the electricity just comes out of thin air, if you have 30 kWh of it and the motor, controller and batteries have a combined efficiency of 70% that beats internal combustion. That is misleading.

Thomas Pedersen


It's not all about CO2 emissions. There are other equally important (debatable, I know) reasons to want to reduce the use of fossil oil using electricity.

I do not find MPGe numbers fraudulent, because they do not state anything about energy efficiency. You may find that implied in the number, but that is your position.

Higher MPG(e) numbers mean less local emissions and noise. The issue of emissions from electricity production has to be answered at the point of production - not by the car mfgrs. They have done what was asked from them by reducing the amount of liquid fossil fuel being used to propel the car.


MPGe means Mile Per Gallon equivalent. If I take one gallon of gasoline and put in in a hybrid, I get 40 miles range. If I take that gallon of gasoline and burn it in a generator I might be 10 kWh which would take me about 40 miles.

THAT is miles per gallon equivalent, not some mumbo jumbo feel good make believe.


"Some 38 percent of Americans live in BETTER region where an electric vehicle has the equivalent global warming emissions of a 41 to 50 mpg gasoline vehicle, similar to the best gasoline hybrids available

There is your equivalent in MPGe. Electricity is not free, not from wind turbines nor solar panels nor the electron fairy.


Electricity is not free but cheeper than gasoline or diesel. Especialy when it is offpeak or super offpeak. In geneal that meen lesser emissions.
Note. Gasole energy content 34kWh per kWh and generation efficiemcy at power plant approching 60%.EVs are future vehicles therefore we should asume future power generation.
Cole in power mix 30% and decrasing. NG 50% and the rest nuclear and renewables. This year wind power comissioned manyfold exceeds new EVs power demand. Therefore those MPGe is quite OK indication.

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