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VW unveiling MQB-based T-ROC diesel 4WD SUV concept at Geneva show

Sketch of the T-ROC. Click to enlarge.

At the Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen will introduce the 4WD T-ROC SUV concept. Equipped with the 2.0L diesel featured in the sporty GTD (earlier post), the T-ROC design is based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform, and fits into the Volkswagen line-up one vehicle down from the Tiguan in the Golf format. (The “T” in T-ROC is a reference to the nomenclature of current and future Volkswagen SUVs such as the Taigun, Tiguan and Touareg.)

Volkswagen has two of the most successful SUVs of European origin in its range with the Tiguan and the Touareg; the automaker intends to extend this range “significantly” with new models in a wide variety of classes. In 2013, Volkswagen showed how a large SUV for the USA or China might look with the CrossBlue and CrossBlue Coupé concept vehicles (earlier post, earlier post); development of the production vehicle is ongoing.

In the mid-size segment, Volkswagen unveiled the Cross Coupé concept car (earlier post) how extremely fuel-efficient an all-wheel drive SUV can be with a TDI plug-in hybrid drive system. A compact model in the lower price segment, the Taigun, is in the development phase; the latest version of this SUV concept was presented in New Delhi, India in February 2014. (Earlier post.)

The new T-ROC provides another view of a future Volkswagen SUV.

Drive system of the T-ROC. The T-ROC is a 2.0 TDI with 135 kW / 181 hp. In the concept vehicle, the advanced diesel delivers a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph), acceleration to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds and a ample torque to the two driven axles (380 N·m from 1,750 rpm). Combined fuel consumption is 4.9 l/100 km (48 mpg US), equating to 129 g/km CO2. A 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) handles the transmission of engine power to the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system.

In normal operation, the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system, which is equipped with the latest Haldex coupling, transfers nearly all of the engine’s power to the front axle. Even in this situation, the 4MOTION system continues to be a permanent all-wheel drive solution, because the rear axle momentarily receives more power as soon as slip is detected at the front wheels or the sensors of the T-ROC detect an increase in transverse acceleration.

4MOTION utilizes pre-control strategies depending on the specific driving state. This system variably engages the rear axle in fractions of a second via the Haldex coupling whenever necessary.

The T-ROC is equipped with three driver-selectable driving modes: “Street”, “Offroad” and “Snow”. Parameters of the running gear, engine-gearbox unit and hill start and hill descent assist systems are modified depending on the mode. The desired mode is activated via a turn wheel control on the DSG gear shift grip; the mode that is active is indicated in a pop-up window in the digital instrument cluster.

  • “Street”. The standard mode is known as “Street”. The all-wheel drive only directs power to the rear axle if traction or transverse acceleration makes it necessary.

  • “Offroad”. In “Offroad” mode, off-road driving can be optimized at the push of a button. This mode presets the power distribution between the front and rear axles to 50:50 and activates an entire network of assistance systems. The systems integrated here include hill descent assist, hill start assist, more sensitively metered accelerator pedal response, preselection of gears with DSG and ABSplus. The latter utilises a different pulsing frequency on loose road surfaces, which contributes towards reducing braking distance—e.g. on gravel hills. The cameras at the front and rear can also be activated in Offroad mode.

  • “Snow”. “Snow” mode offers an advantage in terms of active safety. As in the “Offroad” mode, in this case the all-wheel drive system switches to a 50:50 power distribution by default. The ABSplus system is also activated. At the same time, the parameter maps for the engine and gearbox are modified for the very low traction that occurs while driving on snow.

Removable roof halves. The concept car being presented in Geneva follows a new design and interior line. In addition, the middle section of the roof consists of two halves, which can be removed with just a few hand movements and stowed in the trunk.

Dimensions and weight. The T-ROC is 4,179 mm long, 1,831 mm wide and 1,501 mm tall. It is based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform, and due to its lightweight design, the SUV weighs 1,420 kg (3,131 lbs).

Multifunctional spotlights. A dominant element of the front-end design between the radiator grille and the lower air inlet is a cross trim piece in body color (“Blue-Splash Metallic”). Towards the sides in this area are the large, round headlight modules, which are visually reminiscent of those of the iconic Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 34. However, unlike five decades ago, the technology behind the glass covers can do more than just generate light.

Each of the two round headlights has a strip of three LEDs at its centre, with these LEDs forming the fog light. Above this light strip is a power LED which assumes the function of a swiveling spotlight. Beneath the strip of three LEDs, Volkswagen has integrated a movable camera. Whenever the driver activates Offroad mode, the spotlights and cameras can be activated.

Here, the power LEDs and cameras follow the steering angle of the T-ROC; the image of the surroundings is transmitted to a large display (removable tablet) on the center console, so that the driver can see the stones or potholes in front of the car and drive around them.

Rear cameras. Large round elements are integrated in high-gloss black trim panels to the left and right of the surface. As in the front, three LEDs are integrated in these elements, and these form the reversing lights. The power LED above them assumes the role of the rear fog lights here. There is also a camera beneath the three LEDs, which is used to display visual images of the space behind the T-ROC. The images from the rear-view camera are also projected onto the tablet on the centre console.

Digital instruments. The controls, status indicators and climate control functions in the T-ROC are all entirely in digital form. Accordingly, a 12.3 inch color display is used as a combined instrument. Depending on the driving mode – “Street”, “Offroad” or “Snow” – it shows a range of colors and information that is adapted to the given situation. In “Offroad” mode, for instance, the speed range displayed by the speedometer ends at 80 km/h instead of 260 km/h. These interactions are displayed with flowing transitions and clear animations; the information is visualized by a new digital aesthetic.


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