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Volkswagen unveils Tiguan GTE plug-in hybrid concept SUV at Detroit show; MQB-based SUV

Volkswagen is unveiling the Tiguan GTE Active Concept plug-in hybrid at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The five-seat concept is based on the completely redeveloped second-generation Tiguan—the first SUV to be based on the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB)—which will arrive in the US market in 2017 with a longer wheelbase and available seven-seat functionality. For Volkswagen, the new Tiguan marks the kickoff of an SUV product offensive that will significantly expand the range of vehicles offered, especially in North America.

The Tiguan GTE Active Concept is equipped with a turbocharged and direct-injection TSI gasoline engine that produces 148 hp (110 kW) and 184 lb-ft (201 N·m) of torque, mated to two electric motors: 40 kW on the front axle and 85 kW on the rear. The total system power of 221 hp (165 kW) can supply all four wheels with propulsive force under off-road conditions and the 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system also boosts traction and contributes to active safety on normal pavement.


The vehicle can cover up to 20 miles (32 km) in all-electric mode. The driving range, based on a battery capacity of 12.4 kWh and a 16.9-gallon fuel tank, is 580 miles (933 km).

Volkswagen GTE plug-in hybrids
  Tiguan GTE
Golf GTE
Passat GTE
Engine 148 hp 148 hp 154 hp
Front motor 40 kW 75 kW 85 kW
Rear motor 84 kW NA NA
System 221 hp / 164 kW 201 hp / 150 kW 215 hp / 160 kW
Battery pack 12.4 kWh 8.7 kWh 9.9 kWh
Electric range 20 miles 31 miles 31 miles

The Tiguan GTE Active Concept uses a 6-speed dual-clutch (DSG) automatic transmission that was specially designed for hybrid use, with the front electric motor being housed inside the casing.

Other plug-in hybrid components of the 4MOTION plug-in hybrid drive include: a 12.4 kWh lithium-ion high-voltage battery that can be charged either externally or via the gasoline engine; power electronics for the front motor; a second module at the rear that converts the battery’s DC current into AC for the electric motors; and an on-board charger.


Depending on the driving mode, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept can be driven by the front, rear, or by all four wheels.

As a default, the concept car always starts off in zero emissions E-mode. If the battery is sufficiently charged, the rear electric motor powers the car by itself, while the TSI engine and the front electric motor are decoupled from the drivetrain and shut off to save energy. However, as soon as the driving situation demands it, or the driver manually activates a related mode, the front electric motor is engaged within fractions of a second.

This means the Tiguan GTE Active Concept is a zero-emissions all-wheel-drive vehicle with up to 20 miles all-electric range. In E-mode, the Tiguan has a top speed of 70 mph (113 km/h).

If the battery isn’t sufficiently charged and the system calls for the rear electric motor to be supplied with power for dynamic handling or for the Off-road program, the TSI engine is re-started and engaged (Hybrid mode). In this case, the front electric motor serves as a generator for the rear electric motor. Since the energy for driving the rear axle flows “by wire” and not mechanically, this is called an “electric driveshaft”. In Hybrid mode, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept may automatically use the TSI engine and/or the electric motors, depending on the energy level of the battery.

The rotary/push-button switch for the new 4MOTION Active Control unit is located on the center console. The driver can use this control to select one of six driving programs: On road (Comfort or Eco); Offroad (Rocks, Sludge & Sand, or Gravel); Sport; Snow; Charge (battery is charged while driving); and Battery Hold (maintains a constant battery charge).

When the Tiguan driver turns the switch to the left, the On-road, Sport, Snow, Charge or Battery Hold programs can be activated. When the switch is turned to the right, the user can access the Off-road programs. In off-road duty, the 4MOTION Active Control can adapt the assistance systems to the given driving situation within seconds, an added safety benefit. The same applies to the Snow program, which optimizes safety in winter road conditions.

Four-wheel-drive is also activated when the driver selects 4MOTION Active Control or when GTE-mode is selected, for instance.

The E-mode and GTE mode are activated by separate buttons on the center console. When the driver presses the E-mode or the GTE-mode button a second time, the car switches back to Hybrid mode. As mentioned, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept may operate with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive in Hybrid mode and in E-mode. In the sporty GTE mode, the car automatically switches to all-wheel drive.

The GTE mode is unique to plug-in hybrid Volkswagen vehicles. The transmission, accelerator pedal, engine mapping, and steering settings are sportier and the TSI engine and the electric motors work together (in kickdown/boosting) to allow the full system power of 221 hp to be available.

When this happens, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept has a top speed of 120 mph (193 km/h) and can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. Depending on the given driving situation, the system may use the TSI engine only or switch over to the additional “Coasting” or “Regenerative braking” hybrid modes.

  • Coasting function. As soon as the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator pedal, the engine and all motors are shut down and disengaged from the drivetrain, provided that the battery is sufficiently charged. This is known as “Coasting”.

  • Regenerative braking. When the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator pedal or brake and the battery is insufficiently charged, both electric motors work as generators and feed the energy generated during braking into the battery. In this case, the TSI engine is shut off and disengaged.

  • Driving with the TSI engine. When the gasoline engine alone is powering the vehicle, only the front wheels are driven.

Safety systems. The Tiguan GTE Active Concept is also equipped with safety systems such as Front Assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking and pedestrian monitoring, an active hood for pedestrian protection, Lane Assist and the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System.


Next-generation infotainment system. The top level next-generation modular infotainment platform (MIB) is also featured on the Tiguan GTE Active Concept. Two features of this system are a large 9.2-inch high-resolution touchscreen (1,280 x 640 pixels) and gesture control functionality. All functions and displays utilize a screen surface that is as clear as glass; facing the driver on the left are four sensor buttons (Menu, Home, On/Off and Volume). The 8.2-inch wide and 4.1-inch tall home screen consists of a large main window and two configurable tiles (positioned on the right side on the home screen), each of which is 1.7 inches tall and 2.3 inches wide.

These can be filled with ten different types of content, such as Media (including song/album cover information) or Phone (including an image of the person to whom you are talking). In addition, it is possible to use the entire surface of the home screen for one function—for example, to show the navigation map in large format, to show special instruments for the Off-road program (steering angle, compass, altitude indicator) or to show, via Car-Net App-Connect, the smartphone apps for Mirror Link, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.



"Lane Assist and the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System." - How about pre - collision?

Longer travel suspension with Xtra long travel options - maybe designing in wheel well cut outs with removable panel and provision for xtreme wheel travel would see a vehicle with these impressive yet sensible spec's be in demand for a wide range of applications.
If the modular chassis were not rated for heavy duty owing to the need to compromise on costs weight etc, there could be a business case for VW or a spin off to build such options.
That would still offer cost advantages to a significant unmet global demand.

Like the tyres.

I don't think it is uncommon in some areas beyond suburbia -beyond land based telecommunications - to see private passenger vehicles being refitted with 8ply light truck tyres carrying 3 spare and 1-200 litres of fuel.
That would be described as sufficiently prepared.


Thomas Pedersen

Judging by the AER and battery pack capacity, the Tiguan uses 2.2 times as much energy per distance as the Golf GTE.

Well, with the tyres on the photo, it's no wonder...

In the wake of #DieselGate, VW has been criticized for quoting the full battery capacity as opposed to the usable fraction hereof. But that only makes it worse; if VW is not quoting the usable battery capacity and the corresponding number for the Golf/Passat GTEs are total capacities.

That being said, the actual AER of the Golf GTE is closer to 20 than 30 miles, according to real world drive tests.

Dr. Strange Love

EE Econ 101 will teach you that your financial decisions are to be based on calculations/models that preserve capital over the investment lifecycle. A non-hybrid 2.5L Subaru Outback or equivalent is a better financial decision. You can also feel good by paying $200 dollars extra to get the political camper PZEV badge affixed to the Lift-gate.

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