At the ongoing 2016 North American International Auto Show (2016 NAIAS), Volkswagen has pulled the covers off the Tiguan GTE Active Concept. The GTE name is derived from the twin electric motors that can supply power to all four wheels, removing the need for a central propshaft.
The five-seat concept is based on the completely redeveloped second-generation Tiguan. The GTE Active Concept reflects the great technical versatility of the new SUV, which is set to arrive to the U.S. market in 2017 with a longer wheelbase and available seven-seat functionality.
The VW Tiguan GTE starts every journey in all-electric E-mode as a zero emissions vehicle. Normally, the rear wheels are driven, but if there is loss of traction, the front wheels are engaged within fractions of a second. Four-wheel-drive is also activated when the driver selects 4MOTION Active Control or when GTE-mode is selected, for instance. 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 has configured the design, packaging and technical features of the SUV to be as innovative as its plug-in hybrid drive system. The Tiguan is the first SUV to be based on the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform, and demonstrates intelligent space utilization. The GTE Active Concept projects an authentic off-road look and makes a powerful impression with its stylish, taut proportions.
The Tiguan GTE Active Concept is equipped with a turbocharged and direct-injection TSI petrol engine that produces 148hp and 250 Nm of torque, mated to two electric motors. These make 54 hp at the front wheels and 114 hp at the rear. The total system power of 221 hp 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 Tiguan GTE Active Concept uses a 6-speed 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. 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 that can cover up to 20 miles (32.18 km) purely on battery. In E-mode, the Tiguan has a top speed of 70 mph (112 km/h).
Outside, the team of designers and engineers responsible for the Dragon Red Metallic concept car developed it for extreme off-road use, building on an excellent base with the existing production vehicle. For instance, ground clearance under the axles increased from 7.1 to 8.9 inches and the maximum ground clearance under the body increased from 7.9 to 9.6 inches. The approach and departure angles were improved from 25.6 to 26.1 degrees at the front and from 24.7 to 29.9 degrees at the rear. The maximum ramp angle for overcoming road bumps grew from 20 to 24.7 degrees.
If the Tiguan GTE Active Concept is needed to pull another vehicle in reverse, there are two aluminum-colored metal hooks in the front air intakes on the left and right sides. The standard LED headlights are complemented by C-shaped LED DRLs, a signature of all Volkswagen plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. One sophisticated design element is the lateral continuation of the upper and lower bars of the radiator grille to the headlights, forming a single, wide and powerful unit.
The rear of the Tiguan GTE Active Concept is also equipped with a solid underbody guard made of matte aluminium. Like the front end, four replaceable polymer protectors are used here as well. The lower area of the bumper is protected by anthracite colored all-terrain trim. Above this, the outside of the bumper is also trimmed in anodized anthracite-colored trim strips. The vehicle has two additional solid aluminum-colored metal hooks at the back for towing stuck vehicles or for removing obstacles that are blocking the trail.
Moreover, 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. Another highlight of the concept car is its infotainment system: the Tiguan GTE Active Concept features the top level of the latest generation infotainment systems and is equipped with a 9.2-inch touchscreen, gesture control (implemented for the first time in this class), an Active Info Display (fully digital instruments) and a heads-up display.