Volkswagen kicked-off what it promises will be a big year in Detroit this morning with the world premiere of the Compact Coupe. Described as a car that appeals to the "head and heart in equal measure", the four-seat, front wheel drive hybrid concept combines miserly fuel economy of 45 mpg (combined) and CO2 emissions of 98 g/km with performance figures of 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds and a quoted top speed of 141 mph (227 kmh).
VW says that it will release more new models in 2010 than ever before including an AWD SUV hybrid and the company is set to boost its presence in the North American market with the opening of a new facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee which will produce 150,000 cars per year.
The electric motor sits between the gearbox and the gasoline engine and the car can be used for electric-only driving - though we haven't seen any range figures for the pure electric mode. When the electric motor is being used - including when the driver releases the pedal at high speed to coast - the engine is disengaged by a clutch to prevent drag losses. Regenerative braking is used to help recharge the 1.1 kWh lithium battery and there is also a boost mode which engages both motors when required for overtaking (or just for fun).
The car is 178.5 inches (4.45 m) long, 70.1 inches (1.78 m) wide and sits low to the ground at 55.6 inches (1.41 m) high.
The interior features "Berry White" leather seats contrasting with the quartz colored trim and boasts ample headroom coupled with a spacious 380 liter trunk. Rear passengers are often neglected in sporty cars of this size, but in this case they are treated to individual sports seats with armrests and access to the extended center console which provides climate controls and extra storage space.
On the dash there's an 8-inch touchscreen angled towards the driver which provides access to the newly designed navigation system. The multi-functional sports steering wheel is also a new design and the dash is completed by analogue speed and taco displays with a trip computer and additional nav display nestled in between.
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