The opening day of the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show has seen Volkswagen unveil its Cross Coupé crossover concept. Featuring a long wheelbase and short overhangs, the all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid is visually a cross between a four-door coupé and a compact SUV. The vehicle also represents the first public outing of Volkswagen's new modular transverse matrix (Modularer Querbaukasten or MQB) platform, which is intended to form the basis of a variety of different models (including the upcoming Golf and Audi A3), allowing the use of the same set of components while providing the flexibility for individual models to have a variety of wheelbase, track and external dimensions.

The four-seat Cross Coupé is powered by two electric motors - one in the front producing 40 kW and 180 Nm of torque and one in the rear generating 85 kW and 270 Nm - and a 110 kW direct injection turbo petrol TSI engine delivering 210 Nm of torque. The front electric motor and TSI engine can power the front axle together or individually, while the overall power of the system adds up to 195 kW.

In all-wheel drive mode, the rear axle is driven by the rear-mounted electric motor that receives power from the front electric motor, which acts as a generator powered by the TSI engine. This configuration sees the flow of electrical energy replacing the conventional transfer of power by means of an "electric drive shaft" and allowed the designers to locate the vehicle's lithium-ion battery pack in the center tunnel where the driveshaft would usually reside, freeing up room for more interior space and providing a low center of gravity. The battery can be charged via a 230-volt outlet or when in motion via the TSI engine and regenerative braking on the front and rear axles.

Weighing in at 1,748 kg (3,853.6 lb) with a full tank of 55 liters (14.5 gal US), the Cross Coupé can take a load of 450 kg (992 lb) and boasts a range of up to 45 km (28 miles) on purely electric power and a range of up to 815 km (506 miles) in hybrid mode. With a drag coefficient of 0.329, the vehicle can go from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in seven seconds on its way to a top speed of 201 km/h (125 mph), while in electric mode the vehicle's top speed is limited to 120 km/h (75 mph). The TSI engine's fuel consumption is rated at 2.7 L/100 km (87 mpg US) under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).

At 4,345 mm (171 in) long, 1,868 mm (73.5 in) wide and 1,523 mm (59.9 in) high, the concept vehicle on show in Tokyo sits between the Golf and the Tiguan in terms of overall dimensions, which Volkswagen says places it smack bang in the middle of the much in-demand A segment. Despite slotting in between these two models in overall size, the Cross Coupé's 2,630 mm (103.5 in) wheelbase is 52 mm (2 in) longer than the Golf and 26 mm (1 in) longer than the Tiguan. This is a result of the vehicle's short overhangs of 855 mm (33.6 in) at the front and 860 mm (33.8 in) at the rear. Rounding out the dimensions are wheel racks measuring 1,585 mm (62.4 in) at the front and 1,613 mm (63.5 in) at the rear.

Volkswagen says the Cross Coupé concept on display in Tokyo serves as an indicator of the future direction of SUV design at the company. So although the vehicle might not be headed for production just yet, we can probably expect something along similar lines in the not too distant future.