It's a four-door coupé the like of which has never been seen before in this vehicle class: the New Midsize Coupé concept car. Volkswagen has brought the concept car to Beijing for its world premiere at Auto China 2014. The 'New' part goes without saying: the New Midsize Coupé is as new as a new car can be. 'Coupé' is also unambiguous: the New Midsize Coupé is low in height (1,422 mm) and very wide (1,838 mm), it has a low visual centre of gravity, short overhangs, muscular shoulders and side sections, a dynamic roof line with markedly swept-back C-pillars, a short boot lid and long bonnet. 'Midsize' is less obvious. It is normally the term for a car of the Passat class. However, the concept car is just 4,597 mm long and thus shorter than a Passat and shorter even than the Jetta. However, as mentioned the concept car outdoes the other two in terms of its width - and it is thus midsized. So clearly this concept car exhibits proportions of an extremely sporty nature. The team led by Volkswagen head designer Klaus Bischoff integrated these sharp proportions in a body design that makes the New Midsize Coupé a powerful and avant-garde proponent of a new, compact saloon class.
A saloon and a sports car
When viewed from the front and rear, it immediately becomes apparent that the designers have placed what is known as the "greenhouse", the roof section with all windows, on a very muscular body frame. This strongly emphasises the powerfully modulated shoulder sections and large 20-inch wheels - which is a trait of high-class sports cars. The concept car is painted in "Dragon Red" colour; this brilliant red special effects paint is part of the total concept, because it highlights the powerful modulation of the body especially well. High-gloss black elements such as the roof surface with its integrated panoramic tilt/slide roof create a colour contrast.
The design team styled the front end to be very progressive. The designers shifted the visual centre of gravity downwards by special styling techniques. This has resulted in greater dynamism. As mentioned, the New Midsize Coupé is distinguished by a very long bonnet and a very short front overhang. These proportions were enabled by the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) by Volkswagen, and this innovative technical base opened up new possibilities for designers. The team led by Klaus Bischoff took full advantage of this and created an entirely new front-end concept with an avant-garde radiator grille, LED headlights in 3D look and a large lower air inlet with a unique and distinctive chrome signature that is based on Volkswagen design DNA.
Radiator grille and LED headlights
The radiator grille structure consists of three cross fins and the VW badge. The upper cross fin is painted in high-gloss black, while the lower two have a polished chrome look towards the front and are brushed aluminium towards the engine. The upper black cross fin makes the New Midsize Coupé appear even lower in front than it already is, while the bright chrome/aluminium fins emphasise its width. Between the cross fins, there are 36 compact modules, each with three small vertical fins that give the visual effect of hovering within the radiator grille. The radiator grille forms a stylistic unit together with the also newly designed LED headlights and LED daytime running lights that are integrated here - the forms of these elements merge together. Not only do the three cross fins continue into the headlight housings; so do the compact modules, each with three vertical fins. In the radiator grille, these modules perform a purely visual task. However, in the headlights they act as cooling elements for the LED headlights - "form follows function". The LED unit itself also appears to visually hover within the headlight housing.
Bumpers and air inlets
Under the radiator grille, there is a horizontally oriented area painted in body colour, and beneath this comes the central lower air inlet. On its sides, the air inlet is bordered by two diagonal aerodynamic elements that run to the outer edges and form smaller air inlets in front of the front wheels, one each on the left and right. In all three air inlets, there are aerodynamically optimised wing-like cross fins that are finished in high-gloss black; integrated in each of them are brushed aluminium fins. Their visual effect is to further emphasise the width of the New Midsize Coupé. The front end is given an unmistakable look by a chrome strip that frames the lower air inlets - its two sections begin on the left and right sides of the painted central area of the bumper, and they run outwards. The chrome strip is more than a decorative element: at its outer ends it houses the LED indicators. Stylistically, this wrap-around strip creates a strong bracket that emphasises the charismatic contour of the front end. No other car in this segment has such an impressive, wide and sporty appearance as the New Midsize Coupé.
The designers also styled the side profile in an extremely powerful way. Striking here are the roof line at the top with just two side windows and the fast, coupé-like C-pillars that sweep back towards the rear. Another sports car trait is the passenger cabin that is set far back; this emphasises the long bonnet and the proportionately short boot lid. Another perfect example of high-class Volkswagen Design is the shoulder section of the concept car. It runs on two levels; the upper of these two levels develops a narrow line from the C-pillar to below the window sill; it broadens as it moves forward and finally forms a v-shaped contour in the bonnet and front wings - expressing pure power and elegance. Meanwhile, the lower of the two levels begins at the front of the car as a very narrow line that represents the upper limit of what is known as the tornado line; it then runs over the wheel arch flare and becomes increasingly broader towards the rear, forming the powerful shoulders of the rear body.
Precise character line
Positioned on what is known as the character line are the door handles, which also adopt the extremely precise modulation. This integration of the door handles is extremely complex; it is a masterful achievement of production technology, and this represents a unique selling point of Volkswagen. On the lower side body, there is another line, and beneath it the striking design of the side sill that is finished entirely in metal. The interplay of these lines and modulation of surfaces produce an exceptionally athletic car body design. Last but not least, the 20-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels with 245/40 low profile tyres completely fill the wheel housings and give the car the image of a sports car in side profile. The inner surfaces of the machine-polished wheels are painted black. The outer wheel surfaces include segments painted in "Dragon Red" body colour, so that as soon as the New Midsize Coupé begins to move, this small cluster creates the visual effect of a circular band in body colour.
Like the front and sides of the car, the rear body merges the forms of a coupé with those of a saloon. The crisp design of the boot lid features a rear spoiler that is uniformly integrated into the design and terminates with a distinctive dual edge: at the top, the designers created an aerodynamic trailing edge that optimises the downforce at the rear axle. At the bottom, there is a light refracting edge that lowers the visual centre of gravity of the rear body. On the next level, there is another line in the middle of the boot lid at the height of the VW badge, which extends into the rear lights and emphasises the width of the New Midsize Coupé.
LED rear lights
The 3D design of the LED rear lights with their integrated aluminium elements is especially prominent. Within these aluminium components are the uniformly illuminated LED surfaces of the rear lights. Aluminium and LED surfaces form a trapezoid-shaped angle towards the outside; the LEDs in these areas generate the rear lights and turn indicators. An opposing strip in the middle implements the brake light. Located at the far outer ends are the LED reversing lights - they are minimalistically small but shine very brightly.
Diffuser with dual tailpipes
The bottom of the NMC rear bumper ends in a high-gloss black diffuser. Integrated to the left and right here are the dual exhaust tailpipes with a cross-piece between them; a chrome trim piece that visually connects the two tailpipes. Barely visible when not in use are the reflectors integrated above the tailpipes.
220 PS engine
The exhaust pipes lead at the other end of the New Midsize Coupé to a 162 kW / 220 PS TSI engine. The 2-litre turbo petrol injection engine accelerates the coupé to 100 km/h in just 6.5 seconds. On German motorways or a racetrack the concept car would be able to reach a speed of 244 km/h. Thanks to the efficiency of the turbocharged engine, the similarly efficient 7-speed dual clutch gearbox, a still lower weight than the Jetta or Passat and a cD value of 0.299 (cD x A = 0.643 m2) the sports car performance is accompanied by fuel consumption of just 6.4 l/100 km.
Sporty interior with lots of room
Driver-focussed and fitted with leather sports seats, the interior too follows the dynamic concept of a coupé. Nonetheless, the New Midsize Coupé is in no way tight or constricted. Instead, it offers ample space for up to five people. The inner surfaces of the seats are designed in a bright "Silk" colour, while the outer areas form a contrast in the dark "Ebony Black". The inner and outer surfaces are visually separated by elegant piping in "Dragon Red", which is the body paint colour. Sophisticated interior elements include the trim strips in piano finish look and the many components trimmed in Alcantara such as the rooflining and the roof pillars. The controls, including the multifunction sports steering wheel and the infotainment system, are based on MQB-A (Modular Transverse Matrix A) and have thus been adapted from the current Golf. Combined with the axles and the width of MQB-B (the modules of the next larger vehicle class), the result is spacious conditions not just in the passenger compartment, but in the boot as well, which is of an excellent size with a capacity of 500 litres. Over and above this, Volkswagen is demonstrating with this concept coupé just how multifaceted the Modular Transverse Matrix is and what exciting models Volkswagen customers all over the world can look forward to over the next few years.