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The Volkswagen C Coupe GTE concept makes its debut this week at the Shanghai motor show, giving us a good look at what to expect from the company’s forthcoming Chinese-market luxury limousine.

At more than five-metres long — close to a Mercedes-Benz S-Class — the concept is clearly previewing Volkswagen’s new-range topping passenger family. And yes, it’s actually called a coupe, though we aren’t totally sure why. 

The C Coupe GTE is the second future Volkswagen sedan model to be premiered by a concept model in the past six weeks.


It follows in the wheel tracks of the Sport Coupe Concept GTE that appeared in Geneva last month.

That model previewed the next Passat CC. It’s safe to say the C Coupe GTE previews the next Phaeton — a model never sold here in Australia — though potentially also a separate ‘sporty’ spinoff.

Premiering it in China makes a great deal of commercial sense, given the rampant demand there for vehicles that can be used as limousines.


As with the Sport Coupe Concept, the Shanghai concept is part of Volkswagen’s ‘GTE’ family, which denotes electrification.

Powering the concept is a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which pairs a 155kW TSI turbo-petrol engine with a 91kW electric motor. Total system output is 180kW and 500Nm — short of the sportier Geneva concept CC which had a PHEV system with 279kW.

The 14.1kWh battery is situated at the rear of the car. Volkswagen claims a pure electric range of 50km, while you can travel up to 130km/h in said pure EV mode. Combined-cycle fuel consumption is 2.3 litres per 100km, giving it a range of 800km.


You can also sprint from 0-100km/h in 8.6 seconds, according to Volkswagen, onto a top speed (with both power sources running) of 232km/h.

The C Coupe GTE is said to preview a new design approach for “future top saloons at Volkswagen”.

“Its contemporary form is impressive from all viewing angles: while its long bonnet conveys a confident appearance, in a side view the four-door C Coupé GTE impresses with its elegant lines, low-profile side windows and horizontal character line that is formed by two lines,” Volkswagen thinks.


“From the rear, this structure comes together distinctively, emphasising the vehicle’s width.”

Inside the four-seater cabin (with acres of rear legroom), it’s a very similar story to the Sport Coupe Concept.

Ahead of the driver is a large active instrument display that uses a 3D ambient light effect to eliminate the usual screen bezel. There’s also a large centrally-mounted touchscreen, though the traditional analogue clock is a retro nod.


In the rear are twin seats with their own ventilation controls and what appear to be screens mounted in the seats ahead.

Interestingly, information about the owner’s appointments can be transferred via a smartphone to the infotainment system. The appointment list also serves to plan the navigation route for the day. That’s a chauffeur special, right there.

 Click the Photos tab for more images.