The new T-Cross Breeze take centre stage on the Volkswagen stand at the 86th Geneva Motor Show. “This open-top Volkswagen enhances the world of compact cars with a completely new attitude to automotive life”, says Dr Herbert Diess.
With this, the Chairman of the Board of Management Volkswagen Brand gets to the core of the bold theory behind this concept car, which celebrates its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show. The Volkswagen Brand Chairman continues: “Our T-Cross Breeze is the first open-top SUV in its class and, at the same time, an affordable, cheeky cabriolet with a raised seating position that gives you a perfect view.” With this concept, Volkswagen underlines the fact that the brand is blazing a trail and making mobility more of an experience than ever before.
Herbert Diess: “At the moment the T-Cross Breeze is purely a concept, but we can well imagine putting such a convertible on the market as a production model. An affordable fun car that is also entirely suitable for everyday use. A genuine ‘People’s Car’.” And so the concept car, which is equipped with an 81 kW/110 PS 1.0 litre TSI (turbocharged direct injection petrol engine), gives a glimpse of a new model series. Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen Brand, explains: “The T-Cross Breeze is a teaser for the most compact sport utility vehicle that Volkswagen plans to make – and the nucleus of a new SUV and convertible design in the compact sector.”
Product offensive – SUVs in all relevant classes
In future, Volkswagen aims to offer an exciting SUV in every relevant segment. It will start this ambitious product onslaught with the market launch of the new Tiguan, which begins at the end of April in Germany and in early May in the rest of Europe. On the major overseas markets the new Tiguan will also be available with an extended wheelbase. In the higher classes this will be followed by a new mid-size SUV (for the USA and China) as well as the well-known premium segment Touareg sport utility vehicle. Below the Tiguan, two new SUV model series will make their debut: in the Golf class there will be an SUV in the same style as the T-Roc concept car, while the T-Cross Breeze presented in Geneva shows where the journey into the future is heading in the Polo class.
Efficient drive – a TSI with 110 PS
The T-Cross Breeze comes with a turbocharged petrol engine. The T-Cross Breeze presented on the shores of Lac Léman aims to offer affordable open-air driving pleasure. The first step into the world of sustainable drives is made here by a highly efficient turbocharged direct injection petrol engine (TSI) with a capacity of one litre, a stop-start system and recuperation mode. The 81 kW/110 PS 1.0 l TSI is a convincing powerhouse, producing 175 Nm of maximum torque from just 1,500 rpm. The TSI drives the front wheels via a 7-speed DSG dual clutch gearbox. Thus equipped, the SUV convertible, weighing just 1,250 kg, needs a mere 10.3 seconds to reach 100 km/h and reaches a top speed of 188 km/h. Fuel consumption and CO2 values are similarly compelling at 5.0 l/100 km and 115 g/km). In combination with the 40 litre fuel tank, the concept car has a theoretical range of 800 km – easily enough to drive from Geneva to Cannes or Venice on a single tank of fuel.
Dimensions – a new dimension in the compact segment
Powerful design with attitude. At a length of 4,133 mm, the T-Cross Breeze is slightly longer than a CrossPolo. It boasts a long wheelbase of 2,565 mm, resulting in short body overhangs, thereby guaranteeing sporty proportions. Excluding the door mirrors, the concept car is 1,798 mm wide – significantly up on existing cars in the Polo class – while the passengers in the T-Cross Breeze also sit considerably higher up. The total height of the new Volkswagen is exactly 1,563 mm when the soft top is closed.
Interior – fascinating quantum leaps
The future can do without switches.Volkswagen’s interiors are currently making quantum leaps. The designers concentrated on what really matters: creating a new spatial experience and completely redesigning the driver’s cockpit, making use of next-generation human-machine interface (HMI) and developing an entirely new control interface that, one day, will completely do away with buttons and switches. Yet this is no science fiction, but, rather, an early glimpse at where production models are heading in the medium-term. Volkswagen has already implemented an operating concept with almost no buttons on board the T-Cross Breeze.
The convertible SUV builds the conceptual bridge to the BUDD-e, which is also being presented in Geneva and saw its debut at the CES in Las Vegas in January. With the exception of the control stalk, the power window switches and the buttons for opening and closing the soft top, all of the controls in the T-Cross Breeze are touch-sensitive surfaces or executed as completely new “by-wire” solutions. Gesture control also forms an integral part of the operating interface. The new HMI, with its coupled displays, is detached from the dashboard in a style similar to that of the zero-emission BUDD-e – this is the cockpit of the future. Last, but not least, it is apparent that elements that were formerly purely functional, such as the air vents, now merge with the contours of the interior.
High-tech design and materials
The design language and colour of the interior forges a link to the expressive exterior. The dashpad and the outer areas of the centre console radiate in a fresh “Summer Green Soft” special-effect paint. In contrast to this are the dark surfaces in the interior; the trim is also “Deep Teal”, like the exterior. Both of these colours repeat on the applications on the steering wheel. Elements such as the arm rests and door handles, the rear section of the stylish free-floating centre console and the seat backs, meanwhile, are a light “Ceramique”. The precision of all the edges is emphasised by the combination of sandblasted and high-gloss surfaces. Volkswagen is also breaking new ground in the automotive sector with the materials used: just like high-tech sports shoes, parts of the seating are form fashioned and coloured (in “Deep Teal”) and “knit” in 3D, creating the covers of the inner surfaces of the side supports in a single piece out of various materials such as special polyamide hybrid fibres that are extremely resistant to deformation, durable and resistant to abrasion. This method can be used for any shape. In the case of the T-Cross Breeze, for instance, it was also used to make the front seat back pockets.
New by-wire controls
The newly developed features also include a “by wire” gear change unit in the centre console. This compact gear change unit is used to operate the DSG dual-clutch gearbox, the electronic parking brake and the adaptive chassis control (DCC/in the “Sport”, “Normal” and “Comfort” settings). Three elegantly designed glass scroll wheels set in chrome fitted with sensors enable intuitive operation of these functions. The controls around the glass scroll wheels for the hazard warning lights, the Auto-Hold function, starting and stopping the engine (Keyless Access) and the driving profile switch (Mode) are touch-sensitive surfaces.
BeatsAudi sound system
The American audio specialist Beats Electronics – founded in 2008 by the rapper Dr. Dre – made a huge impact on the music scene, primarily with its headphones. Now the Californian company also offers a wide range of audio technologies, including full in-car sound systems. The T-Cross Breeze features such a BeatsAudio sound system. The bass heart of this system is a subwoofer that is integrated in the centre console, between the driver and the front seat passenger. The sound system’s 300 W, 8-channel amplifier has a digital sound processor (DSP). High-end loudspeakers distributed around the interior deliver crystal-clear sound from the system and a special perforation visually emphasises the BeatsAudio system.
Of course the sound system is compatible with App-Connect, meaning that CarPlay (Apple), Android Auto (Google) or MirrorLink can be used to control the playlists of virtually all current smartphones via the T-Cross Breeze's HMI. Here again, this previews production models of the near future as, in parallel to the T-Cross Breeze, the Geneva Motor Show will also see the debut of the comprehensively overhauled up! – featuring a technically similar sound system to the BeatsAudi technology shown in the T-Cross Breeze.