Saturday, July 26, 2014

VW Tiguan to get three-row version?

The Volkswagen Tiguan is starting to get a little long in the tooth, and the German automaker is reportedly already deep in development on the second-generation model. If rumors prove true, Volkswagen may be keeping a big secret when it comes to the new compact crossover. Company insiders speaking to Autocarclaim that there are both five- and seven-passenger versions of the next Tiguan in the works. It raises an interesting question about the future of the larger Crossblue concept, though.

According to the sources, the five-passenger, second-gen Tiguan is about a year away from its debut at the2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. The new CUV rides on VW's MQB platform, and its size is roughly the same as the current model. The even bigger news from the insiders hits a few months later when a longer-wheelbase, seven-passenger Tiguan with three rows of seats is unveiled at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.

Here's where it gets confusing: VW CEO Martin Winterkorn announced at the 2014 Detroit show that the Crossblue was coming to the US in 2016. In concept form, it also used the MQB platform and seats seven. It seems rather odd for an automaker to introduce a pair of three-row CUVs on the same chassis in the same year in the US. Although, it's possible that this could just be a name change for the production Crossblue, it doesn't seem likely. It could also be that Tiguan's third row will be a much smaller, occasional-use only sort of proposition, in much the same way that Nissan now offers its Rogue compact CUV with three rows, yet it also markets the much larger Pathfinder (though admittedly they aren't on the same chassis). 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Audi rules out R8 PHEV, will build E-Tron to order

The question of whether Audi will morph the next-gen R8 (pictured above, in testing) into a plug-in-hybrid challenger for the BMW i8 may have been answered. CarAdvice, in Australia, is claiming that any plans for a PHV 2016 R8 have been shelved, and that Audi will go ahead with gas-powered or all-electric models, only.

Even then, the electric R8 E-tron (if it ends up being called that) would be built-to-order, and in much smaller quantities than the gas-powered model.

"In the next generation we will have an electric car on behalf of customers' needs, which is only available [upon special order]," Audi product manager Marie Suzanne Ernst told CA. "So it's not a make of series production, but if a customer wants to have it, he can order it."

That's not to say that the importance of Audi's E-tron program, which includes both PHV and pure-electric applications, is lessening. Speaking to the local Audi outfit, CA was told that e-tron will be a "brand pillar," just like petrol and diesel power. It's just that the plug-in portion of the E-tron moniker won't be making it to the brand's primary halo vehicle.

Is this a good move in your eyes? All things being equal, would you rather spend money on an electric R8 or a plug-in model? Why? Have your say below, in Comments.