New York 2012: Volkswagen Alltrack Concept

By Brandon Turkus

April 04, 2012

Volkswagen unveiled its Alltrack Concept at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. The concept is essentially a lifted, all-wheel-drive, five-door version of the Passat TDI.  
Rather than the big 3.0-liter, V-6 oil-burner found in the Volkswagen Touareg TDI, the Alltrack is powered by the more frugal 2.0-liter from the Jetta/Golf range. It makes 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, with power directed to a 4Motion all-wheel-drive system courtesy of a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
As the Alltrack is meant to have some off-road chops, the bottom side of the engine has been reinforced by a steel plate that should deliver some protection for the engine, transmission, oil pan, and other vital oily bits. The 4Motion all-wheel-drive system has been programmed with an off-road mode that optimizes the ABS for loose surfaces, while the differential locks faster for increased traction.
The Alltrack is just a concept at this point, but it looks production ready to us. When we attended the Passat launch almost a year ago, there was more than a bit of grumbling from the assembled media regarding that cars lack of all-wheel drive or a wagon variant. Production of the Alltrack would seem to settle that. Hopefully we’ll see it soon.
Please scroll down for the official press release from Volkswagen.

All-wheel-drive TDI® Clean Diesel wagon set to gauge market reaction for a new vehicle concept from Volkswagen
Herndon, VA -  For those who want versatility and offroad ability without the footprint of an SUV, the choices facing buyers are limited in the U.S. That’s why Volkswagen is showing the Alltrack Concept at the New York International Auto Show. This car closes the gap between passenger car and SUV. With chunky bumpers and flared side skirts, as well as a raised ride height, the Alltrack shows that it’s as comfortable off the beaten path as it is in the city.
To illustrate how serious the Alltrack can be in an offroad environment, the engine is protected by a solid underbody guard made of steel plate. This helps protect the engine, gearbox, oil pan, exhaust system (front section) and various hoses from damage, and there’s another underbody shield at the rear of the car. Other exterior changes include matte chrome window surrounds, door mirror housings and radiator grille trim strips. Anodized silver roof rails are standard, along with front foglights and dual chrome tailpipes.
The Alltrack concept on display in New York features Volkswagen’s frugal 2.0-liter turbocharged TDI Clean Diesel engine that makes 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission. It also features 4Motion® all-wheel-drive, with an offroad driving program. Essentially, this program tunes key vehicle dynamic and assistance systems for offroad driving at speeds of up to 18 mph at the press of a button.
The offroad program modifies the settings for the safety and driver assistance systems. For instance, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) now has higher control interval thresholds; on loose surfaces, such as gravel, a wedge of material is formed in front of the tires to decelerate the vehicle more effectively. At the same time, the electronic differential locks react more quickly to help prevent wheelspin at individual wheels. The engine’s torque control is modified in parallel.
A Hill Descent Assist program is automatically activated when the gradient exceeds 10 percent; the system applies the Alltrack’s brakes. Meanwhile, features such as the optional adaptive cruise control are deactivated.
In offroad mode, the throttle map is altered to give a “longer” pedal to more accurately meter engine power. At the same time, gearshift points are raised, automatically giving the driver higher engine revs and therefore more power to work with. If the DSG lever is switched to the manual shift gate, the transmission no longer upshifts automatically.
Adding to its offroading credentials, the Alltrack’s ground clearance is raised by1.2 inches compared with a non-Alltrack model. This ride height and the more aggressive bodywork improve the approach and departure angles: these are pitched between a conventional wagon’s and many a crossover at 16 degrees and 13.6 degrees respectively. The ramp breakover angle is 12.8 degrees.
Currently, there are no plans to bring this vehicle to market in the U.S., but the concept is set to gauge market reaction to a potential future model that is similarly sized and combines offroad ability with wagon versatility.