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A road-going prototype of what our spy photographers tell us is based on the Volkswagen C Coupe GTE concept has been spotted testing on public roads. Due for a different name, our spies also tell us that this could just be the next-gen Volkswagen Phaeton that we’re looking at.

When the C Coupe GTE was first revealed at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, it was said that the concept previewed a model that would fill a gap between the Passat and Phaeton. But new reports claim that Volkswagen may have other plans for this, instead.

Volkswagen has confirmed that it will have a new Phaeton ready for the market by year 2020, on top of delivering a production model of the C Coupe GTE concept it revealed in China last year. However, one thought suggests that given the company’s current financial woes (thanks to the dieselgate saga), the car maker may just consider cutting back on costs (and an all-new model), and look to its C Coupe GTE concept to become the next Phaeton.

One thing for sure is that the current Phaeton and the C Coupe GTE concept are both very similarly sized. The last Phaeton measured 5,059 mm long, 1,903 mm wide and 1,450 tall. On the other hand, the C Coupe GTE measures 5,071mm long, 1,930 wide and 1,445 mm tall.

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We also understand that the vehicle pictured here rests on the Volkswagen Group’s larger MLB platform – also used by the second-gen Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga – and not the MQB platform, which underpins the Passat B8 and Golf Mk7.

Looking at the pictures, the test mule’s proportions undoubtedly befit a flagship Volkswagen sedan. From the side, the sloping roof of the C Coupe concept aren’t as prominently visible here, but we could have the masking panels on this prototype to thank for that. The windows also appear larger here than they did on the C Coupe concept, most likely resulting in more headroom for rear passengers.

The rest of the car is heavily disguised, as you can tell, leaving us with little more to tell you. The C Coupe GTE was said to feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain which combined a 2.0 litre turbo petrol engine with an electric motor. A total of 242 hp is delivered to its front wheels via an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission, allowing it to perform the century sprint in 8.6 seconds.


GALLERY: Volkswagen C Coupe GTE Concept