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We have received an initial batch of spy photos showing what we believe to be a prototype based on the VW C Coupe GTE concept.

The concept debuted at last year’s Auto Shanghai show in China and now it seems VW has commenced testing procedures for the production version. Some will say that it could be a prototype of the new Phaeton, but VW announced a few weeks ago its flagship model will be delayed probably until around 2020.

In addition, the prototype is dressed in black camouflage which indicates it’s a China-only affair, whereas Euro-bound prototypes usually come with black and white disguise. Moreover, VW has said numerous times the all-new Phaeton will be launched as an electric vehicle, but this prototype has dual exhaust tips indicating it has a combustion engine.

Another reason why we believe this is the C Coupe GTE has to do with the fact that VW was testing the prototype alongside a Passat. This likely means the production version will ride on an extended platform of the Passat and it’s easy to notice the prototype looks pretty much like a stretched Passat. As a matter of fact, the concept had an overall length of more than 196.8 inches (five meters) and a massive wheelbase spanning at 118 inches (three meters).

Set to receive a new name for the production version, the large sedan will likely be sold exclusively in China and could borrow the concept’s plug-in hybrid system. The C Coupe GTE combined a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic gearbox featuring a built-in electric motor.

It had a combined output of 245 horsepower (180 kilowatts) and a peak torque of 369 pound-feet (500 newton meters). The concept was able to provide a 50-mile electric range thanks to a lithium-ion battery pack. To broaden the model’s appeal, VW will likely sell the production version with a variety of turbocharged gasoline engines.

Expect an official reveal to occur at a major auto show in China later this year, with sales to commence before the end of 2016.

Gallery: VW C Coupe GTE concept spied getting ready for production

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