The Volkswagen Golf has had many performance
variants over the years, ranging from the original 1976 GTI to the
diesel-powered GTD to the 290-hp Euro-spec 2015 Golf R.
Now, the German automaker is launching a performance model of a
different kind in markets outside the U.S., with the plug-in hybrid Golf
GTE making its debut in Geneva next month.
The Golf GTE rides on the MQB platform
like the rest of the seventh-generation Golf lineup, but has a
265-pound lithium-ion battery in the floor, which represents about 8
percent of the GTE's 3360-pound curb weight, according to VW. A
turbocharged, direct-injected 1.4-liter I-4 similar to the engine used in the Jetta hybrid
produces 148 hp. That gasoline-fed mill pairs with a 101-hp electric
motor housed in the six-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission for a
combined system output of 201 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Volkswagen
says the electric motor alone can propel the GTE up to 81 mph, and that
the car has an all-electric range of 31 miles. The GTE
will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds, with a top speed of 135
mph and theoretical range of 584 miles. On the European cycle, the Golf
GTE is estimated to achieve 158 mpg combined.
The 8.8-kWh liquid-cooled battery can be charged
by plugging into the socket hidden behind the VW logo in the grille.
Charge time using a wallbox or public charging station takes around 2.5
hours. Two driving modes are selectable, including the full-electric
"e-mode" and "GTE mode," which unlocks the car's full performance
potential. The 6.5-inch touchscreen has various hybrid-specific
displays, including a range monitor, energy flow graphic, e-mode
360-degree range display, and a power meter showing how much system
power is being used, along with the level of brake regeneration. To help
manage charging, an e-manager can be programmed to automatically begin
charging the GTE ahead of your departure. The system can also control
interior temperature while the car is plugged in. These functions can be
accessed through the touchscreen or via Volkswagen's Car-Net e-Remote
The Golf GTE features the signature C-shaped LED daytime driving lights that debuted on the e-Golf.
Other styling elements are derived from the GTI, including the front
valance, side skirts, and roof spoiler. The GTE get its own
aero-optimized 16-, 17-, and 18-inch alloy wheels, while blue accents
are used in place of the GTI's red exterior details.
The same goes for the inside, where light blue stitches decorate the
leather-wrapped steering wheel, and can also be found on the seats,
shift knob, and floor mat edges.