20 February 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Electrifying! Volkswagen unveils
plug-in hybrid Golf GTE

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTE

Ahead of the Geneva motor show, Volkswagen has unveiled the much-rumoured plug-in hybrid of the Golf, the GTE. Borrowing a long-forgotten Audi designation, don’t go thinking that the GTE is a sandal-wearing, green-tinged eco special.

The Golf GTE has a top speed of 135mph and accelerates from 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds. Performance which qualifies the GTE as a fully paid up member of the sports Golf club.

Designed to be part of the Golf GTI/GTD family, the GTE promises a 31-mile electric-only range, an European driving cycle miles per gallon figure of 157, and a theoretical driving range of 584 miles.

The GTE is powered by a 1.4-litre 148bhp TSI petrol engine, which is boosted by a 100bhp electric motor. Total system power is 201bhp, while emissions are ultra low at 35g/km of CO2, thanks to the electric motor-boosted powertrain.

As with most electric vehicles, the Golf GTE has more than adequate acceleration. When both sources of motive power are in operation, 258lb ft of torque surges the hybrid Golf forward. The driver can switch between power sources, so that in urban areas, only the electric motor is used.

Electric-only, zero-emissions mode is ‘e-mode’ while, according to Volkswagen, switching to ‘GTE’ mode activates the sporty side of the car’s character.

The fifth powertrain for the Mk 7 Golf (following petrol, diesel, compressed natural gas, and all-electric versions) includes a high-voltage 8.8kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that can be charged in 3.5 hours from a standard wall outlet.

A specially-developed wallbox or public charging station sees that time drop by one hour. The Golf GTE’s charging socket is behind the Volkswagen roundel in the front grille.

A six-speed DSG transmission has been specially developed for the Golf GTE and Volkswagen hybrid vehicles, while an electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air-conditioning compressor safeguard optimal and energy-efficient operation of the brakes and air conditioning.

The Golf GTE takes its styling cues from both the Golf GTI and GTD, as well as borrowing elements from the electric-only e-Up and e-Golf.

Blue details replace the red highlights on the GTE’s exterior (which includes ‘GTE’ badges), while the C-shaped running lights echo those already fitted to the e-Up and e-Golf.

Specially-designed 16, 17, and 18-inch alloy wheels make the Golf GTE look more dynamic, while side skirts and a roof-edge rear spoiler apes the Golf GTI and GTD.

It’s a similar story on the inside, too. Blue stitching and detailing replaces the red highlights of the GTI, while the checked sports seats features a blue-striped tartan cloth.

The ‘Discover Pro’ touchscreen infotainment system features a driving range monitor, an energy flow display, zero-emission statistics and an ‘e-manager’.

As with the e-Up and e-Golf, all Golf GTE owners can download the ‘Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote’ app to their smartphone free-of-charge and use it to control functions and access car-specific information.

It’s interesting to note that the initial Golf GTE press release was issued by Volkswagen USA, hinting at the car’s initial availability there, and the potential for other markets.

By bridging the gap between the all-electric e-Golf and the Golf GTI, Volkswagen have created a unique product. When we were at the New Polo’s launch last month, a plug-in hybrid version of the forthcoming model was mooted. We can only hope it ends up being something like the Golf GTE.

Prices and exact specifications for all markets are expected to follow the Golf GTE’s official launch at the Geneva motor show next month.

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