Making its official debut in Geneva, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE is the latest version of the new Gen VII Golf. While not quite as quick as either its GTI or GTD siblings, this 5-door gas/electric "hottish" hatch boasts sufficient muscle to keep things interesting and can travel up to 31 miles in pure EV mode on a fully charged battery.
Motivation for the new Golf GTE comes from a 1.4-liter turbocharged/direct-injected TSI 4-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower teamed with a 101-horse electric motor energized by an 8.8-kilowatt liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack that can be recharged in about three hours using a conventional 220V European outlet. The combined system output is a respectable 201 horsepower and stout 258 lb-ft of torque. Last element in the mechanical mix is a 6-speed DSG automatic transmission designed specifically for use in hybrid vehicles.
Impressive Range and Performance
Volkswagen says the Golf GTE can sprint from 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 81 mph in EV mode, touch 135 mph with both power sources engaged or travel up to 584 miles with a full tank and a full battery. As for fuel efficiency, the Golf GTE boasts a 157-mpg rating on the European NEDC combined cycle. While that's likely to be about 20 to 30-percent above what it's equivalent EPA figure would be, this plug-in VW's mileage is still very impressive.
Like most of its hybrid peers, the car also features an electric-powered air-conditioning compressor and regenerative braking as well as driver-selectable e-mode/GTE modes that bias the car's performance to max-green or max-fun status. Although there are no plans to bring the Golf GTE to America, a company source did confirm that the car's plug-in hybrid system -developed specifically for vehicles like the Golf that use VW's "MQB" modular transverse matrix platform architecture - will see duty in the U.S. at some future date.
GTI Inspired Design Cues
To present a proper sporting persona while simultaneously showcasing its greener side, the exterior of the Golf GTE melds elements from both the GTI/GTD and the pure electric e-Golf. Up front, a bolder fascia is paired with LED headlamps and C-shaped running lights borrowed from the e-Golf. While the aggressive side sills and roof spoiler are culled from the GTI/GTD, the 16-/17-/18-inch aero-designed alloy wheels are exclusive to the GTE. Finally, all exterior badging normally rendered in red takes a turn for the blue -- VW's e-mobility blue - on the GTE. That same color shift is found inside the cabin where tasteful azure accenting adorns everything from the steering wheel to the floormats.
Helping the Volkswagen Golf GTE take full advantage of its mileage-maxing potential are a full array of optimizing elements including bespoke readouts and displays that present real-time info on battery charge and power flow, and a programmable e-manager that allows for on-board activation of the climate control and charging cycles as well as acquisition of other vehicle data. Step up to the optional navigation system and the assist list expands to include a 360-degree range monitor. Golf GTE owners also can download VW's Car-Net e-remote app that will allow remote activation of many functions using their Smartphones.
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