The Volkswagen Golf GTE was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show, bringing a hybrid system to the Golf for the first time. The GTE Hybrid will be the fifth variation of the current Golf, and the third of the sportier Golf GT line.
Following the GTI and GTD, the GTE will be the third in the Golf GT series. The well-known GTI was named for its electronic fuel injection system, and the GTD for its turbodiesel system, so it is safe to assume the GTE stands for electricity. Unlike the Natural Gas and fully electric versions of the Golf, the GTE Hybrid has been designed to be sportier than the base Golf, rather than make compromises for efficiency.
Powering the Volkswagen Golf GTE is a 1.4-liter, turbocharged, direct injection engine rated at 148 horsepower. The second half of the equation is a 101 horsepower electric motor, which adds up to a total of 201 system horsepower. The GTE, thanks to the low-end grunt of the electric motor, will generate a maximum of 258 lb.-ft of torque, giving it a respectable 0-60 time of around 7.6 seconds.
Volkswagen says the Golf GTE will be capable of driving up to 31 miles on electricity alone, with a maximum driving range of 584 miles. Charging the battery should take around 3.5 hours from a normal socket, or 2.5 hours if charging at a designated charging station.
The latest Golf has been designed on a modular platform, which is why it currently has five different powertrain configurations, with a hydrogen fuel cell model in the works. The GTE's hybrid drivetrain means it weighs in at a rather hefty 3,360 lb curb weight. Most of the weight gain is because of the 8.8 kWh battery, which adds 265 lbs to the vehicle. However, the efficiency of the drivetrain should more than make up for the additional weight.
The Golf GTE has been given its own unique flair, switching from the red accents of the GTI to a more subdued blue. Outside and in, the blue lighting represents Volkswagen's push towards e-mobility.
A 6.5-inch touchscreen acts as the central database for the Golf GTE, showing the status of the hybrid system. Accessible information includes estimated driving range, power flow through the hybrid system, and charging information. The car can be programmed, through an available app or Volkswagen's e-manager system, to heat or cool the interior to a specific level at scheduled times.
Rated at 157 MPG on the European cycle, the Golf GTE bridges the gap between energetic hot hatches and less-than-invigorating hybrids. If it inherits the classic GTI handling qualities, it should be a joy to drive.