After blasting down the Bonneville Salt Flats at 185 miles per hour, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid is now the "world's fastest hybrid," according to VW.

The modified Jetta Hybrid was driven by Motor Trend Associate Road Test Editor Carlos Lago, and the official speed was 185.394 mph (298.363 kph). That makes the car, "the fastest speed ever achieved by a production-based hybrid car on the famed Bonneville Salt Flats." Production-based here still means that the powertrain was modified by Volkswagen engineers in Germany. We can see aerodynamic wheels, but exact changes that were implemented were not described, only that the car was "run according to SCTA rules." The production Jetta Hybrid gets 45 miles per gallon and has a 0-60 time of 9.0 seconds. It uses a four-cylinder, 1.4-liter turbocharged, 150-horsepower, TSI gasoline engine mated to a 20-kW (27-hp) electric motor.

185 mpg is impressive, sure, but it's not that far behind the record set in May by a huge hybrid Volvo truck in the flying kilometer: 165 mph.
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  • Motor Trend magazine writer Carlos Lago runs 185 mph (298 kph) in turbocharged Jetta Hybrid to set Hybrid Speed Record at the Bonneville Salt Flats
  • Herndon, VA - Volkswagen announced today that a 2013 Jetta Hybrid driven by Motor Trend Associate Road Test Editor Carlos Lago recorded a speed of 185.394 mph (298.363 kph) at the Bonneville Salt Flats, near Wendover, Nevada, during the Southern California Timing Association's (SCTA) annual Speed Week. This is the fastest speed ever achieved by a production-based hybrid car on the famed Bonneville Salt Flats.
"Achieving this speed at Bonneville shows that the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid is a distinctly different offering in the compact hybrid class," said Jonathan Browning, CEO and President, VW Group of America. "As well as being expected to achieve combined fuel economy of 45 mpg, the Jetta Turbo Hybrid also retains the fun-to-drive nature you expect from a Volkswagen in a segment dominated by less exciting vehicles."

Lago drove a Jetta Hybrid specially modified to run according to SCTA rules. The all-new Jetta Hybrid marries a 1.4-liter turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder TSI® gasoline engine that generates150 horsepower with a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission and an electric motor that provides an additional 27 hp. The Jetta Hybrid is part of Volkswagen's Think Blue® strategy, an initiative that encourages eco-friendly mobility and progressive ideas for responsible action in everyday life.

To achieve the kind of horsepower needed to run at 185 mph (298 kph) at Bonneville, the powertrain was modified by Volkswagen R&D in Wolfsburg, Germany. Project integration and other modifications to enable the car to run safely on the salt were handled by A-Salt Racing and Advanced Product Engineering, based in Camarillo, California. The implementation and final calibration of the drivetrain in the car was supported by the engineers from the Volkswagen Test Center California in Oxnard, CA.

"We are really proud that our new Jetta Hybrid is the world's fastest hybrid," said Marc Trahan, Executive Vice President, Group Quality. "It was a real challenge to integrate the complex hybrid elements and generate the power needed to run at these speeds. The Jetta Hybrid Land Speed Record project shows both the sporty nature of our Hybrid offering and the technical excellence of our engineers in Wolfsburg and in the Test Center California."

Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief Ed Loh commented: "It is a real honor to partner with Volkswagen in this project and we look forward to sharing this adventure with our 1.1 million magazine subscribers, our more than three million website unique users, and our increasingly popular YouTube channel. And we hope that we will be back at the Salt very soon to go even faster with the Jetta Hybrid."

About Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen's operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Beetle, Eos, Golf, Golf R, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan vehicles through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at or to learn more.

This press release and images of the Motor Trend Jetta Hybrid are available at

"DSG", "TSI","VW", "Volkswagen", all model names and the Volkswagen logo are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG. "Motor Trend" is a registered trademark of Source Interlink Media, a division of Source Interlink Companies, Inc.

Features and technical data apply to models offered in the USA. They may differ in other countries.

Where stated, fuel economy values (mpg) are forecast manufacturer values for the USA; those EPA estimates were not available at time of release.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Pointless. The engine is not doing this speed on 150HP or even 150HP plus the electric assist. It's clearly been tuned and honestly, in a top speed test there's no real point to the electric assist anyway, so they might as well have just disconnected it and made it a non-hybrid. I think I'll put a BAS on a Veyron, never even make it work and then clock a 250mph record for a hybrid.
      • 3 Years Ago
      ttweak a activehybrid 3 series that already has over 300hp stock and you should be able to beat this. Heck a Porsche 918 Hybrid may beat this right out of the box.
      • 3 Years Ago
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      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't want to rant on that VW article, but sadly this car wil NEVER come to Germany, visit a VW Dealer and they keep telling that their own hybrids suck. The did that sucessfully with the Audi A2 (never fixed broken moon roofs) the Golf 3 ecomatic (start stop even at high speeds) ... with prices now from 8 to 9 dollars per gallon, it could be a sellerm but Mr. Winterkorn officially stated that hybrids SUCK and he does not like them. quo vadis VW
      • 3 Years Ago
      As if. Typical VW group fudge with nuts. The Audi e8 or whatever fastest "production" ev around Nurenburg, except that you can't buy one. Ditto this pretender. The only thing impressive is that they were able to shoehorn a large highly tweaked blown motor under that hood alongside the tranny with the electric motor. You won't see it in a production car again unless you own a chop shop and plan to make two of 'em yourself.
      • 3 Years Ago
      You can bet the engine was modified too. 177HP is likely not near enough regardless of the aero mods.
      • 3 Years Ago
      VW scores another PR win! Now if only they actually sold hybrids....
      • 3 Years Ago
      MPH on the last paragraph, not MPG.
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