Plug-in hybrids are gaining in popularity, with Ford, Toyota and Honda all offering vehicles fitted with the unique powertrains. But while cars like the Fusion Energi, Prius Plug-In and Accord Plug-In boast excellent economy numbers as they match the best assets of electric vehicles with traditional hybrids, they lack the zest and fun that some drivers crave. According to rumors from the UK, though, a fun plug-in could be on the horizon.
Hoping to capitalize on the performance reputation of the GTI, shown above, Volkswagen is reportedly developing a car called the Golf GTE. Power would come from the same powertrain slated for the Audi A3 E-Tron, a 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder with 148 horsepower. Mated to that is a 107-horsepower electric motor, which draws power from an 8.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. A six-speed, dual-clutch transmission would shift 204 total system horsepower to the front wheels, which Autocar claims will allow the GTE to hit 62 miles per hour in 7.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 135 mph.
Outside of the unique powertrain, we'd expect the GTE to follow the same formula used for the diesel-powered Golf GTD - that means GTI-sourced bits for the suspension and brakes, as well as sportier interior and exterior treatments.
As is so often the case, it looks like the GTE won't be entering the US market. European buyers, meanwhile, should expect the hybridized GTI to arrive in showrooms late in 2015.