I have this theory that keeps coming up when recommending new cars to people: "Just buy a GTI." Seriously. It's a perfect little hot hatch, with a comfortable, well-appointed interior, and the sort of dynamics that make it a nice everyday driver while still offering gobs of fun when the roads get interesting. It's basically the perfect car to me.

But with this new crop of electrified vehicles, my theory hasn't stood – until now. Presented here at the Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen is introducing the Golf GTE, a plug-in hybrid version of my perennial favorite hot hatch. It couples a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine (on its own good for 148 horsepower) with an electric motor that offers an additional 101 hp of thrust. And when moving in tandem, the system's peak output is rated at 201 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. VW says the Golf GTE can hit speeds of up to 81 miles per hour on electric power alone, and with the gas engine giving some assist, will sprint to 62 mph in a respectable 7.6 seconds, with a top speed of 135 mph.

Visually, the GTE looks the part of a GTI, though the hotter car's red accents have been replaced with eco-ish blue ones. Standard rollers measure 16 inches, but Volkswagen will offer 17- and 18-inch wheels.

It all sounds pretty great, but sadly, Volkswagen currently has no plans to offer the Golf GTE in the US market. That's a shame. Guess you'll just have to buy a regular GTI in the meantime. No, really – do it.
Show full PR text

New plug-in hybrid marries sustainability and performance

- Golf GTE can be driven up to 31 miles in all-electric mode; the total theoretical driving range is 584 miles
- European Driving Cycle combined fuel economy of 157 mpg
- System has 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque
- GTE is the third GT in the Golf model series, following GTI and GTD
- Golf GTE has a top speed of 135 mph and accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in just 7.6 seconds

Wolfsburg / Geneva, March 2014 - Volkswagen is the first automaker worldwide to offer a model line with a full range of conventional and alternative powertrains. The new Golf GTE plug-in hybrid, which will be presented at the Geneva International Motor Show (March 4 to 16, 2014) is the fifth powertrain to be offered in the Golf, adding to gasoline, diesel, CNG and full electric versions. The Golf GTE has an NEDC hybrid combined fuel economy rating of 157 mpg (equivalent to 35 g of CO2) and has an all-electric range of 31 miles along with an overall range of 584 miles.

GTI, GTD, GTE. The Golf GTE name is in line with the GTI and GTD abbreviations-two sporty icons of the Golf range. The first GTI in 1976 invented the term "hot hatch" and is currently the most successful compact sports car in the world. The "I" in the name stands for electronic fuel injection while the "D" in GTD, introduced for the first time in 1982, stands for diesel fuel injection. The latest versions of these two best-selling Golf sports cars were introduced in 2013. Now Volkswagen has transferred its sporty compact car philosophy to a third model-the Golf GTE.

The new Golf GTE has two engines: a1.4-liter148 horsepower turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine and a 101 hp electric motor. These combine to provide the stated system power of 201 hp. If the electric motor is the sole source for propulsive power, the Golf GTE is capable of speeds of up to 81 mph. When the full power of the system is harnessed, the GTE sprints from 0 to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and achieves a top speed of 135 mph on the autobahn and race courses. Of more significance is the superior pulling power of the Golf GTE thanks to its alliance of a gasoline engine and electric motor that produces a maximum torque of 258 lb-ft. This torque sets this first "GTE" apart from other plug-in hybrid models.

Despite its power and torque, the Golf GTE remains one of the world's most efficient cars. If you mainly run short distances, you can drive in emissions-free all-electric mode for days, weeks, and months. The battery takes about three and a half hours to charge fully from a conventional wall outlet.

If the battery is charged using a wallbox or a public charging station, the charging time is shortened to approximately two and a half hours. Thanks to the control options on the Golf GTE, the driver can also ensure on longer trips that only the electric motor is used in an urban area.

The automobile revolution has a name – MQB. The variety of products in the Golf lineup- TSI (including GTI), TDI® (including GTD), TGI (powered by CNG), e-Golf, and Golf GTE-is made possible by the modular transverse matrix, abbreviated to MQB. This modular technology platform, initially introduced with the current Golf in 2012, is synonymous with an automotive revolution because Volkswagen engineers have created the prerequisites for a high-volume model, such as the Golf, to accept all drive types. This explains why Golf models with gasoline, diesel, natural gas, electric and hybrid drives can be manufactured from bumper to bumper at Volkswagen factories. As soon as developments make it possible, the first Golf with a hydrogen fuel cell will become part of the range.

Golf GTE plug-in hybrid system

As mentioned, the new Golf GTE is driven by a 148-hp TSI turbocharged and direct-injection gasoline engine and a 101-hp electric motor. The electric motor is supplied with power from a high-voltage 8.8 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that is charged from a socket behind the VW logo in the radiator grille. The battery weighs 265 pounds, or about eight percent of the GTE's 3360-pound curb weight. The GTE has a six-speed DSG® automatic transmission that was developed specifically for hybrid vehicles.

Volkswagen integrated the electric motor in the transmission housing. Additional hybrid drive components also include the power electronics (which converts the battery's direct current to alternating current for the electric motor) and a charger. An electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air-conditioning compressor safeguard optimal and energy-efficient operation of the brakes and air conditioning, especially for the GTE's "e-mode".

The Golf GTE can be driven in various intuitively named modes. For instance, the driver can push a button to intentionally switch to the "e-mode" which makes the Golf GTE a zero-emissions vehicle. The driver can also use the button to switch to "GTE mode", which activates the sporty side of this new Golf.

Design and features

The Golf GTE contains a pioneering, environmentally friendly, and sporty plug-in hybrid system. All of this is combined with a suspension that offers equally sporty handling and high levels of comfort.

Exterior. Volkswagen Head Designer Klaus Bischoff's crew created a look that merges GTI insignia with those of the e-Golf, creating an unmistakable identity. Klaus Bischoff explains the differences: "The presence of the electric drive is visually expressed by the prominent C-signature of the daytime running lights on the Golf GTE. Meanwhile, all other front design elements bridge to the GTI."

In those places where red dominates on the GTI, blue is used in the GTE. Bischoff continues: "A radiator crossbar running into the headlights provides further sporty accents within the context of Volkswagen electric mobility." Like the e-Golf, the four-door Golf GTE will launch with LED dual headlights as standard. The turn signals, parking light, and smoked numberplate lighting also use LED technology. Side skirts and a roof-edge spoiler provide further parallels with the GTI and GTD. Meanwhile, the aerodynamic 16-inch (standard), 17-inch, and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels were designed especially for the GTE.

Interior. Like the exterior, the sporty interior of the Golf GTE reveals a clear relationship to its other two GT series counterparts. However, just as on the exterior, the interior's red accents have also turned to blue. Klaus Bischoff says: "Volkswagen's e-mobility color of blue creates attractive contrasts in the car's seating, decorative seams, and material design. Moreover, the blue ambience lighting builds a visual bridge to the world of e-mobility." The light blue decorative seams on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, on the edges of the floormats, on the seats, and on the shifter grip are perfectly matched with the exterior features of the Golf GTE.

Golf GTE-specific instruments and displays

Touchscreen. All Golf cars are equipped with a touchscreen. In the case of the Golf GTE the high-resolution 6.5-inch "Composition Media" radio system is standard. The "Discover Pro" radio-navigation system is available as an option. Both units are equipped with many additional functions on the GTE. These include a "driving range monitor", an "energy flow display", "zero emission statistics", "e-manager", and-with the optional navigation system-the "360° driving range". Additionally, 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 information.

Driving range monitor: shows the current electric driving range of the GTE as well as the additional driving range potential from deactivating any auxiliary features that consume electricity.

Energy flow display: shows the power flow when accelerating (blue arrows) and when braking or regenerating (green arrows) as animated graphics.

e-manager: can program up to three departure and charging times; the Golf GTE ensures the set temperature and battery charge status at a defined time. Parallel to this, heating or cooling of the interior can be activated using standard air-conditioning while charging. Air conditioning therefore does not hinder the battery charging process, thereby extending the electric range.

360° range: the current radius in "e-mode" is shown by the 360° range in the local map. The inner area shows the range for an outward and return trip, the outer area the range for a one-way drive. Charging stations can be displayed and incorporated in the route as intermediate stopovers.

Car-Net e-Remote. Using the "Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote" app it is also possible to make several of these settings and requests for information via a smartphone or the Car-Net website. In detail, the app can program the departure time, air conditioning, charging the battery, accessing vehicle data, and the vehicle's status.

Power meter. The power meter supplements the tachometer on the left-hand side of the instrument cluster; it displays how much system power is currently being used or the intensity of battery regeneration. The speedometer remains on the right-hand side. The color display which is located between the power meter and the speedometer (multifunction display "Plus") also permanently shows the electrical driving range and the current operating mode.

About Volkswagen of America, Inc. Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc., an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWoA) is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA'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. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. VWoA sells the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, and Touareg vehicles through approximately 640 independent U.S. dealers.

Notes: This press release and images of the Golf GTE are available at media.vw.com. Follow us @VWNews "DSG," "TSI", "VW", "Volkswagen", all model names and the Volkswagen logo are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Months Ago
      Volkswagen of America PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE bring this to North America. This car would be a game changer, given it's high MPG, which seems to be in the press release but not in the story itself. 0-60 in 7.6 and potentially over 100MPG? That's a win-win, in my book. Keep it under $30K.
        • 9 Months Ago
        there is your problem. your expectations are simply unrealistic.
        Henry Z. Floyd
        • 9 Months Ago
        This technology under $30K? It's that kind of unrealistic expectations that stop this from happening...
        • 9 Months Ago
        This AND the GTD. And the Scirocco. Seriously.
      • 9 Months Ago
      This, the Scirocco, and the Polo GTI are currently the only VWs I'm at all interested in buying. VW: you suck.
      • 9 Months Ago
      Boo, to no U.S. plans. You suck,
      • 9 Months Ago
      18 mph would be a bit disappointing, luckily the press release says 81: "If the electric motor is the sole source for propulsive power, the Golf GTE is capable of speeds of up to 81 mph"
      • 9 Months Ago
      'VW says the Golf GTE can hit speeds of up to 18 miles per hour on electric power alone,' S/be 81mph There are no immediate plans for the VW GTE for the States, the E-Golf will be the first VW on limited release in the US this fall for the 2015 model. However the Audi A3 E-tron PHEV which has an identical drive train to the Golf GTE is scheduled for US release in the spring of 2015.
      • 9 Months Ago
      I think the primary reason for not bringing this to the states has to do with the manufacturing of the EV technologies - not because this wouldn't sell (at a decent price). With the cost of shipping all the EV bits over, this would increase the cost structure and lower the margin. I would imagine that VW knows that EVs are gaining ground and they're probably devising ways to create an EV segment in their entire lineup. They first need to upgrade their facilities to manufacture EV tech. Personally, I think the smart decision would be to take it sooner than later. You're talking about an EV market dominated by Tesla and generally ugly offerings from other OEMs. The market isn't saturated yet.
      • 9 Months Ago
      VW is still scared about hybrids. Mr. Winterkorn has been telling all the time he does not like hybrids. so it is no wonder that they don't want this car to be a success. Especially in the US where plug-ins sell very well it could be very competitive. But as engineer Mr Winterkorn told the public that batteries suck EVs are too expensive, fugly and the range is too little. more than 100 miles is impossible... http://www.autozeitung.de/auto-news/vw-elektroauto-winterkorn-elektromobilitaet-xl1-erwartungen-gn-401333 and http://www.tagesspiegel.de/auto/ernuechterung-bei-der-elektromobilitaet-kleinwagen-sind-technisch-interessanter/6297122-2.html "Reine Elektrofahrzeuge sind etwas für den innerstädtischen Verkehr", sagt VW-Chef Winterkorn. Er räumt den Autos erst mit einer verbesserten Batterietechnik Chancen ein. "Wenn dann Reichweiten von 300, 400, 500 Kilometern möglich sind, glaube ich schon, dass die Batteriefahrzeuge eine Chance haben." Pure EVs are something for city traffic, says VW-CEO Winterkorn. He only gives cars with an advanced battery technology a chance. "If ranges like 186, 248, 310 miles are possible, I believe than BEVs have a chance." Well meanwhile is tesla selling one 300 mile car after another. still as recent numbers tell plug-ins sell against the trend. it is like with the wagon. no American will buy a wagon, so they sell only sedans in the US. You want more space, well buy an SUV then.
      • 9 Months Ago
      You can't smear perfume on a pig. An electric car has to be formed from the ground up by intelligence. Not attached to cast iron junk. This lame effort is of course a reflection of the enduring nazi resistance to reason. #deruntergang
      • 9 Months Ago
      Actually this would be better then the GTI as it solves a BIG Problem. The Weight distribution, of having a big V6 sitting in front of the front wheels gave it squirrelly dynamics. With an electric motor an battery you're sure to get Much Better Weight Distribution. America is WAITING.
        • 9 Months Ago
        The GTI hasn't been V6 in several years (it's a 2.0T), but I do get your point, sort of.
      • 9 Months Ago
      FYI - VW has so many vehicles with over 100,000 miles still on the road because their owners, like me, are keeping their current VWs waiting for VWoA to bring radically improved vehicles to market HERE! Sequentially warmed-over MKVs, MKVIs, and MKVIIs fail to introduce serious change or improvements from on generation to the next are basically boring. Based on VWoA's Superbowl commercial, every VW engineer myst have wings by now with several popping rainbows!
      • 9 Months Ago
      Golf's, like Impreza's, are not beautiful by any measure. Although, I will say kudos to VW for having the guts to do what Honda did a few years back. Make a "greener" car that isn't dorky and has terrible dynamics. We need more cars like this. Ones that combine "green" aspirations with sporty ones.
        Carlos Cruz
        • 9 Months Ago
        >are not beautiful by any measure Actually, that is the only advantage VW holds over Subaru. If VW were as fuggly as the Subaru I would have bought it an Impreza over my GTI . As a long term VW owner I acknowledge that things do have issues a little more than the average (by no means to the level of exaggeration overplayed here), but if VW didn't have design as a strength, I would have gone for the Subaru reliability.
      • 9 Months Ago
      Just a note that 'no plans' does not mean no US release ever. The VW group's roll out in the US starts with the E-Golf in the fall, then the Audi A3 PHEV next spring. I strongly suspect that this will be followed by the Passat PHEV in fall 2015, which would give them representation in the saloon and hatchback in the medium priced PHEV segment, with the Golf PHEV perhaps in spring 2016 after Audi has mopped up premium customers. Its a long time away, but not forever, in my estimation. Everything depends on sales and what price VW can get for their vehicles though. They are not in the business of losing money, and have no intention of speculating in an effort to go to mass production and force prices down as Nissan have done.
    • Load More Comments