Volkswagen Golf GTE plug-in hybrid shown in Geneva

3 Mar, 2014 11:30pm Paul Bond

New Volkswagen Golf GTE offers hot hatch thrills and emissions of just 35g/km of CO2

This is the all-new Volkswagen Golf GTE, a new performance-focused plug-in hybrid that follows the petrol GTI and diesel GTD. A petrol-powered plug-in hybrid, it has been designed to give hot hatch levels of straight-line performance alongside an incredibly low CO2 figure of just 35g/km.

The styling is inspired by the Golf GTI, with the same aggressive air-vents and low front spoiler as the iconic petrol model. However a distinctive set of C-shaped LED running lights have been integrated into the bumper, and the red lines on the grille and headlights have been replaced with subtle blue trim instead.

Volkswagen offers the Golf (at least in Germany) with five different power sources – diesel, petrol, pure electric, compressed gas and now plug-in hybrid. Essentially, the Golf GTE uses the same lithium-ion battery technology as the Audi A3 e-tron, which means an identical 31-mile electric range and fuel economy of 188mpg.

Those powerful batteries are linked to a 101bhp electric motor that is bolted to the gearbox housing, and when combined with the 148bhp 1.4-litre TSI engine, total system output is an impressive 201bhp and a diesel-like 350Nm of torque.

Performance is brisk too, with the GTE taking just 7.6 seconds to reach 62mph from a standstill, but the top speed is capped at 134mph. The motor and engine drive the front wheels through a newly developed triple-clutch DSG gearbox and several heavy-duty electronics systems to carefully manage the flow of power.

All this technology does come at a price though. Weighing in at 1,524kgs, the GTE is 173kgs heavier than a GTI and 300kgs heavier than standard Golf 1.4 TSI. Still, VW claims that in hybrid mode the GTE can cover 583 miles on a single tank.

Zero-emissions driving can be accessed at any time thanks to an ‘e-mode’ button in the cabin, which switches off the engine completely and limits the top speed to 81mph. Several other driving modes will be offered, including a ‘GTE mode’ that delivers the maximum amount of power for a sportier and more exciting drive.

The battery pack takes three and a half hours to charge from a household socket, and is mounted beneath the rear seats – but that means the petrol tank has been moved to the boot, so the boot is around 100 litres smaller than the standard car.

Inside, there are more blue accents on the seats, steering wheel and gear stick. It will come with a 6.5-inch touchscreen display as standard, which will include an ‘energy flow monitor’, and the rev counter makes way for a power meter instead.

Volkswagen plans to launch the GTE later this year, with order books opening in August, and prices are likely to put it between the GTI and the Golf R. That should mean a list price of just over £30,000 after the £5,000 government grant is deducted.

Disqus - noscript

"and fuel economy of 188mpg" - did you forget to mention that actually the mpg figure drops to below 50 after the battery depletes in about 30 miles. And also that the battery will only have a lifetime of around 8 years? Not to mention the amount of depreciation we can expect for a VW hybrid generation 1 car. Its amazing how some motoring journalists get so excited when they see a GT badge and several tail pipes and yet we have seen in the past that global sales figures for such cars are really low.

Now get to the real numbers, those who yearn GT performance will not be prepared to pay a heavy premium just to be green. So it comes down to whether a premium of 8K (over a GTD) is worth it? Maybe it will be for some - a few environment conscious boy racers will buy-in.

Besides, several plugin hybrids have been in production (and selling well) for the past few years and we rarely saw any publicity from the UK motoring media. Then VW comes up with a hybrid "concept" with a GT badge and everyone is jumping up and down, I bet there will even be comments on how good it is in a few weeks, wake up guys none of this is new technology and stop the bias, there is a long way to go to be anything near the cutting edge in Hybrid tech

Damn there was me expecting a Volkswagen tribute to a lairy 80s Astra.

Is this forum some kinda meeting place for care-in-the-community sufferers?
One guy, Jamie Pickles, makes the same tedious 'joke' on every other car review, another makes bizarre attacks on Land Rover and anything Indian, and then there are those that hate anything German.

So tell me jjaayyzz/HTG, what do you consider the cutting edge in hybrid tech? Oh let me guess... it's Toyota tech isn't it!!?? Just like you said on the other article. Perhaps you could educate us, lesser mortals, as to why that is:

-Do Toyota have more advanced battery tech? Err no... It's the same technology as the other leading manufacturers. The same technology you find in laptops and phones.

-Do Toyota have more advanced electric motors? Err no... It's the same ancient tech that all the others use.

-Do Toyota have more advanced electric regeneration tech? Er no. Same basic tech as all the others.

-Are Toyota hybrids more fun to drive and have lower emissions than hybrids from other manufacturers? Take test drives, look at the stats and read the reviews. As you'll find, the answer is no.

Hope this helps.

You seem to answer your own questions mate, my answers are YES YES YES YES and YES

Well I suggest you look at sales figures VW hybrids 0 (zero) Lexus & Toyota 5 million. Nough said

Comparing the hybrid sales figures of one manufacturer who has been making them for over 10 years with another that has been making them for zero years is a pretty lame argument. The truth is as other manufacturers dip their toes into hybrid technology they can easily hold their own against Toyota's best offerings.

The Germans as a whole build more solid cars. They use better quality materials and have more ORIGINAL character than ANY Toyota/Lexus including the other Japanese manufacturers. The VW Golf is a LEGEND in its own right from its conception in the 1970's and has evolved. Toyota haven't yet an offering with the efficient technology above, nor do they have a LEGEND. The Auris is not an inspiring car is it? The lowest Hybrid Toyota does is 49g/km in a small cheap plastic package as opposed to German solidity. Granted the Germans had a late start into the hybrid market which explain your sales figures, but the Germans and others will have no trouble offering better quality products with the same if not better technology as demand is increasing.

I don't think its fair to pick on Jamie Pickles: Maybe he's just a young lad who's really into cars. Either way, he has as much right to join in this discussion as you or me have.

VW late to the party.

The Germans occupy ALL the bottom places in the ReliabilityIndex reliability report. German quality is a myth.

You can keep 'original/character/inspiring' cars. They are for people who need something to enhance themselves.

Well rounded people need safety, practicality and value.

So the UK taxpayer sends £5K straight to Germany so some idiot can suffer with battery replacement proplems in 3 years.

Do yourselves a favour, if you must by a sad Golf, get one for under £20K, and you'll have £10K change for fuel and no worries about batteries. I'm sick of paying for other people to drive these beta versions of electric cars.

Surely the point is that Honda (Insight) and Toyota (Prius) have been around for 10 years and these VW efforts are just latecomers yet they are being lauded like they are something special.

All these cars are so imperfect that they represent very poor value for money in the travel requirements of 98% of buyers. The only reason to buy one is to make some kind of contribution to the effort against climate change - and be some kind of eco-hero if that what turns you one. There is no economic case for them otherwise.

30 grand for a Golf!!

Their's one born every minute....

I agree to a point in that none of these cars are likely to represent good value for money for the majority of users. The key to saving money is spending as much time not using the engine as possible between charges. You are much much more likely to do this in a car with a 30 mile electric only range rather than the 15 mile range of a Plug in Prius for similar money which is also an inferior car. BMW's i3 range extender might even make the sums work due to its 80 mile range. My point is if any hybrid car makes sense it certainly isn't anything coming from Toyota.

The ReliabiltyIndex makes your version of 'Well Rounded People" feel better about themselves as they lack a certain something, and I don't mean style nor panache as that's too obvious. The ReliabiltyIndex top cars are cheap to buy, run, fix, and are generally uninspiring, rather mundane and boring vehicles. My local taxi firm uses Toyota's. The cabins squeak and rattle, made even worse in the uncomfortable Prius as it's combined with horrible road and wind noise. You can keep your cheap, I ll stick with quality.

The key to saving money is not to pay an extra £10K-15K on your new car.

I never keep a car more than 3 years so an 8 year battery life isn't a worry.

Don't know of any one who does keep them more than 5.

When I was looking to change my Krappy Kia, I looked at going back to a VW Golf GTI or GTD.

I soon changed my mind when I specced up one to a decent level and found it would cost over £31k.

I got a Skoda vRS which is based on the Golf and only paid £26k.

How sad.
Who needs to spend thousands of pounds getting inspiration from a car when you can spend it on holidays, nights out and having fun with other people? I need my car to support my lifestyle, not to BE my lifestyle.

Your philosophy appears to be attempting to buy self-esteem through your car. I seriously doubt that it will work out, and I think your reply confirms that.

An 8 year battery life is VERY VERY optimistic best case.

'Do Toyota have more advanced battery tech?' Err....Why do you think BMW were so keen to from an alliance with Toyota??!! They want to buy into it....big time!!

What a lot of tosh A320driver. You claim German cars have more character. Are you serious.? German cars are the dullest and most boring machines on the planet unless you pay for a perfomance model. That has always been the case. And are you aware why BMW were so eager to secure a tie up with Toyota?!!And you bring up the subject of German cars and reliability? Think you are entering dangerous ground there mate...LOL!

It shares the GTE name with the Reliant Scimitar on the upside, on the downside it's a VW Golf so I'm not in the least bit interested.

26 grand for a Czech taxi!!
Their's one born every minute....

I never started on reliability. I started on Character and quality. Hence the term'sounds like a golf'. My family and I have driven German cars for decades, and they ve been reliable, comfortable and practical. I can ask for nothing more. There really is an anti German crowd on here. Why read about the golf then? Oh, just looking for another reason to slander what is a great machine. Pathetic.

You don't know me nor my circumstances and as a result, you could not be more wrong. I can afford to socialise, to go on holidays , and to drive a very nice car. I misjudged the Audience here. I don't agree with those who put their cars before themselves. You obviously know people that do, and it has affected you somehow. However, I agree with Autoexpress. VW have modernised a Legend, bringing its emissions and performance to a competitive level, if not better than what's out there at the moment.

Don't knock it, the whole auto industry depends on people like A320Driver and their low self esteem. There is real truth in the whole 'penys extenstion' thing.

The Golf is the dullard car of the modern world true, it is actually the stalwart car for those that aren't really interested in cars because it is so anonymous and nondescript, just like much of the audi output. Golf is the straight down the middle Mr Ordinary.
But there are much better cars for less money to be ordinary in.

At the end of the day, cars are just machines made for transport before anything else.
The truly intelligent will ignore the whole aspirational marketing by the car makers and buy something used which is most importantly: 1. Safe. 2. Reliable. 3. Good value. Which is why Japan rules for the thinking man - but Vauxhall, Ford and Renault make seriously good cases.
German marques are well down the list, unless you think you can buy yourself something that you imagine might compensate for your unattractiveness and lack of charisma. In which case, you don't want any VW group product, you need to be looking to Stuttgart or Munchen.

I think the A320Driver lady doth protest too much. You are found out Mr tiny willy.

A few things here:
1. Have Vauxhall/Opel really let the GTE badge go? I'll be amazed if VW can use it in this country [in particular]
2. Does 101bhp + 148bhp truly add up to 201bhp!? More like 249bhp methinks?
3. If the GTE does 188mpg (in full Hybrid mode) but can only go 583 miles on one tank, does that mean it's only got a 14.1ltr fuel tank??
Sooo many questions . . . .

Are you really suggesting a Golf (old or new) is a characterful car?! I agree it has qualities like comfort, space and refinement, but character? I think not, as with anything from the VW range aside from their performance models. It's the same with other Kraut cars like A1's A3's A4's C and E classes etc. German cars are mundane .....rather like Germany actually.

The popularity of the VW Golf speaks for itself. My first car was a Golf GTi so I have a soft spot for them, though I do not currently own one. If I may correct you without being further attacked, It's people like me and like you, and like the readers that keeps the motor industry going due our likes/wants/needs for different things. Life and our roads would be boring otherwise.

More complete tosh on real world CO2 emissions from AE! Hybrids are not tested in the same way as ICE cars and so they come up with these ludicrous MPG and CO2 figures. No account is made of the minimum 500g CO2 /kWh for UK electricity nor for the real world Petrol consumption lugging that hugely heavy car around after the battery runs down. A pure EV for around town makes some sense but this along with the other plug ins are actually adding CO2 to the atmosphere compared with a lightweight petrol or diesel car. The latter can run on sustainable bio fuel.