VW’s Plug-in Hybrid Will Be a Plug-in Version of the GTi

In its forty-year history, the Volkswagen Golf  has been offered in a truly dizzying variety of models, from its all-wheel drive Golf Country with raised suspension and off-road looks to its fuel-sipping Golf Ecomatic, designed during the fuel crisis of the early 1990s.

VW's new plug-in hybrid Golf will be called the Golf GTE

VW’s new plug-in hybrid Golf will be called the Golf GTE

For most VW Golf fans though, it’s the GTi, GTD and R32 models that are most loved, due to their powerful engines, great road holding and sporty personalities.  Later this year, a new performance-oriented badge will enter Golf stable: the plug-in GTE.

As you can probably guess, the E stands for Electric.

As Autocar reports, Volkswagen’s soon-to-launch Golf Plug-in hybrid will combine a turbocharged, four-cylinder, direct injection gasoline engine developing a maximum of 148 bhp with an 80 kilowatt electric motor.  That’s an electric motor the same size as the one found in Nissan’s all-electric LEAF. 

Range in all-electric mode is claimed to be around 31 miles, courtesy of an 8.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack fitted underneath the load bay where the standard VW Golf’s gas tank sits. Due to this, we’d expect the GTE to have a smaller liquid fuel tank than its non plug-in sibling, but we’re not sure how much smaller at this time.

Combined, the car will accelerate from 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds, which is just a little faster than the BMW i3 REx’s 7.9 second 0-62 mph time, and a little slower than the BMW i3 EV’s 0-62 mph time of 7.2 seconds.

Like the rest of VW's Golf lineup, the new GTE will be based on the MK VII platform

Like the rest of VW’s Golf lineup, the new GTE will be based on the MK VII platform

That, combined with its specially-designed six-speed DSG gearbox, a total combined torque of 258 pound feet (349 Nm), a top speed of 135 mph, and an electric-only top speed of 81 mph is enough VW says, to earn it the GTE badge.

Moreover, Autocar claims, VW bosses want the GTE plug-in hybrid to be viewed as nothing less than a plug-in variant of the GTi.

If like us, you thought these performance figures sound familiar, you’d be right. Audi’s plug-in A3 e-tron is essentially the same car as the Golf GTE, just with a different badge and (we presume) a more expensive price tag.

After years of watching automakers cast plug-in hybrids as the frugal, less-fun equivalent to full-bore gas-guzzling models, we’re pleased to see Volkswagen emphasise the GTE’s performance credentials above all else.

But will it encourage more people to make the switch? Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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