Ahead of its official launch at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show next month, Volkswagen has published the first official photographs of its highly-anticipated Golf GTE plug-in hybrid. Soon to be offered alongside Volkswagen’s comprehensive lineup of different petrol and diesel engine choices for the iconic hatch, the plug-in hybrid will also be joined in the Golf garage later this year by the all-electric e-Golf. Combined, these two plug-in Golfs will offer VW customers one of the most comprehensive power train choices of any automaker today.
Essentially the same drivetrain found in Audi’s highly-anticipated A3-eTron plug-in hybrid, the Golf GTE is powered by a 1.4-litre, turbocharged stratified fuel injection engine developing a peak output of 147 horsepower driving the front wheels via a six-speed triple-clutch DSG gearbox.
Integrated into the gearbox between the engine and the output shaft is a 75 kilowatt electric motor, which can operate in tandem with the petrol engine to give the Golf GTE a respectable 7.6 second 0-62 time and a combined fuel efficiency of 1.5 litres per 100km on the NEDC cycle. (188 mpg Imperial, 156 mpg, U.S.) In combined hybrid drivetrain mode, Volkswagen says the GTE will reach a top speed of 135 mph where legal, and have a total gasoline+electric range per fill-up of 939km (535 miles). In hybrid mode, the triple-clutch arrangement engages and disengages the electric motor and gasoline engine automatically for optimum fuel efficiency.
Like other plug-in hybrids, the Golf GTE will also be able to operate in all-electric mode, thanks to an 8.8 kilowatt-hour, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack, which Volkswagen says will be good for an NEDC-rated 50 kilometres of EV-only range (31 miles) at speeds of up to 130 kph (80mph). At this point, it’s worth reminding you that NEDC fuel economy and range tests, while the European standard for measuring car efficiency, are notoriously over-optimistic. For real-world range, we’d recommend a figure somewhere between 85 and 90 percent of official NEDC range (25-30 miles in urban situations) would be more realistic.
Volkswagen says charging will take around three and a half hours using a conventional 240-volt European mains outlet, or two and a half hours using a public charging station. Unlike the eGolf, there’s no option to add the DC combo quick charge socket, meaning you won’t be able to refuel at DC quick charge stations. With that in mind, Volkswagen is keen to offer the Golf GTE as the performance-oriented car that can also be green when needed around town, while the e-Golf with DC Quick Charge will be the more obvious choice for people who live in a large city and occasionally need to make longer-distance trips.
Essentially, the GTE is the car for VW fans who love the performance of the GTi and GTD, but don’t want the high fuel costs or tailpipe emissions. Here at Transport Evolved, we love this idea and nomenclature, and note that the VW Golf GTE is one of the first plug-in variants of a gasoline car we can think of that doesn’t have the complex — and rather boring — ‘Plug-in Hybrid’ (or some other electrified) name tacked on.
Like the eGolf, the Golf GTE is based on VW’s all-new MQB platform. Designed from the ground-up to accommodate multiple drivetrains, this means the battery pack is mounted low down for added stability, offering great handling and a no-compromise interior that matches that of the Gasoline Golf. This should put the Golf GTE ahead of cars like the Ford CMax Energi, which loses a large portion of its usable load bay to its battery pack.
As you’d expect, the Golf GTE will come with a whole suite of interconnectivity features, including the ability to precondition the cabin, set charging time and check on the state of the car’s battery pack remotely via smartphone or Internet browser. Inside the cabin, there’s also a large 7-inch touchscreen display which not only gives you access to information about the car’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain and predicted driving range in EV mode but also doubles up as an entertainment unit and satellite navigation system.
We’ll have to wait a few more weeks to give you live photographs from Geneva, but for now, take a look at Volkswagen’s official launch photos below and tell us what you think. As always, we’ll bring you first drive reports and a comprehensive rundown of the car’s features just as soon as we get our hands on one.
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