Volkswagen’s versatile 2015 Golf GTE plug-in hybrid has officially gone on sale in the UK for a headlining price of £33,035 before £5,000 of plug-in incentives.
Designed on the same Volkswagen MQB platform as the rest of the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf family, the 2015 Golf GTE combines a 75 kilowatt electric motor mounted inside the gearbox and 8.8 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack with a 1.4-litre, TSI direct-injection gasoline engine capable of producing 148 horsepower.
Complete with a six-speed DSG gearbox designed specifically for use with hybrid drivetrains, Volkswagen says the Golf GTE is capable of producing a total power output of 201 horsepower (150 kilowatts) and a maximum available torque of 350 Nm (258 lbs ft) when both engine and motor work in concert.
In all-electric mode, Volkswagen claims a range of up to 31 miles per charge are possible, although based on previous brief drives with the Golf GTE we’d suggest a real-world range of between 20 and 25 miles per charge is more realistic.
Unlike some plug-in hybrids however, the Volkswagen Golf GTE operates in all-electric mode at speeds of up to 81 mph, with the gasoline engine only kicking in under extremly heavy acceleration. Due to its small size, the battery pack can be recharged from empty too full in just under four hours with a domestic power socket, or two and a quarter hours from an appropriate 16-amp charging station.
On power up, the Golf GTE’s default is to enter into all-electric mode, using up the energy in its battery pack first before switching on its gasoline engine. It can also be entered at any point during the trip after engaging anther mode by pressing the mode switch.
Like most other plug-in hybrids on the market today however, it’s possible to enter into ‘Battery Hold’ mode, which allows the driver to reserve their car’s battery charge for later use in the trip.
There’s also a ‘Battery Charge’ mode, which makes it possible for the Golf GTE to use excess energy from its internal combustion engine to recharge the battery pack as it is driving along. While this will result in temporarily dropping fuel efficiency, it does make it possible to drive in all-electric mode more than once in a trip although any driving made in electric mode using power generated by the engine has obvious emissions implications from an environmental standpoint.
Alongside these two charge maintenance modes, there’s also ‘Hybrid Auto,’ a mode which gives the car control over when to switch between gasoline and electricity for the best possible fuel efficiency. In this mode, Volkswagen claims a combined economy cycle of 166 miles per UK gallon, utilising standard NEDC power mix methodology for plug-in hybrids.
The final operating mode is the car’s ‘GTE Mode.’ Inspired by Volkswagen’s iconic Golf GTi, the GTE mode puts the Volkswagen Golf GTE into its highest performance mode, utilising gasoline engine and electric motor together to give maximum power. In this mode, the Golf GTE can sprint from 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds, and reaches a top speed of 138 mph.
In addition, while the gasoline engine is providing power, the Golf GTE features paddle-mounted DSG gear shifters, allowing for the ultimate sporty driving experience.
For now, there’s only one trim level, which includes telematics connectivity to Volkswagen’s Car-Net system allowing remote charge timing, climate control and monitoring; large 18-inch alloy wheels; C-shaped LED daytime running lights; and specially-designed GTE inter with touchscreen infotainment system and DAB radio.
Perhaps the most important thing to note however is that unlike the e-Golf and e-Up — both of which are already on sale in the UK from twenty-five specialist ‘e-Retailers,’ the GTE will be available from any Volkswagen dealer nationwide.
Sadly, there’s no plans to bring the GTE to the U.S, but for those who like the sound of the GTE its up-market sibling — the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron — is coming to the U.S. this year.
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