Volkswagen Unveils Golf GTE Plug-in Hybrid Sport Concept at 2015 Wörthersee Festival

With a 75 kilowatt electric motor powered by an 8.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and mated to a 1.4-litre TSI four-cylinder gasoline engine and six-speed DSG automatic gearbox, the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTE is frugal, environmentally-friendly and fun.

Green and mean? The Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport

Green and mean? The Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport

Engineered to be the fourth performance-oriented Volkswagen Golf alongside the Golf GTi, GTD and Golf R, the Golf GTE can travel up to 31 miles on electricity alone according to the NEDC fuel economy test cycle. Acceleration from 0-62 mph takes 7.6 seconds, while the car can go on to a top speed of 138 mph where allowed.

While the Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport may share its name with the production plug-in hybrid hatch, the vehicle itself has little in common with the current generation VW Golf family.

Despite being on the market for a short time, the Volkswagen Golf GTE has made a big impression. And on Thursday at the 34th annual annual GTi Wörthersee Festival at Lake Wörthersee, the German automaker unveiled the Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport — a plug-in hybrid all-wheel drive sports car that hints at what a future Golf GTE could be like.

Is this the plug-in of the future? Volkswagen thinks so.

Is this the plug-in of the future? Volkswagen thinks so.

While the Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport may share its name with the production plug-in hybrid hatch, the vehicle itself has little in common with the current generation VW Golf family.

Underneath a brand-new carbon-fibre body that is nine inches lower than the current Golf and a specially-built race-tuned chassis lies not one but three powerful 85 kilowatt electric motors. One is mounted up front inside the gearbox housing of a six-speed DSG gearbox attached to the same2 95-horsepower, 1.6-litre TSI four-cylinder engine developed by Volkswagen for its Polo R World Rally Car. Together, the motor and gasoline engine send a combined 243 pound feet of torque to the front wheels.

At the rear, the other two electric motors drive the rear wheels directly, producing 199 pound feet of torque and helping the sporty concept car rocket from 0-62 mph in 4.3 seconds. Top speed is electronically-limited to 174 mph.

Those who are fans of electric rather than plug-in hybrid drivetrains may dismiss the Golf GTE Sport Concept as yet another high-powered vehicle with token electric motors fitted for environmental kudos. But what’s particularly interesting about this plug-in concept car is its all-electric range: despite adding two extra motors, Volkswagen claims the Golf GTE Sport Concept can still manage a range of 31 miles on the NEDC test cycle in all-electric mode.

A massive centre flying structure bifurcates the cabin lengthwise, cocooning the passenger and driver as if they were sitting in a fighter jet.

Combined, fuel economy is rated using NEDC cycle tests for plug-hybrids at 141 imperial mpg (117 U.S. mpg), a test cycle which accounts for two-thirds electric and one-third hybrid operation.

It's like a fighter jet in the cockpit.

It’s like a fighter jet in the cockpit.

Inside the Golf GTE Sport Concept, the cockpit is unrecognisable from the production Volkswagen Golfs of today. In addition to the angular bucket seats and race-style steering wheel with paddle shifters, a massive centre flying structure bifurcates the cabin lengthwise, cocooning the passenger and driver as if they were sitting in a fighter jet.

Meanwhile, the fully-digital floating dashboard complete with race-themed sport design reminds us that this isn’t a car that we’ll see on the roads any time soon.

Then there’s the Golf GTE Concept’s party trick: full length lamborghini style doors which hinge upwards in a similar vein to the sporty doors found on Volkswagen’s limited-production, super-efficient XL1 plug-in hybrid.

As with most concept cars, we’re doubtful the Golf GTE Sport will make it to production in its current form. But it certainly gives us plenty to think about when it comes to Volkswagen’s impression of how plug-in hybrids will evolve into the future.

Do you like it or hate it? Would you like to take it out on a track to find out how sporty it really is? Or would you prefer something with a different drivetrain and looks?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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  • Mark Gemmell

    I’m a bit confused … probably because the Golf GTE and Golf GTE Sport are rather similar names! You start talking about the plain GTE but the image is of the GTE Sport. You also talk about a single 75kW motor (lame) and then later talk about the 3 85kW motors the GTE Sport has (less lame). It took me some time to decode all this … likely a reflection of my decoding skills admittedly.
    Oh and what a daft cockpit … if they had put something actually interesting under the hood, like a 1MW motor, the cockpit would be allowable, but here it just looks silly. And if you drop your phone on the floor there’ll be acrobatics before you get it back again! 🙂