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Volkswagen Golf GTE Plug-In Hybrid: Geneva Motor Show Preview

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Volkswagen has released full details of its all-new Golf GTE, a plug-in hybrid model making its debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The German automaker has chosen the sporty GTE moniker as a way of tying the model into its GTI and GTD gasoline and diesel sports hatchbacks, but as the 'E' suggests an electric drivetrain is the main characteristic of the new car.

VAG's 'MQB' platform used under the Golf allows pretty much any powertrain to be fitted, from regular internal combustion models, through the new plug-in hybrid to full electric vehicles such as the e-Golf.

157 mpg

Under the skin, the GTE essentially shares its components with that of Audi's A3 Sportback e-tron, another vehicle on the MQB platform.

That means a 1.4-liter, 148-horsepower gasoline four-cylinder shares under-hood space with a 101-horsepower electric motor.

Because of the way in which engines and electric motors develop peak power, combined output is 201 horsepower, with 258 pounds-feet of torque on tap between the two units.

Performance falls somewhere between the gasoline GTI and the diesel GTD, with a 7.6-second 0-62 mph sprint time and 135 mph top speed. On electric power alone, the 101-horsepower motor can hit 81 mph.

Juice for the motor is provided by a 8.8 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack. The relatively compact pack weighs 265 pounds, about 8 percent of the GTE's total 3,360-lb curb weight. Volkswagen claims an all-electric range of 31 miles, with a total electric and gasoline range of 584 miles.

On the combined European fuel economy cycle, the GTE achieves 157 mpg--though this of course is nearly infinitely variable depending on just how much use drivers make of the electric range each day.

Like the Audi whose drivetrain it shares, charging is handled via a socket behind the VW logo in the radiator grille.

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE

Enlarge Photo

GTI looks, feel

In terms of styling, Volkswagen has tread a path somewhere between that of the all-out sporty GTI and the gentler e-Golf. Where you'd find retro red detailing on the GTI, the GTE uses blue details. LED lighting is used all round for a distinctive visual signature (and low energy use) and the GTE's 16, 17 and 18-inch wheel options are unique to the model.

Inside the red-to-blue theme continues, retaining the GTI's tartan theme but toned down a bit with blue details, seams and ambient lighting.

A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on the GTE, common to many Golfs but equipped with a few GTE-specific energy monitoring features--driving range, energy flow, a 360-degree radius mode for the navigation and programmable charging times.

Drivers can also download the "Car-Net e-Remote" mobile application, able to access various aspects of the car's data, as well as programming charging, setting the air conditioning and accessing the vehicle's status.

Unfortunately, and unlike its Audi counterpart, Volkswagen has no plans to bring the Golf GTE to the U.S.

The car will instead be launched at the Geneva Motor Show, after which point it will go on sale across Europe. You can find more information from the Swiss show by heading to our Geneva Motor Show hub page.

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