VW gives its new Golf plug-in hybrid a GTE badge

VW says the GTE's electric drive is visually expressed by C-shaped daytime running lights and by a radiator crossbar running into the headlights.

MUNICH -- Volkswagen is giving its new Golf plug-in hybrid car the GT label it uses for its sporty models in a bid to boost the car's appeal.

The 201-hp Golf GTE plug-in hybrid will be the first Golf to carry the GTE badge. It will debut at next month's Geneva auto show.

The "GT" stands for Grand Tourer and the "E" for electric. The four-door hatchback will join the high-powered GTI (gasoline direct-injection) and GTD (diesel fuel injection) Golf variants when it goes on sale in Europe late this year.

VW has not said if the car will be sold in the United States.

VW says the Golf GTE is highly fuel efficient despite its power and torque. The four-door hatchback uses 1.5 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (157 U.S. mpg; 188 UK mpg) and has ultra low CO2 emissions of 35 grams per kilometer.

It's powered by a 148-hp, 1.4-liter gasoline engine and a 101-hp electric motor. Its top speed is 217kph (130 mph) in hybrid mode and it accelerates from 0 to 100kph (62 mph) in 7.6 seconds.

Pulling power

VW said the GTE's gasoline engine and electric motor combination gives the car better pulling power than other plug-in hybrids on the road. Its maximum torque is 350 newton meters (258 foot pounds).

The GTE has an all-electric range of 50km (31 miles) along with an overall range of up to 939km (584 miles) in hybrid mode. The battery takes 3.5 hours to charge fully from a conventional wall outlet and 2.5 hours using a wallbox or a public charging station.

The Golf GTE is the fifth powertrain variant to be offered in the Golf, adding to gasoline, diesel, CNG and full-electric versions.

Fuel cell potential

VW said its new MQB (modular transverse matrix) architecture, which underpins the latest, seventh-generation Golf, allows the company to build the compact car with such a wide variety of drivetrains. "As soon as developments make it possible, the first Golf with a hydrogen fuel cell will become part of the range," a VW statement said.

The Golf GTE's electric motor is supplied with power from a high-voltage 8.8 kWh liquid-cooled lithium ion battery that is charged from a socket behind the VW logo in the radiator grille. The battery weighs 120kg (265 pounds) or about 8 percent of the GTE's 1,524kg (3360-pound) curb weight.

The GTE has a six-speed automatic transmission developed specifically for hybrids. Its electric motor is placed in the transmission housing. Like the Golf EV, the GTE has LED dual headlights as standard.

VW did not reveal prices for the Golf GTE but German press reports said it will likely start at 36,000 euros in its home market, about the same as a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and 7,000 euros more than a Golf GTI.

You can reach Paul McVeigh at pmcveigh@crain.com

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