Volkswagen Golf GTE PHEV Hot Hatch Debuts Ahead Of Geneva Reveal

Has more torque than the GTI and 37 miles (60 km) of pure-electric range.

Volkswagen has pulled the wraps off its eighth-gen Golf GTI and along with it, the diesel-burning GTD and the plug-in hybrid GTE were also revealed. The latter has as much torque as the oil burner and a battery twice as big as that of the previous-gen GTE.

Just like the upcoming Skoda Octavia RS and Cupra Leon plug-in variants, the latest Golf GTE is motivated by a 1.4-liter engine that puts out 147 horsepower and a 112 horsepower electric motor. Their maximum combined output is 242 horsepower, while peak torque comes in at 400 Nm; the only transmission option is a six-speed DSG automatic.

VW equips the Golf GTE with a 13 kWh battery pack that provides a claimed pure-electric range of 37 miles (60 km), and it can push the car up to a speed of 81 mph (130 km/h) without starting up the internal combustion engine.

On the design front, it looks very similar to the GTI and GTD. It has the same sportier front bumper as they do, but VW decided to give it a much less sporty looking rear bumper that comes with – wait for it – fake exhausts, which is quite unfortunate for a hot hatch. The GTI gets two exhausts, while the GTD gets a single dual exit exhaust and the GTE’s rear bumper looks pretty bad by comparison.

The GTE also doesn’t come with the lowered suspension as the GTI and GTD. Those two models are 0.6 inches (1.5 centimeters) lower than the standard Golf and the fact that the GTE isn’t factory lowered is a questionable decision on VW’s part – not only does a lower ride height enhance the car’s cornering capability, but it also makes it more aerodynamic and thus more efficient (which is important for a plug-in hybrid).

Gallery: 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTE

13 Photos

So between the higher ride height, its economy car rear bumper with faux exhausts and wheels that don’t look as aggressive as those on the GTI or GTD, the GTE doesn’t look quite as aggressive as those two. This is at odds with what SEAT did with the new Cupra Leon plug-in which can only be distinguished from the regular 2.0-liter car by the charge port on the front left fender.

This trio of performance-minded Golfs will make their official debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show if it doesn’t end up being cancelled as per the coronavirus outbreak. It’s also worth noting that VW says all three variants are near-production concepts, so they are still subject to change before they go on sale.

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