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Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Hybrid Concept Plugs Into Fast Future

Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Hybrid Concept Plugs Into Fast Future

By Philly Murtha, November 21, 2015

Volkswagen this week showed off its future product direction at the Los Angeles Auto Show by presenting the Golf GTE Sport concept plug-in hybrid compact car. The VW concept is powered by a robust plug-in hybrid system that generates 395 horsepower but still provides hybrid fuel economy—averaging 118 mpg (in the NEDC cycle*). The concept can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds and has a top track speed of 174 mph, VW states.

The German automaker says the concept is a bridge between road and race car. The powertrain combines two electric motors, a turbocharged gasoline engine, and an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system for peak performance and efficiency. Additionally, the GTE Sport is constructed of carbon fiber to reduce weight.

Exterior design is edgy and futuristic, although still recognizably a Golf. VW compares the concept design to an hourglass shape and says the silhouette features a unique two-level design that allows air flow to contribute to aerodynamic downforce. Painted a pearlescent White Club, the car stands out with gullwing-like doors that swing forward and a low hood profile, plus a rear spoiler and oversized 20-in. alloy wheels.

The concept’s interior also uses carbon fiber and microfiber materials for racing bucket seats with 5-point safety belts, and the steering column is positioned like a race car with paddle shifters. The instrument panel features three displays arranged behind one another. The closest display shows gears and battery status, while the center display shows power and electric boost. The third display updates speed and driving range.

Notably, the turbocharged, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, adapted from a World Rally racing champion Polo R WRC, produces 295 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. Two assisting electric motors, powered by a Lithium-ion battery, in the front and back of the car add 113 horsepower to the power equation. Mated with a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission, the plug-in hybrid mainly operates as an electric vehicle, but in sporty “GTE mode,” all three motors kick in, providing that ultra-fast acceleration time and top speed.

Year to date, VW Golf sales in the United States were 55,483 units, more than double sales of 25,277 units a year ago, according to data collected by J.D. Power and auto forecasting partner LMC Automotive.

*The New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) assesses fuel economy and emissions in Europe.

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