It’s plug and play with Volkswagen's new hybrid GTE

The new Volkswagen Golf GTE hybrid is brilliant but expensive
The new Volkswagen Golf GTE hybrid is brilliant but expensive

Volkswagen Golf GTE

Some serious petrol heads would tell you that putting an electric motor in a Volkswagen Golf GTI is blasphemous.

The Golf GTI has been long considered one of the best hot-hatches ever made by its legion of followers since it first rolled off the production lines in 1976.

Celebrating its 40th birthday this year, the GTI has always been put on a pedestal for its sheer petrol performance and road-handling ability.

But with times changing and companies moving toward meaner, greener engines, Volkswagen decided it was time to roll out an economic version of its iconic performance car.

Step forward the Golf GTE. 

Based on technologies from both the fully-electric Golf, and its full-blooded petrol GTI siblings, the new hybrid GTE has the best of both worlds. 

Somewhat similar to its Audi A3 e-tron cousin, the GTE comes with a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine matted to a 75bhp battery-pack to produce a greener 204bhp.

On the outside, the GTE looks no different to its sister GTI apart from the red bits and trims being replaced with a light blue colour.

The plug-in port is neatly disguised behind the over-sized VW logo on the front grille, and those with an untrained eye would hardly notice the difference.

The inside too, is almost identical to the cabin of the GTI again, with just the blue hues replacing the racing reds on the tartan seats.

On the road, the GTE can be both the tortoise and the hare. From start-up, you can potter around the city streets in full-electric mode up to a range of 50 kilometres at speeds of up to 130kph.

You can choose between normal drive-mode on the six-speed DSG gearbox or flick it down in to B drive mode if you are stuck in traffic to regain battery energy when you lift off the accelerator.

There are five driving modes – E-mode, Battery Save, Hybrid Auto, Battery Charge and GTE – with Hybrid offering the best balance for daily use.

Like the amazing BMW i8, if you want the best performance just switch over the button in to GTE mode and let both the electric motor and petrol engine work together – the results are phenomenal.

The Golf GTE can be fully charged from a normal three-pin socket in under four hours, while a wall-box charger will have you up to full range in just two-and-a-half hours.

Overall, the Volkswagen Golf GTE is an extremely clever car. If you want the performance of a GTI 
albeit with a cleaner environment and much lower running costs, then this is the one to go for.

However, the €38,495 starting price might turn some potential customers off what is undoubtedly an extremely clever car.

Model: Volkswagen Golf GTE
Price: From €38,495 (€40,012 test car)     
Road tax: Band A1(€170 per year)   
0-100kph: 7.6 seconds
Max speed: 222kph 
Fuel economy: 1.5l/100km 
Boot space: 380/1,270 litres