Plug-in hybrid GTE electrifies Volkswagen Golf GTI formula

Volkswagen Golf GTI

THE Volkswagen Golf GTI is the definitive hot hatch all-rounder - but its plug-in hybrid sidekick, the GTE, might be even more compelling in today's eco-friendly market, writes William Scholes.

To the GTI first. Prices start at £33,460 for the new eighth generation model with a six-speed manual gearbox. Drivers wanting the seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission will have to spend £34,960.

Though neither the quickest nor most powerful of the current family hot hatches, the GTI remains arguably the most desirable.

The 242bhp and 273lb ft produced by its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine are plenty enough, as is a 0-62mph time of 6.2 seconds and a top speed limited to 155mph.

It ought to be lovely to drive, too, while its understated sports styling adds to the appeal of a car that likes to stay classy when other rivals are shouty.

But if you hanker for a Golf that balances some electric car efficiency with GTI-style performance, the Golf you want is the plug-in hybrid GTE model.

It has the same 242bhp total power as the GTI, though with 295lb ft it's a little torquier. It arrives at those figures in a completely different way, however.

The drivetrain pairs a 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol turbo engine with a 109bhp electric motor. A 13kWh battery pack means the GTE can travel for up to 32 miles on electric power alone.

Top speed is 140mph, 0-62mph takes 6.7 seconds and fuel consumption can theoretically be as good as 176.6mpg on the combined cycle.

The car's CO2 emissions of 36g/km will make it as big a hit as its predecessor with benefit in kind-sensitive company users.

Where the GTI gets trademark red trim accents, the GTE's colour is blue. It's priced from £35,960.

In more prosaic Golf news, a new 1.0-litre mild-hybrid has been added to the engine range. One of those in Life trim costs from £25,190

Volkswagen Golf GTE

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