Volkswagen Golf GTE, electric passion

Golf has been the undisputed king of the compact car segment for over forty years hatchback of the market. No one, absolutely no one, has been able to discuss European hegemony in the Gulf. Without going any further, it was the best-selling car in Europe in 2021, and is the only conventional car that resists the push of SUVs, destined to monopolize the market in the not too distant future. And among all the models, generations and finishes of the Golf, there are some magical acronyms that have made a fortune, GTI, which for years have characterized the passionate and sporty models of the Golf. Yes, Golf also has more powerful versions called Golf R, but the acronym GTI is a legend. From the previous generation, Volkswagen decided to add a plug-in hybrid hybrid version to its legendary GTI, which was named the Golf GTE and we were able to test it four years ago.

A discreet aesthetic, an exuberant mechanics

At first glance it is difficult to differentiate the GTE versions of the Golf from the other GTI versions, with which it shares platform and tuning. In fact, the sporty, plug-in hybrid version of the Golf can only be differentiated by the blue details and the moldings and inserts with the GTE logo. Another characteristic element of this GTE is the fact of hiding the conventional exhaust pipes by a diffuser with plastic embellishments, or the led optical groups that can illuminate the lower part of the radiator, providing a more technological image and modern. To all this must be added 17-inch standard wheels (our test unit has optional 18-inch wheels) and red-painted brake calipers, such as the GTI of a lifetime.

The interior of the Golf GTE does not differ much from the other models in the range, beyond some of its own and specific graphics in the digital instrument panel or digital cockpit for this plug-in hybrid version, and some details like the specific blue pedals and moldings. Our test unit has some interesting extras like the sunroof and sporty style seats bucket, which give it an extra sportiness and design. It also highlights the ambient light or configurable interior lighting with up to 30 different colors and combinations to choose from, or the hed-up display which projects important information on the windshield, so we don’t have to look too far.

The interior space and the habitability of the vehicle are correct, but they do not become, by far, the best in the segment. In fact, its trunk goes from the capacity of 381 liters of combustion engine versions to only 272 liters in this version, while the rear seats continue to offer good space for two adult occupants and a central rear seat that is not designed to offer comfort on long trips.

The eighth generation of the Golf has brought as a great novelty the fact that for the first time in the history of the Volkswagen compact there are two plug-in hybrid versions in its range, another sign that times have changed. The new Golf has a basic version called e-Hybrid of 204 hp and the GTE version of 245 hp that we have been able to test. While they are actually the same car built on the group’s new MQB platform (which also uses the Cupra León, a twin model of this Golf GTE) and the same 13 kWh capacity battery pack, the GTE has a range of 63 kilometers in electric mode, a figure slightly lower than the 71 kilometers promised by the e-Hybrid version. This difference in autonomy is explained by the weight and especially by the more forceful features of the GTE version, more oriented to a more passionate and dynamic driving.

The Golf GTE (and the lower version e-Hybrid) uses the same mechanical configuration, consisting of incorporating a 150 hp 1.4 TSI petrol engine with a 190 hp electric motor managed by a dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission and six ratios and a front-wheel drive system. An iconic configuration, which has already become a hallmark of the GTI – and also GTE – models of the Golf.

Detail of the hybrid mechanics of the Golf GTE

As a good plug-in hybrid vehicle or PHEV with zero emissions label, the Golf GTE has two driving modes called E-Mode and Hybrid. The E-Mode system makes the car run in all-electric mode, especially if it has enough battery charge. In fact, this electric mode is predefined as the main one when we start the vehicle and start running. But if we want to safeguard the battery charge or there is simply little electricity stored, the Golf GTE automatically selects the Hybrid mode, although the driver can also select it manually whenever you want at the push of a button. We can also configure this Hybrid mode to our liking depending on whether we prefer to save and save the battery charge, increase it thanks to the contribution of the thermal engine and the kinetic energy of the car or reduce it by prioritizing the contribution of electrical energy. In addition, the Hybrid mode is also connected to the vehicle’s browser, which allows the same system to analyze the topography of the road or the existence of school, sanitary or low-emission areas in general to activate the all-electric mode or prioritize the work of the combustion engine.

The 13 kWh lithium batteries weigh 135 kilos and are integrated under the trunk and rear seats of the car. This extra weight is offset by the fact that it provides up to 60 kilometers of range in electric mode, a milestone that significantly improves the range of the Golf GTE of the previous generation. These lithium batteries can be fully charged in about six hours on a home outlet or in just over three and a half hours on a 3.6 kW power charging point.

A true environmental athlete

Volkswagen’s big challenge with this new generation of Golf GTE is to create a car that really lives up to the legendary Golf GTI of previous generations, which have become dynamic but also cultural benchmarks in the automotive world. After a week of testing behind the wheel of this new Golf GTE, I can assure you that the work of Volkswagen has been very good and that this Golf GTE has little to envy of other iconic models of the brand, beyond of the most attenuated and discreet sound of this ecological variant.

Golf GTE

The Golf GTE guarantees first-class agility and dynamism thanks to the good workmanship in tuning the vehicle, with McPherson struts on the front axle, a front stabilizer bar and a multi-arm rear axle, which improve cornering and the reaction of the car steering. In addition, for the first time Volkswagen has introduced a system that allows regulated shock absorbers to control the stability system, to allow more dynamism and increase the electronic permissiveness of the traction system without compromising the stability of the car. In this sense, it should also be noted that our test unit had the DCC system with regulation of the stiffness of the suspensions, an optional element that increases the versatility and dynamic efficiency of the vehicle. At the time of the truth, all this means a considerable improvement when driving on winding roads or stretches of conventional road at an agile pace, and increases confidence at the wheel in benefiting the safety and traction of the vehicle.

But if you are looking for pure performance, you should know that the Golf GTE is not as fast as a Golf GTI nor does it have the sportier feel that the Cupra León PHEV does, for example. The Golf GTE accelerates from 0 to 100 in 6.7 seconds – which is a very good record – and reaches a limited top speed of 225 km / h, but it is true that it does not become radical or sporty. The Golf GTE is a fast, efficient and powerful tourism, but it does not want to be in any case a real alternative to the aforementioned Golf GTI or even the Cupra León, because its commercial approach and target audience are slightly different.

Detail of rims, ventilated brake discs and red calipers

But once behind the wheel, the Golf GTE becomes more than enough for 99% of drivers looking for an agile and efficient vehicle. Its acceleration, we said, is more than satisfactory, the cornering is fast and the car maintains traction at all times. And despite being a front-wheel drive car, it shows no signs of understeer. Maybe there’s a point that just doesn’t weigh on me, and it’s the sound of the vehicle. It doesn’t sound like much, and Volkswagen has decided to create an artificial sound inside the cabin, when we eagerly accelerate and select the sporty or normal mode, which wants to fill the car’s sound gap. Honestly, I don’t think this canned artificial sound would be necessary, because it doesn’t make much sense or is consistent with the rest of the overall approach of the car, which I did find much better integrated.

Detail of the GTE Golf instrument panel

Everything in this life is finite, and when the autonomy and charging of the batteries is over, the Golf GTE makes use of the combustion engine, and at this time the fuel consumption increases to around 7.5 liters per 100 kilometers in real conditions of mixed circulation. A reality that should be taken into account if we want to travel by car on the highway and highway to destinations more than 50 kilometers away. On the other hand, in urban cycles, and with the battery fully charged, it is possible to homologate fuel consumption of just over a liter and about 12 or 13 kWh with the ecological mode activated and going with special care during the driving. So I think it’s an ideal car for drivers who drive daily in urban environments on journeys of 10, 20 or even 30 kilometers and who have a place to charge the batteries taking advantage of the valley hours or cheaper rates. . On the other hand, its greater weight, which affects pure consumption and performance, makes it less suitable if we want to cover many kilometers on the motorway and motorway.

The Golf GTE is a fairly round product, with no structural elements to improve, but with some details that do not quite fit me in a vehicle that costs 43,410 euros (promotional discounts and public aid aside). First of all, I think a car of this level should incorporate an automatic electronic trunk lock, as well as electronic adjustments to the passenger seat. I also don’t quite fit the manual system to open and close the roof solar filter, or the volume and interaction of the automatic parking system, a bit outrageous and unrealistic. In the safety section, we should also rethink the Lane Assist system, an aid that allows us to stay in the lane but not completely infallible: without going any further, it showed me resistance to change lanes when I detected the presence of a cyclist on the road after a sharp bend. Yes, Lane Assist and the Front Assist system help with driving and improve safety in 99% of cases, but there are still actions and situations in which its operation is a bit improveable.

Conclusion

The magic of the Golf GTE is that without being as sporty as the legendary GTI, its performance is quite similar, and even more, the Golf GTE can benefit from the privileges and aids of zero-emission labeled vehicles. This is the great argument of this new generation of the Golf GTE, a compact, sustainable and ecological performance device especially suitable for drivers in urban environments.

Volkswagen Golf GTE

  • Price 43.410 euros
  • Combustible Gasoline and electricity
  • Eco-label 0 (zero emissions)
  • Motor 1.5 TSI 150 hp petrol and 80 kW (109 hp) electric motor
  • Power 245 hp and 400 Nm of torque
  • Traction Front
  • Mides i pes 4287mm long / 1789 wide / 1484 high. 1624 kilos
  • Final note 8,5/10

Source: Ara.cat – Portada by motor.ara.cat.

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