The Golf GTE plug-in hybrid made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2014, and combines the benefits of electric mobility with the dynamics of a Golf GTI. Its name reflects its position in the line-up alongside the iconic petrol-powered GTI and the diesel GTD. Where ‘GT’ stands for ‘Gran Tourismo’, ‘I’ stands for ‘Injection’, ‘D’ for Diesel and ‘E’ for Electricity. 

Visually, the GTE combines elements of the look of the (fully electric) e-Golf and the GTI. The front bumper features C-shaped LED daytime running lights, like those on the e-Golf, as well as aerodynamic horizontal ‘fins’, like those on the GTI. Where the GTI features red, the GTE has blue accents, including across the radiator grille and into the headlights.

It might be eco-minded, but you can certainly still have fun behind the wheel of the Golf GTE, thanks to communicative steering, responsive brakes and throttle and a sharp turn-in. It’s driven by two engines: a 1.4-litre 150 PS TSI direct-injection petrol engine and a 102 PS electric motor. Together, they combine to produce power of 204 PS and a theoretical range of around 580 miles. Using the electric motor alone, the GTE is capable of speeds of 81 mph. In Hybrid Auto mode, which utilises full electric and petrol power, the Golf GTE offers hot-hatch performance, sprinting from zero to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and on to 138 mph. Torque is a considerable 350 Nm (258 lbs ft). Alongside this strong performance, the Golf GTE offers impressive fuel efficiency, with a combined cycle figure of 166 mpg and CO2 emissions of 39 g/km.

In pure electric mode (activated at the press of a button), the Golf GTE can travel up to 31 miles, depending on conditions, and the electric power can also be saved – for example when driving to a zero-emissions zone. The 8.7 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged in three hours 45 minutes from a domestic mains outlet, or two hours 15 minutes from a domestic wallbox. The battery weighs 120 kg, giving the GTE a total kerbweight of 1,599 kg. 

The Golf GTE uses a six-speed DSG gearbox with a triple-clutch system specially developed for hybrid vehicles. The electric motor is integrated into the gearbox housing, while further hybrid components include power electronics and a charger.

The GTE also features an e-manager which allows the driver to preset vehicle charging, as well as interior cooling or heating. These functions can also be operated remotely using the Volkswagen Car-Net e-remote app on a smartphone.

Aside from the instrumentation relating to the hybrid system, all other switchgear and cabin design is virtually identical to a Golf GTD; but instead of red, all stitching on interior trim, seats and steering wheel is blue, as is the tartan pattern adorning the sports seats.

Equipment levels are generous. There’s a 5.8-inch Discover Media satellite navigation system with DAB radio and Bluetooth is standard, and includes bespoke functions for electric vehicles, including the ability to identify potential destinations on electric range, and electric charging points. 

As with all Golf models, there’s plenty of cabin space – even for taller occupants, although inevitably the battery pack eats slightly into boot space, which reduces in size from 380 litres to 272 litres.


The Golf GTE provides all the desirable qualities of a conventionally powered high performance Golf model, but with the lower emissions and running costs of a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Tech spec:

Engines 1.4-litre petrol and electric motor
Price £28,000 (est) after £5000 Govt grant
Power 204 PS (combined)
Torque 350 Nm
0-62mph 7.6 seconds
Top speed 138mph
Maximum electric-only range 31 miles
CO2 35g/km
Insurance Group: 26E