Volkswagen looks set to leap into the realm of performance hybrids with strong hints from within the local organisation that the brand’s performance range could expand to include electrification sooner rather than later.
Speaking at the launch of the updated Golf 7.5 GTI and Golf R this week, Volkswagen Australia general manager of marketing Ben Wilks suggested that there is more to come for the Golf’s performance family.
“Performance vehicles define our brand and they continue to evolve,” Wilks said.
“It can be that electricity is used for more than just spark plugs in the future in our performance models.
“Keeping to the traditional side, I think we all love the sound of a vehicle like this maybe sometime next year.”
In its European specification the Volkswagen Golf GTE generates a combined 150kW of power and 350Nm of torque, putting it close to the regular Golf GTI’s 169kW of power and matching its 350Nm of torque.
Power from the Golf GTE is generated by a 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine paired with a 40kW/100Nm electric motor that drives the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Although the performance hybrid system is both slower and heavier than the GTI, Volkswagen claims an official fuel consumption figure of just 1.5 l/100km compared with the 6.6 l/100km official consumption of the regular GTI.
The Golf GTE is able to achieve that kind of consumption thanks to a plug-in battery pack that offers up to 50 kilometres of electric-only range.
Pressed further on the topic, Wilks says there is “certainly” potential in a green performance Golf.
“I think the opportunity with GTE is about having something that’s a little bit different in the hybrid space - it’s a hybrid that you will really want to drive,” he said.
“This is something that we reckon could definitely fit. In a market that is so performance-oriented a performance oriented plug-in hybrid could fit very well.”
Despite Wilks’ comments, Volkswagen has not yet officially locked-in the Golf GTE for Australia, saying the car’s price, timing and position in the range would need to be spot on.
Previously the company has suggested that the GTE could occupy a similar position as the Golf R, suggesting a price of just over $50,000 in Australia.