What is the Volkswagen GTE?

Volkswagen is pushing hard when it comes to electrification.

We’ve already seen its ID brand swell with the reveal of the ID.3 and ID.4, while more look set to join the market shortly. But the firm hasn’t forgotten the merit of hybrids, either, which is why it has revived its plug-in hybrid GTE for the latest eight-generation Golf.

It’s designed to offer some of the thrills of the GTI but with lower running costs and rock-bottom emissions. We’ve been finding out what it’s like.

rear view of golf gte driving on a road

What’s new?

The bulk of the changes here reside around the powertrain, which combines petrol and electric power - but more on that later. Because the GTE sits on the latest eight-generation Golf platform it’s got more technology on-board than before, with a screen-heavy interior helping to ensure this car feels as up-to-date as possible.

What’s under the bonnet?

Underneath the bonnet of the GTE sits a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine which is then paired with a 109bhp electric motor for a combined output of 242bhp and 400Nm of torque. Volkswagen has increased the size of the battery on board too, bumping it from 8.7kW in the older GTE to 13kWh, which helps it to deliver an electric-only range of 40 miles. A full charge will take around three hours and 40 minutes via a 3.6kW charger, too.

When it comes to performance, the GTE will crack 0-60mph in 6.4 seconds, yet emits just 26g/km CO2 and will return a claimed 246.1mpg combined.

What’s it like to drive?

Push off and the GTE makes progress in a typically silent fashion as you’d expect from a plug-in hybrid. Given the decent electric range it’ll keep going on plug-in power alone for quite some time which means that for most trips you’re unlikely to disturb the engine. Request more performance, however, and the engine will chirp in to give the electric motor some assistance.

Once that range is depleted you’re left with the 1.4-litre engine on its own and it does an admirable job of keeping things interesting. That said, through an efficient regenerative braking system, it’s not hard to top the batteries back up with a small amount of charge.

How does it look?

Volkswagen has tied its GTI, GTD and GTE models tightly together in terms of design. They all feature the same ultra-sharp headlights, slim tail lights and full-width LED light bar on the nose. It’s a classy design, that’s for sure, and is a great evolution on the classic Golf look.

The GTE is only separated by the use of electric blue highlights for areas such as the badging and this does help to differentiate this hybrid model from the rest of the line-up.

What’s it like inside?

Given the number of screens and the distinct lack of buttons, it can take a little while to get accustomed to the GTE’s cabin. However, once you’re up to speed it’s a pleasant and well-made place to be, with plenty of high-quality materials used on all of the surfaces you interact with.

There’s just one downside to that hybrid powertrain; the fitment of the batteries means that the GTE’s boot shrinks to 273 litres from the regular GTI’s 360.

volkswagen golf gte interior

What’s the spec like?

As you’d expect from a tip-top hybrid the GTE boasts plenty of standard equipment. There’s that 10-inch central infotainment system which houses satellite navigation and media functions, as well as both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is then complemented by a secondary screen ahead of the driver which can be configured to show all manner of readouts.

The level of on-board tech is seriously impressive, while the clean button-free layout does make the cabin a relaxing place to be.


Whereas the Golf GTI is all about delivering thrills as well as practicality, the GTE takes a slightly more sensible approach. It can’t quite deliver the same experience as its solely petrol-powered relation, but it gets close - while the gains in efficiency will be too great for many to ignore.

For those who want a company car that’ll add a little extra fun to a journey without causing payments to skyrocket, the GTE could prove incredibly attractive.

Explore the Volkswagen Golf range



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