A jack-of-all-trades, or the name given by VW, 'a zero-emission-vehicle, sports-car and long distance traveller all at the same time'. Well, what is it then? We'll go from the sports-car- to the hybrid qualities and only mention the price at the end.
There is an 8,4-kWh accumulator on board, which will, if the demands are not too high (gas-pedal, air-conditioner and the outside temperature), allow you 50 kilometres of purely electric power. The GTE is a plug-in vehicle, which makes it possible to charge the battery from a household outlet-plug in just under four hours.
The right powerful electric motor which produces 250 Nm, is combined with a petrol driven turbo-charged engine, which in certain RPM-ranges, would be able, at least in theory, to add another 330 Nm. They have however, governed the maximum torque to that of the Golf GTI.
With which we come to the sporting genes taken over from the GTI. Also in the overall performance it has a deficit of 12 kW (16HP), which reduces the top-speed by a good 20 km/h. The GTE's acceleration from a standing start is distinctly quicker, indeed, it only reaches a speed of 100 km/h one second later than the GTI, actually only a small difference for a car which is 250 kg heavier.
Why is all this even worth mentioning? Because the letter-combinations are so similar and VW is taking a lot of trouble to bring the two cars as close as possible to each other. They both have, e.g., the legendary plaid-like patterning of the seats and the colour-accenting in the grill, the GTE has been given blue instead of red. As a matter of interest, the suspension layout even profits a little because the centre of gravity is shifted to the rear.
It's rather a pity, but at some point the price has to be mentioned. And this exceeds that of the GTI by about € 5.000. Wouldn't it perhaps be better then, to buy the original and enjoy the full use of the rear boot? One would have to do without the positive image, the relaxed driving in traffic jams and the secretive pleasure of having saved some money, which would be more frequent than simply when paying the price.
One can be certain, that VW earns less from the sale of the GTE than from the GTI. There are precautions to be taken with the engine, because e.g., it may be forced to deliver it's maximum performance in winter, when the engine is still very cold (please don't do this!). Another point is, the fuel tank is apparently more airtight than is usual, so that the low-volatile components in the fuel do not evaporate causing the fuel to undergo a chemical change over months of not being used.
Let's assume for the moment, that the GTI, over a longer distance and at the tiresome, constant speed of 100 km/h, would consume only 4,5 litres per 100 km. After all, it does have the larger engine, but it also weighs less. Looking at it from this point of view, where, despite it having several small disadvantages, is the incentive to lay out more money for the GTE?
Actually, it's quite simple: On a lovely summer day, you're visiting friends who live almost 50 km away, and have spent the rest of the very pleasant afternoon and evening chatting on their terrace. Then you, just as enjoyably, 'sail' off home again with the comforting feeling of having done something towards ensuring the future of electric-mobility. 09/14