Automotive Purchasing Weekly 23 November 2015 - page 25

GolfGTESportConcept takes theplug-inhybrid toawholenew level
18November 2015 | VehicleLaunch/Concepts
Volkswagen of America will show the
Golf GTE Sport concept for the first time
in North America at the Los Angeles
International Auto Show. The concept car
is a pure-bred sports car capable of zero-
emission driving.
The 1.6-litre TSI engine is adapted from
the two-time World Rally Championship
winning Polo R WRC and delivers 295
horsepower and maximum torque of 295
pound-feet. The four-cylinder engine is
assisted by two electric motors, one in the
front of the car and one in the rear. The
front motor develops 113 horsepower and
maximum torque of 243 lb-ft, while the rear
motor has the same power output and 199
lb-ft of torque: the total system torque is
494 lb-ft. Wherever possible, the concept
car operates as an electric vehicle. In sporty
‘GTE mode’ all three motors work together,
giving the all-wheel-drive Golf GTE Sport a
zero to 62 mph time of 4.3 seconds and a
top speed of 174 mph. In the NEDC cycle
for plug-in hybrid vehicles, the GTE Sport’s
fuel economy is an impressive 118 mpg.
The design of the Golf GTE Sport
illustrates how Golf GT models could
develop in future. The car’s striking
silhouette features C-pillars with a unique
two-level design. This C-pillar treatment is
not only dynamic froma design standpoint—
with the vehicle taking an hourglass shape
from front to back—but also functional,
as the airstream flows between the two
levels and contributes to the aerodynamic
downforce and cooling for the rear brakes.
The body of the Golf GTE Sport is largely
made of lightweight carbonfibre, following
the high-tech example set by other VW
Group vehicles like the VW XL1 and the
Bugatti Veyron 16.4. The concept car is
painted in pearlescent ‘White Club’ and has
two gullwing doors that swing forwards.
The upper part of each door extends
into the roof and is entirely made of dark
exposed carbonfibre. A three-dimensional
side sill is integrated in the door cutout and
also enhanced at the top with carbonfibre.
Other elements receiving the carbonfibre
treatment are the door mirror caps, the
door window frames and the lower sill area.
The wheelarches are filled with 20-inch
aluminum-alloy wheels fitted with 235/35
tyres at the front and 275/30 tyres at the
At the front of the car, there’s a blue
crossbar running across the width of the
vehicle, a cue that is borrowed from the
production Golf GTE. Three black chrome
crossbars extend across the center air
intake under this blue strip. Another air
intake below the crossbars is framed at
the top and to the sides by a carbonfibre
aerodynamic element, while a carbonfibre
double spoiler rounds off the front. The
high-gloss black grille has the honeycomb
structure typical of VW GT models and
C-shaped LED daytime running lights frame
the grille at the sides, transitioning into
sharp LED headlights.
At the rear, the double C-pillars give
the Golf GTE Sport a wide and powerful
stance, tapering at an angle to the rear
and merging with the bumper. The tailgate
is typically Golf with the added detail of a
black carbonfibre spoiler. A large exposed
diffuser integrates round stainless-steel
tips for the twin-pipe exhaust system.
The interior, clad in carbonfibre and
microfibre, consists of two completely
separate areas for the driver and passenger.
Racing bucket seats with five-point belts
are positioned to the rear of the car and
the steering column projects further into
the interior, like a race car. The motorsport
steering wheel includes paddle shifters for
the transmission.
On the dash, three transparent
instrument displays are arranged behind
one another. The display closest to the
driver is the smallest and shows the
selected gear and the battery status,
while the center display shows the power
delivered by the drivetrain and the electric
boost of the plug-in system. The third
display is the largest and has the speed
and driving range constantly in the driver’s
field of vision. In ‘GTE mode’ the current lap
is displayed, as well as a virtual indicator of
the ideal driving line—valuable assistance
for safe and fast driving on racetracks.
The operating mode switch for selecting
‘E-Mode,’ ‘GTE-Mode’ or ‘Hybrid-Mode’
is situated in the roof, like in a jet plane.
The multifunction switch for starting
and stopping the hybrid drive system
and controlling the six-speed DSG dual-
clutch automatic transmission is ideally
positioned to the right of the driver for
easy access. There is a control panel next
to it for further vehicle functions including
a button for activating a fire extinguisher
system. The passenger side of the vehicle
features a display to show current speed,
gear and the engine speed in ‘Info Mode’
and acceleration and g-force figures in
‘Data Mode.’
Drive Modes
In normal operation the Golf GTE Sport
drives just as quietly as the production Golf
GTE. In ‘E-Mode’ the concept car solely
uses the battery to drive emission-free for
up to 31 miles on a single charge. When the
minimum battery charge is reached, the
1.6 TSI engine is automatically switched on
and the Golf GTE Sport drives in ‘Hybrid’
mode. As soon as the battery reaches a
certain charge level again, ‘E-Mode’ can
be reactivated at any time via a switch in
the overhead console. In ‘E-Mode,’ the
rear electric motor is primarily responsible
for powering the vehicle—when high
performance is demanded, the front motor
is activated to provide more power.
As soon as the drive system or the
driver deactivates ‘E-Mode,’ the Golf GTE
Sport becomes a classic full hybrid with
regenerative braking to charge the battery.
When the driver releases the accelerator
pedal, and the battery is sufficiently
charged, all drive sources are shut off. If
the driver releases the accelerator pedal
or brakes, and the battery is insufficiently
charged, the two electric motors operate
as generators and charge the lithium-ion
battery with the energy recovered from
braking. The battery’s energy content can
be deliberately kept constant by the driver
in ‘Battery Hold’ mode or increased with
‘Battery Charge’ mode. When the 1.6-litre
TSI engine is the sole source of propulsion,
the GTE Sport is a pure front-wheel drive
When the driver activates the ‘GTE’
switch, the character of the Golf GTE
Sport’s drivetrain changes drastically. The
full system power of 395 horsepower is
available—the turbocharged 295-hp gas
engine is combined with the electric drive
components. The Golf GTE Sport sprints
from rest to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds.
If necessary, the system’s power can
be distributed to all four wheels thanks
to the rear electric motor and an ‘electric
propshaft.’ In ‘GTE-Mode’ and as soon
as the situation necessitates it, the drive
power of the Golf GTE Sport is distributed
to both axles. In this case (and if battery
charge is low), the front electric motor—
which is now being supplied with kinetic
energy via the gasoline engine—acts solely
as a generator and a source of electricity
for its counterpart at the rear axle. Since the
energy for driving the rear wheels flows by
wire and not mechanically, this is referred
to as an “electric propshaft.” Because the
TSI engine drives the rear electric motor
via the front electric motor, the all-wheel
drive system also operates when the
battery’s charge state is low—an invaluable
advantage in terms of driving dynamics.
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