New 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTE: specs and on-sale date

Plug-in hybrid version of Volkswagen Golf returns in Mk8 guise, as other models in line-up get mild-hybrid technology

Volkswagen Golf GTE mk8 reveal pic

The new eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf has been revealed in full, with the plug-in hybrid GTE model returning to the line-up alongside mild-hybrid variants of the popular hatchback.

The Golf GTE will be the most powerful version on sale, with a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine combining with an electric motor to produce 242bhp.

A 13kWh battery offers up to 43 miles of zero-emissions range, with speeds as high as 87mph achievable without assistance from the engine. The cells are almost twice as energy -dense as before, meaning the 135kg unit is only slightly larger in size than that in the old, discontinued Golf GTE.

Performance and fuel-economy figures are yet to be confirmed. Volkswagen will also make a second, less powerful Mk8 Golf PHEV, however this will not be sold in the UK.

New Golf hybrid

Meanwhile, mild-hybrid technology – which uses a small battery and electric motor to assist an internal-combustion engine – has been introduced elsewhere in the Golf range.

This is available on both versions of the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine (producing 128 and 148bhp respectively), plus on the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder variant that's capable of 109bhp. According to Volkswagen, the 48-volt technology should account for 16bhp and make acceleration smoother while improving fuel economy.

All mild-hybrid versions of the Golf will feature a seven-speed automatic gearbox, with no manual compatible. A pair of 2.0-litre diesel variants will also be sold, and these will gain mild-hybrid technology in due course. The same goes for the ‘hot’ GTI and R models which will be launched at a later date.

The new Volkswagen Golf will go on sale in February 2020, with the first customer deliveries scheduled for April. Prices have not yet been announced.

Design

On the outside, Volkswagen has chosen not to meddle with its formula, with only subtle changes made to the exterior design.

Based on the same MQB platform as the outgoing vehicle, the dimensions are almost exactly the same, however a number of changes are visible: the nose is lower, the grille is slimmer, and narrower headlights – now featuring LED technology as standard – have winged edges that flow into the sides.

SEL-trim cars get a trio of fins spanning the width of the air intake, while R-Line versions of the Golf come with a more open front vent with R badges.

The distinctive C-pillar – a recurring feature on the Golf since the arrival of the Mk4 – remains, while the sharper tail-lights are joined by Volkswagen's new logo and Golf lettering on the tailgate.

Interior and technology

Inside is a different story: the interior has been completely overhauled, with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and 10-inch infotainment screen housed in a single deck within the dashboard.

Volkswagen has gone for a minimalist look by eradicating almost all traces of physical buttons and switches: only the hazard warning light button remains on the dashboard, plus there are a handful on the steering wheel and mirror adjustment controls on the doors.

Instead, the vast majority of the Golf’s functions are controlled by touch-sensitive surfaces: the temperature is adjusted by sliding a finger along the base of the infotainment screen, while the sunroof is also operated by the sweep of a finger.

The infotainment system is fully customisable, allowing drivers to place menus and shortcuts in their preferred positions. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity is standard, and these can be operated wirelessly.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen has also upped its technology game: semi-autonomous driving is available, with the Golf capable of accelerating, steering and braking itself on motorways at speeds of up to 130mph.

Previously, Volkswagen’s small-car boss Karlheinz Hell said the new Golf would “always be online”, and to that end VW is offering its new Car2X system: this broadcasts information from the Golf in real time, and can warn other vehicles of approaching emergency vehicles as well as oncoming hazards.