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

New Volkswagen Golf teased for first time, with mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants promised

The eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf has been teased officially for the first time, as the company prepares to launch the new version of its popular hatchback with mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains.

An exterior sketch (above) shows that the new Golf will be wider than before, with a longer wheelbase giving more space to passengers.

The nose of the car is longer, while a thinner headlight design appears to stretch across the width of the bumper. The grille sits lower than before, giving the hatch a more aggressive look than the previous model.

Meanwhile, the interior has been completely overhauled: The instrument cluster and infotainment screen are combined in a single deck within the dashboard, with a selector for the car’s driving modes located on the centre console.

Touch-sensitive surfaces can be found both behind and on the steering wheel, with only a handful of physical buttons situated between the vents. Karlheinz Hell, Volkswagen’s small-car boss, says the new Golf “will always be online”, pointing towards a suite of new technology systems.

Hell has also confirmed that “extended autonomous driving functions” will feature, with an enhanced suspension system giving the hatch added agility on the move. The new Golf will be revealed in full on 24 October, with sales set to begin in December.

Hybrid Golf

The original Volkswagen Golf GTE has long since been discontinued, but the plug-in hybrid hatchback will return as part of the new Mk8 Golf range. The new GTE will be the most efficient Golf in the range when it goes on sale in early 2020, as there won’t be a successor to the all-electric e-Golf.

That will effectively be replaced by the Volkswagen I.D. hatchback, which will spearhead a full range of I.D. electric cars. But although Volkswagen is pouring huge resources into its electric-car project, it still expects the Golf to be its core product for some years to come. The Mk8 model will be based on the same mechanical underpinnings as the current 'Mk7.5' version, but will shed 70kg of weight thanks to revisions made to its MQB platform.

In addition to the plug-in hybrid GTE model, the Mk8 Golf range will boast extensive electrification, with many of the other engines in the range getting mild hybrid technology. This is a 48-volt electrical system that allows the engine to turn off at any speed when not under load, thereby saving fuel and reducing the car’s CO2 emissions.

Karlheinz Hell had said: "The next Golf will take Volkswagen into the era of fully connected vehicles with extended autonomous driving functions. It will have more software on board than ever before. It will always be online and its digital cockpit and assistance systems will be the benchmark in terms of connectivity and safety."

Volkswagen has already revealed a second-generation Passat GTE and at the recent Geneva Motor Show confirmed that the next generation of its up! city car would be electric-only.

It's not yet known if the new Golf GTE will arrive as soon as the standard petrol and diesel variants go on sale, or if it’ll follow some months after.