Volkswagen isn’t shy when it comes to producing wild concept cars, and now it has unveiled a high-performance plug-in-hybrid hot-hatch concept dubbed the GTE Sport.

Many of the wild concept cars that VW has produced recently have actually been confirmed for production. Models like the 2015 Golf R400 and the 2015 GTI Clubsport are both set to hit the production line, but this hybrid hot-hatch is not going to see showrooms any time soon.

Instead, this concept car is more of a technological study that will also gauge buyer interest in performance hybrids outside of the supercar realm. If this tech ever does land in a VW AG model, it will likely start in a model that is higher up the food chain than the Golf. Something like the 2015 Volkswagen Sport Coupe Concept GTE seems more of a feasible model in the near term.

Despite its lack of production future, the GTE Sport is still an intriguing model that gives us a look at what VW is working on.

Updated 09/22/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Volkswagen GTE Sport concept car.

  • 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    6-speed DSG
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • Displacement:
    1.6 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.3 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    173 mph
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:


2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The design of the Golf GTE Sport clearly draws plenty of its inspiration from the existing Golf lineup, but VW pushed its looks and construction to a completely new level.

VW built the GTE Sport using primarily carbon fiber. This construction technique, which it borrows from the XL1, helps keep the curb weight in check while keeping the body rigid. Volkswagen didn’t get into specifics in terms of weight, but my guess is that the GTE Sport falls somewhere at or below 3,000 pounds.

To call this one of the most aggressively styled Golfs in history would be an understatement.

The GT Sport’s front end gives us a peek into the possible future for VW’s lineup. The changes from the standard GTE to the GTE Sport concept are pretty obvious, but there are a few subtle changes that VW highlights as well. These include the moving of the blue grille line to just below the hood, the three-bar grille in black, honeycomb air inlets, and a carbon-fiber front splitter.

VW also changed up the lighting, giving the GTE Sport massive C-shaped LED daytime running lights that frame the entire grille, and narrow LED headlights.

The profile of the GTE Sport is quite familiar, but it has its own styling cues that set it apart. These include visible carbon fiber roof on the roof, lower door section, side sills, window surrounds and mirror caps. The flared C-pillars and rear fenders add even more aggression to the hybrid hatch. The doors are also unique to the GTE Sport, as they open butterfly style, much like the XL1.

Around back are freshly designed taillights, a carbon-fiber roof-edge spoiler, visible carbon fiber on the top of the bumper, and a visible carbon-fiber rear diffuser with integrated tailpipes.

To call this one of the most aggressively styled Golfs in history would be an understatement. I can only hope that the GTE’s future design language pulls some cues from this concept.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4,127 MM (162.48 Inches)
Width 1,869 MM (73.58 Inches)
Height 1,235 MM (48.62 Inches)
Wheelbase 2,505 MM (98.62 Inches)


2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The GTE Sport concept’s cabin drops its family friendly nature and takes on a true sports-car personality with the elimination of the rear seats. It also inherits a unique setup that creates completely different pods, of sorts, for the driver and passenger. Each pod is slathered in carbon fiber and microfiber for reduced weight and an upscale look – even the door pulls and the seat belts are made from carbon-fiber weave. Racing seats with five-point harnesses hold both the driver and passenger in place.

While the exterior looks like something that could inspire a production car at some point, the interior is way too wild to ever make its way into production.

The driver’s pod features a futuristic steering wheel attached to a carbon-fiber-covered steering column. To the right of the driver are the main controls that operate the DSG transmission, the integrated fire extinguisher and the operating modes, which include E-Mode, GTE-Mode and Hybrid-Mode.

The gauges have three transparent displays behind each other. The frontmost display shows the selected gear and the energy recuperation status. The center display shows more in-depth info, like the amount of power heading to the drive and the electric boost. The final and largest display shows the more constantly monitored info, like speed and range.

While the exterior looks like something that could inspire a production car at some point, the interior is way too wild to ever make its way into production. However, technology, like the three-screen instrument panel, could make it into a production model.


2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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At the heart of the GTE is a modified version of the 1.6-liter TSI engine from the Polo R WRC rally car that produces 220 kW (295 horsepower) and 400 Nm (295 pound-feet of torque). The engine mates to a six-speed DSG transmission.

Chiming in to increase performance levels is a pair of electric motors, one up front and one in the rear. The front-mounted electric motor is inside the transmission housing, and it produces 85 kW (114 horsepower) and 330 Nm (243 pound-feet) of torque. The rear motor produces the same 85 kW (114 horsepower), but VW limits its torque to 270 Nm (199 pound-feet).

Chiming in to increase performance levels is a pair of electric motors, one up front and one in the rear.

The total power outlet varies, depending on which mode the GTE Sport is in. Full power is available only in GTE-Mode, which combines the TSI engine and the two electric motors to produce an incredible 395 horsepower and 670 Nm (494 pound-feet) of torque. This mode allows the GTE Sport to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.3 seconds and puts its top speed at 280 km/h (174 mph).

In GTE-Mode, the GTE Sport features all-wheel drive by way of an “electric propshaft.” The TSI engine uses the front electric motor as a generator to power the rear motor when the battery is low, to make up this all-wheel-drive system, hence the “electric propshaft” name.

In E-Mode, the GTE Sport draws power from its lithium-ion battery to travel up to 50 km (31 miles) on a single charge. When the batteries are depleted, the 1.6-liter engine automatically reengages to charge up the battery until there is enough juice to switch back into E-Mode.

The Hybrid-Mode, which is the mode the GTR Sport returns to when the battery depletes during E-Mode, works like a traditional hybrid. This system also features a silent coast, which shuts off all power sources when the driver releases the accelerator pedal and the battery is charged, and uses kinetic energy to recharge the batteries. There are also two battery modes within the Hybrid-Mode: Battery Hold and Battery Charge. Battery Hold keeps the battery’s charge intact for later use, while Battery Charge uses the regenerative braking and silent coast features to recharge the battery.

Drivetrain Specifications

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Drive system Plug-in hybrid
Drivetrain All-wheel drive ("electric propshaft")
Petrol engine 1.6 TSI (turbocharged direct injection)
Output 295 HP
Torque 295 LB-FT
Electric motors front/rear Each 113 HP / front 243 LB-FT / rear 199 LB-FT
System power 395 HP
System torque 494 LB-FT
Gearbox 6-speed DSG
Battery type Lithium-ion
Top Speed 280 KM/H (173 MPH)
0-100 km/h (62 mph) 4.3 seconds
Fuel consumption (NEDC, combined) 2.0 l/100 km
Electric range 50 km


BMW i3

2015 BMW i3 High Resolution Exterior
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There are no models like the GTE Sport concept on the market yet, but the BMW i3 is about as close as we can get as of 2015. Sure, it is far from a performance model, but its 125 kW (167-horsepower) electric motor gets it to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds and its battery allows it to travel up to 81 miles on a single charge. Add in the range-extending engine, and the 0-to-60 time increases to 7.1 seconds in EV mode and 13.7 seconds with the range extender activated.

The i3 also has skinny tires and a tall ride height, meaning it has no business trying to handle corners like the GTE Sport concept can.

Read our full review here.

Tesla Model III

2018 Tesla Model 3 Interior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Sure, the Model III is still not a reality and there are only a handful of preliminary details available about it, but it is a model that could compete with this concept. Elon Musk has confirmed that the Model III will be about 20 percent smaller than the Model S and will have a real-world range of at least 200 miles. Additionally, its anticipated price will fall at around $35,000 before tax credits.

It’s hard to pinpoint the Model III’s drivetrain right now, but logic says that it’ll start out with a 60 kWh battery that will have about 250 horsepower at its disposal, keeping the price low, range high, and the performance high without encroaching on its big brother’s turf. Like the Model S, the Model III will also have an 85 and a P85 model, which I believe will deliver over 350 horsepower each and a range of about 250 miles. It remains unknown if the smaller Model III will get the optional D all-wheel-drive system, but if it does, it would have performance credentials that could rival this concept.

Though it doesn’t have the added benefit of a gasoline engine, the Model III will have access to Tesla’s expanding Supercharger network for extended travel.

Read our speculative review here.


2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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You’ve gotta love Volkswagen’s ambitious concept cars, but this one will likely not find its way to production for many years (if ever). The technology behind this model, however, is something that we could see in the VW auto group in the future. High-performance hybrids are the latest craze in the supercar world, and we are getting closer to seeing this technology trickle down into more mass-produced cars.

  • Leave it
    • Interior is unrealistic
    • Likely super expensive to produce
    • The world isn’t quite ready for this sort of car… yet.
Justin Cupler
About the author

Press Release

Ringing in a new era: with the Golf GTE Sport presented as a world premiere at the legendary GTI event at Lake Wörthersee on 14 May 2015, Volkswagen is catapulting the GT tradition into the future. The high-tech Golf that is largely made of carbon is powered by a total of three motors – combined in a plug-in hybrid drive with system power of 295 kW / 400 PS. The concept car breaks down traditional barriers between road and motorsport vehicles. Its progressive hybrid system in combination with the high-tech all-wheel drive, a lightweight body, optimum aerodynamic downforce, precision running gear based on the design of the current Golf GTE, a new motor racing cockpit (including visualisation of the racing line) and an unusual seating concept (two monocoque-like interior areas) enable breathtaking performance on the racetrack. At the press of a button, however, the concept car is able to cover a distance of up to 50 kilometres on electric power alone and hence with zero emissions.

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Drive system from motorsport and research

World Rally Car TSI engine. The 1.6 litre TSI (turbocharged direct-injection engine) adapted from the superb Polo R WRC (World Rally Car) is accommodated in the engine compartment at the front of the car. It delivers 220 kW / 299 PS and maximum torque of 400 Nm. Volkswagen has already won the World Rally Championship twice with this engine. In the Golf GTE Sport the four-cylinder masterpiece is assisted by two electric motors. The engineers positioned the first electric motor at the front (in the housing of the 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox). It develops 85 kW / 115 PS and maximum torque of 330 Nm. The second electric motor is located at the rear with the same power output but torque of 270 Nm. The total torque of the drive system is 670 Nm. Whenever possible, the concept car is powered solely by electricity without producing any emissions. In sporty "GTE mode" all three motors work together, giving the all-wheel-drive Golf GTE Sport a standstill to 100 km/h time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 280 km/h. In the NEDC cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles the sports car consumes just 2.0 l/100 km/h.

Pure-bred sports car.

Balanced for the Nürburgring north loop. The concept of the Golf GTE Sport has been designed so that the car is at home in both normal road traffic and racetrack conditions. Accordingly, the drive, suspension, body and interior all follow the principle of a pure-bred sports car. The drive system offers maximum agility, the suspension displays maximum neutrality in interaction with the all-wheel drive, the carbon body is lightweight and with its balanced aerodynamics it virtually adheres to the road. The driver ergonomics bridge the gap to motor racing, and with optimum weight distribution and a low centre of gravity the overall package ensures that a lap around racetracks such as the north loop of the Nürburgring is a unique driving experience.

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Interior rings in a new sports car era

Two-seater race car. The driver and passenger board the two-seater interior of the Golf GTE Sport through doors that swing right up in the style of the XL 1. The doors extend a long way up into the roof and down into the side sills, resulting in convenient boarding when they are opened upwards. The interior in carbon and microfibre consists of two completely separate areas for the driver and passenger. Like in motorsport vehicles, they sit quite a long way to the back on racing bucket seats with five-point belts. Accordingly, the steering column that is entirely clad in carbon projects a long way into the interior where it appears to float – a further characteristic feature of a rally car or touring-car racer. The functional elements are operated via controllers and buttons in the cocoon-like interior trim. The gearbox of the Golf GTE Sport can also be operated manually with shift paddles on the motorsport steering wheel.

Instruments on three levels. The instruments featuring a completely new design have been specially coordinated for the configuration of the driver’s workspace. The Volkswagen interface designers opted for three transparent displays arranged behind one another on which all relevant information is displayed. On the smallest display at the front (closest to the driver) information such as the selected gear and the recuperation status is displayed; information that is only sporadically checked from the corner of the eye whilst driving. The centre display has secondary yet more complex information such as the power currently delivered by the drive (power meter) and the boost intensity of the plug-in system (electric boost). Information such as the current speed and the range are constantly in the driver’s field of vision on the third and largest display. In addition, in "GTE mode" not only is the current lap displayed (e.g. 9 of 16), but there is also a virtual indicator of the ideal driving line – valuable assistance for safe and fast driving on complex racetracks such as the aforementioned Nürburgring north loop.

Ergonomic perfection. The clearly arranged multifunction switch for starting and stopping the hybrid drive and controlling the 6-speed DSG is ideally positioned to the right of the driver for easy access. Right next to it there is a control panel for further vehicle functions; these include a button for activating a fire extinguishing system similar to that used in motorsport. Furthermore, the passenger is also supplied with data via a display in his interior segment. In "Info Mode" the current speed, the gear currently engaged and the engine speed can be displayed. If the passenger switches to "Data Mode" he can call up the vehicle acceleration and lateral force figures (g-forces). It is not only the use of carbon, but rather a general lightweight design that saves weight in the interior. For example, the loops for opening the doors are made of the same synthetic fibre as the five-point belts. Moreover, extremely elaborate ergonomics prevail in every detail. The operating mode switch for selecting "E-Mode", "GTE-Mode" or "Hybrid-Mode", for example, is situated in the roof, like in a jet plane.

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Body design and concept

Extremely lightweight. The body of the Golf GTE Sport is largely made of lightweight carbon. As both a brand and a group, Volkswagen is a trailblazer in the industrial use of this material. For example, like the exterior of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, the body of the Volkswagen XL1 is also made of carbon. The high-strength carbon body of the Golf GTE Sport therefore weighs much less than a comparable steel body.

Side profile. The design concept of the Golf GTE Sport manifests itself in the car’s striking silhouette. Here, Volkswagen is continuing the idea of C-pillars with a two-level design originating from the 2007 Golf GTI W12-650, which has been constantly further perfected in various concept cars. On the Golf GTE Sport that is now being presented, this C-pillar concept, which is unique worldwide, has reached a degree of perfection that allows it to leave the show car stage and – as a design vision – bridge the gap to the Golf GT models of the future. The basic styling of these pillars (like the string of a bow taut with an arrow) follows the unmistakable Golf design, but at the same time feature some completely new C-pillar details: behind the level visible from outside a second one opens up. The airstream flows between these two levels and is contributing to the aerodynamic downforce and to the cooling of the rear brake system. Stylistically, this concept means that the rear section (like the front section) is extremely wide. By contrast, the passenger cell between the A-pillar and the interior part of the C-pillar becomes narrower when viewed from the front to the rear – an avant-garde interplay of extremely powerful shapes.

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Doors and sills fold upwards. As described, the concept car painted in pearlescent "White Club" has two gullwing doors that swing forwards. The upper part that extends a long way into the roof is entirely made of dark visible carbon. A large part of the side sill is integrated in the door cutout. The three-dimensional body of the sill is enhanced at the top in the door section with an area in dark visible carbon. Further features on the side profile in visible carbon are the door mirror caps, the door window frames and the lower sill area. This part of the sill is designed as a splitter, i.e. a thin and sharp aerodynamic element, a feature familiar in motorsport. The side sill is framed by the new 20-inch alloy wheels fitted with tyres in format 235 at the front and 275 at the rear.

Front. With the front section of the Golf GTE Sport the Volkswagen design team is impressively illustrating how the Golf GT models could develop in future. On the concept car, the designers removed the striking blue radiator grille line of the Golf GTE production model from the grille and positioned it below the bonnet as a blue crossbar running across the whole width of the front. Below it, three further crossbars in black chrome look extend across the centre air inlet. The high-gloss black air inlet grille itself has the honeycomb structure typical of GT models. A further air inlet below the crossbars is framed at the top and to the sides by a striking aerodynamic element (also made of carbon). A double spoiler, also designed as a splitter, rounds off the front. Here, too, carbon is used.

LED headlights and daytime running lights. All electric and plug-in hybrid models from Volkswagen have C-shaped LED daytime running lights as a distinctive feature, and the Golf GTE Sport is no exception. Here, they frame the whole radiator grille unit at the sides, and in the top area there is an almost seamless transition from the LED daytime running lights to the extremely narrow and sharp LED headlights.

Rear. Never before has Volkswagen realised such a charismatic and sporty rear for a Golf. Here, too, the two levels of the C-pillars are a defining stylistic feature giving the Golf GTE Sport a very wide and powerful appearance from the rear. The extended outer levels of the C-pillars at the rear – like the tail unit of an aeroplane – elongate the car together with the large roof spoiler. Typically Golf: the striking tailgate with a vertical downward angle at the level of the redesigned LED rear lights. At the top, the tailgate is limited by a black carbon roof spoiler – a wing that seems to hover in front of the tailgate at a distance of a few millimetres to the roof. The C-pillars that taper at an angle to the rear and the bumper merge into one another, with the latter projecting far above the line of the tailgate. As an imaginary continuation of the side strip made of visible carbon (above the sill), the top edge of the bumper also features visible carbon. Below this is an area painted in the body colour (with air outlets on the outside). The last level is a large diffuser made of visible carbon with the splitter that is also continued here. The round stainless steel trims of the twin-pipe exhaust system are integrated in the middle of the diffuser.

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Drive – plug-in hybrid and electric propshaft

E-Mode – setting off on electric power. No Golf has ever had three motors before. But this one does. As described at the beginning, the combustion engine fitted by Volkswagen is a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder direct-injection engine (TSI) that produces 220 kW / 299 PS of power and a maximum torque of 400 Nm. The electric components consist of the lithium-ion battery and two electric motors. The front electric motor is integrated in the housing of the 6-speed DSG (DQ400E). Both electric motors have a power output of 85 kW. The total available system power is 295 kW / 400 PS. If necessary, the system drive power can be distributed to all four wheels thanks to the rear electric motor and an "electric propshaft". In normal operation the Golf GTE Sport drives just as quietly as the production Golf GTE that is already marketed. In "E-Mode" it is setting off purely electrically. In this case the concept car uses the battery that can be charged externally (but also whilst driving) to cruise without producing any emissions. It can cover up to 50 kilometres on a battery charge. When a defined minimum battery charge is reached, the 1.6 TSI 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 axle electric motor is first and foremost responsible for propulsion. When high demands are made on performance, the front electric motor is also activated to provide support.

Hybrid mode – silent coasting. As soon as the drive system or the driver deactivates "E-Mode", the Golf GTE Sport becomes a classic full hybrid with regenerative braking charging the battery and automatic utilisation of the right combination of TSI and/or electric motors according to the specific drive situation. When the driver releases the accelerator pedal, and the battery is sufficiently charged, all drive sources are shut off. This is referred to as "coasting". 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. With the dual mode "Battery Hold" or "Battery Charge" the battery’s energy content can be deliberately kept constant by the driver ("Hold") or increased ("Charge"). When the 1.6 TSI engine is the sole source of propulsion, the concept car is a pure front-wheel drive car.

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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GTE-Mode – the power of three hearts. The switch on board the Golf GTE Sport that is most important for dynamic performance is located in the overhead console. It bears the letters "GTE". When the driver operates this switch, the character of the Golf GTE Sport’s drivetrain changes drastically in an instant because now the full system power of 400 PS is available. The turbocharged 299 PS petrol engine alone delivers immense propulsive power, and at this high level the electric drive components of the Golf GTE Sport assume an additional boost function. The boost effect is so strong that the drive unit would also perform well if used in professional touring car races: the Golf GTE Sport sprints to 50 km/h in 1.8 seconds, reaches 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds, and the maximum speed permitted in Austria, i.e. 130 km/h, in 6.5 seconds. On German motorways, the concept car reaches 200 km/h in 15.9 seconds. In "GTE-Mode" all four wheels of the Golf are driven.

All-wheel drive – "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 TSI – acts solely as a generator and a source of electricity for its counterpart at the rear axle. Since the energy for driving the rear axle flows by wire and not mechanically here, this is referred to as an "electric propshaft". Because the TSI 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. The importance of the implementation of the "electric propshaft" for Volkswagen with regard to series production is demonstrated by the fact that the company has had the German equivalent of this designation protected under copyright law.

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