A one-off hybrid Golf GTI? We’d sign up for a production version!

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While we’re waiting to see how the Golf 8 GTI really is like, let’s take a moment and appreciate this unique, Golf 7 GTE called the GTE HyRacer. Developed by the members of a Volkswagen Retail Group Germany apprenticeship program, this is the latest in a rather long line of interesting one-off builds and it was supposed to take center stage at the annual Worthersee show in Austria. Sadly, the show’s been canceled due to the pandemic but not the project which did get completed and now we can share with you the result, a stunning prototype that one-ups even the Golf 8 GTI in terms of power.

The GTE HyRacer Is Less Race Car And More Highway Cruiser

If The Golf GTI Is Both A Bit Too Tame And Too Cruel With The Environment, Have A Look At the Golf GTE HyRacer
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Remember the track-bound (or snow course-bound) Golf eR1 that Volkswagen showed off all the way back in February of this year? While sliding around the course at the Ice Race GP in Zell, Austria, the eR1 made absolutely no noise but looked very purposeful sporting a full TCR-spec body kit as well as a roll-cage inside. If you liked that model, then we’re sure you’ll love the GTE HyRacer as it’s basically a street-legal version of the eR1.

Based on the seventh-generation Golf GTE (that's the hybrid version of the Golf built between 2017 and 2018), this one-off creation was built in just a few months by Volkswagen's Wolfsburg-based apprentice team.

Each year, this group of talented engineers and designers assemble to create one or more modified models starting from stock VW products with the aim of displaying the end result at the world-renown Worthersee festival, a gathering of VW lovers from all around the globe. Just last year, the same group revealed to the world two projects, the Golf GTI Aurora and the Golf Estate R 4MOTION FighteR, both brimming with cool gadgets.

If The Golf GTI Is Both A Bit Too Tame And Too Cruel With The Environment, Have A Look At the Golf GTE HyRacer
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This year, the main ’gadget’ of the team’s project is the hybrid drivetrain as the HyRacer blends GTI-beating performance levels with the eco-friendliness of the Golf GTE. In unmodified trim, a GTE develops 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, some 30 horsepower off the most powerful iteration of the Golf 7 GTI which, however, puts down just as much torque. We don’t know whether VW’s young wizards manage to squeeze extra torques from that drivetrain but we do know that they did manage to get more power out of it with the combined output now at 248 horsepower.

To put it into perspective, the Golf 8 GTI develops 245 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque. If we are to venture with a guess, we’d say the GTE HyRacer makes at least as much torque as the eight-gen GTI thanks to some tweaks to the electric motor to give it a bigger hybrid punch. VW, however, was tight-lipped on the torque rating and the Germans also didn’t release an image of the back end of the car.

But we do get an image of the front and what we see is really nice: the car features a TCR-inspired body kit with widened fenders that feature a boxy trailing edge both in the front and in the back and the front bumper sports a black splitter extender immediately below that big intake.

Some blue accents across the car’s sides (as well as the blue caliper) remind you once more that the car is a hybrid while the 19-inch black alloys wrapped by low-profile rubber talk about the car’s sporty aspirations.

If The Golf GTI Is Both A Bit Too Tame And Too Cruel With The Environment, Have A Look At the Golf GTE HyRacer
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Inside, you’ll find an Alcantara-wrapped wheel with racing-style buttons as well as an Alcantara-wrapped dash. The seats’ headrests have the name ’GTE’ on them and the main infotainment screen boasts with a unique GTE HyRacer opening sequence.

While nobody will be able to see the car in the flesh at Worthersee this year because the show’s been canceled, we hope that VW will be kind enough to drive it (yes, drive it, because the car is road legal as evidenced by the presence of Vorpommern-Greifswald numberplate in the front) to next year’s event.

Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read More
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