We all know that the letters GT stand for Gran Turismo, but tacking on another letter can evoke a different meaning altogether. GTO for Ferraris
supercars, GTA for high-performance Alfa Romeos
(or car-theft video games, or metropolitan Toronto)... The list goes on and on, but few are as familiar with the idea as Volkswagen
, which uses the letters GTI
for hot hatches, GTD for their diesel counterparts, and most recently, GTE for plug-in hybrids.
VW introduced the nomenclature with the Golf GTE
earlier this year, and is now following up with the Passat GTE you see here. It packs a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 1.4-litre turbo four producing 154 horsepower and an electric motor good for another 114 hp, channeled to the front wheels through a six-speed DSG for a combined output of 215 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque.
In electric-only mode, it'll reach 80 mph (128 km/h) and take you as far as 31 miles.
That's more juice than the Golf GTE, but in the larger Passat
delivers similar performance: 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in under eight seconds and a top speed in excess of 136 miles per hour (218 kilometres per hour). In electric-only mode, it'll reach 80 mph (128 km/h) and take you as far as 31 miles (50 km). But with both motors running, and both the 13-gallon (49-litre) fuel tank and the lithium-ion battery topped off, it'll travel up to 1,000 kilometers. More than the Golf GTE and more than enough to send the plug-in Passat from London to its debut in Paris
and back again (or all the way from Detroit to New York) all without stopping at a single charging or gas station along the way.
Set to launch in the second half of next year, the Passat GTE will be available in both sedan and wagon forms. But since this is based on the European model, we're not holding our breath for its transatlantic voyage to North American showrooms. Hypermilers will just have to hope that VW will offer a model with a similar system Stateside in the near future.