Space, pace, and environmental credentials that even before its official UK showroom debut have already secured it a prestigious ‘green’ award: the new Volkswagen Passat GTE is calculated to offer drivers the very best of all worlds.
Available in saloon or estate body styles, the most environmentally responsible Passat to date emits just 39g of CO2 on the EU Combined Cycle, equating to fuel economy of 166 mpg. Yet with 400 Nm of torque and combined system power of 218 PS, the new car can sprint from rest to 62 mph in a lively 7.6 seconds before heading to a top speed of 140 mph, where legal. The potential range between refuelling stops is more than 660 miles.
The Passat GTE is a plug-in hybrid that can be driven up to 31 miles on electric power alone in E-Mode. A 1.4-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engine delivers 156 PS, while the electric motor adds a further 115 PS. Underlining its engaging performance capabilities, the electric motor alone can provide up to 330 Nm of torque from near-standstill.
A specially developed six-speed DSG gearbox is standard on the Passat GTE and features a third, disengagement clutch. This decouples the TSI motor whenever possible, to allow the vehicle to make best use of kinetic energy and hence increases efficiency still further.
Building on the already elegant lines of the new Passat – voted European Car of the Year 2015 – the Passat GTE is distinguished outside by distinctive C-shaped LED daytime running lights and an additional blue line across the radiator grille: design cues which are shared with the award-winning Golf GTE. A redesigned front bumper and 18-inch alloy wheels also mark out the new car.
Inside, in addition to the optional innovative Active Info Display with specific customised read-outs, standard features include blue ambient lighting, a leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel with blue decorative stitching, GTE-specific gear knob with blue stitching and seats covered in Alcantara with Vienna leather side bolsters. Unique GTE badging also marks out the new Passat.
Bristling with innovative and engaging new technology, the new Passat GTE boasts Volkswagen’s new Car-Net e-Remote app which allows a wide variety of tasks – including charging – to be controlled via smartphone. All climate control functions can be also activated remotely, while information on the vehicle’s state of charge, recent driving data or last parking position can be displayed. It is also possible to check whether the doors are closed and the lights turned off.
The Passat GTE’s electric motor develops maximum torque of 330 Nm and offers continuous torque of 170 Nm. The 1.4-litre direct-injection turbocharged petrol engine is as sophisticated as the electric motor and drivetrain. This four-valve per cylinder unit from the EA211 engine family uses an ultra-rigid die-cast aluminium crankcase. Maximum power of 156 PS comes at 5,000 rpm, and maximum torque of 250 Nm is on offer between 1,500 rpm and 3,500 rpm.
Under normal circumstances, the Passat GTE starts in pure electric E-Mode. When it reaches minimum battery charge hybrid mode is activated. Here the Passat GTE operates as a full hybrid, charging the battery under deceleration and automatically using the TSI motor and/or electric motor as required. However, should the driver wish to conserve electric power (for example to use E-Mode in a city at the end of a journey), Battery Charge mode can be selected. For maximum power, GTE mode can be chosen: this uses both petrol and electric motors.
The car’s lithium-ion battery is fitted in the floor area of the rear seat bench. Comprising eight modules of 12 cells each, it creates a nominal voltage of 360 V and power of 9.9 kWh, with a peak output of 85 kW. The high-voltage battery is overseen electronically by the Battery Management Controller, which manages various functions including the battery’s liquid cooling system.
Charging is achieved either via a standard UK domestic mains outlet in around four hours and 15 minutes; or in two hours 30 minutes from a dedicated wallbox with a 3.6 kW supply.
The Passat GTE comes in two highly specified trim levels in the UK. On top of the standard features of the Passat GT (such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist and City Emergency Braking, Discover Navigation, Bluetooth and parking sensors), standard items include LED headlights and tail lights, Mode 2&3 charging cables and Car-Net e-Remote. Standard items on the GTE Advance trim also include the new Active Info Display, Discover Pro navigation (eight-inch screen), Nappa leather, Area View and LED premium headlights.
Despite its extra technology and revised styling, dimensions of the Passat GTE match those of the standard Passat, including boot volume (402-968 litres for the saloon and 483-1613 litres for the estate).