Care to take a guess?
The eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI has officially been revealed and, despite previous rumors, it is not a hybrid. Like its immediate predecessor, it's powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, only now output has been increased to 245 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. But there were some good reasons to believe the German automaker could have considered a hybrid powertrain, improving emissions being one of them. A hybrid boost function could have also been possible. So why didn't the hybrid route happen in favor of a conventional powertrain?
Speaking to Autocar, VW's chief technology officer, Matthias Rabe, made clear there were two main issues: too much weight and not enough power.
"I like the Golf 1.5 TSI with the mild hybrid, and you feel the low-end torque. But it adds weight, and you don't need the extra torque on the 2.0 TSI engine. It doesn't give you much at the high end for a performance car," he said. "In the future, we will have lots of mild hybrids to lower fuel consumption, but on the sporty side you will see combustion engines with new refinements, or you go to plug-in hybrid or electric."
But for those who still desire a performance-focused eighth-gen Golf with an electrical assist, there's the not-for-the-US GTE. The Golf GTE is powered by a smaller 1.4-liter TSI engine paired to an electric motor for a combined output nearly identical to that of the GTI.
There is another drawback, however: no six-speed manual. It's only available with a six-speed DCT. "It's important that the GTE feels more like a GTI," Rabe said. "The GTE has a very smooth electric powertrain. For me, it's on the next level in terms of driving, handling and agility. I'm a GTI fan and I really think for the first time this GTE is an option for the GTI driver. I think there will be some movement from the GTI to the GTE in the future."
Above all, Rabe is convinced that not only does the hot hatch have a future, it will continue to be powered by internal combustion.