Volkswagen already has the e-Golf and the Golf GTE, and now it's expanding its lineup of electrified Golfs ... for show, anyway. The German automakers' apprenticeship program has produced two new-look hybrid Golfs, the Golf GTI First Decade and Golf GTE Variant (Estate) impulsE. These new concept Golfs offset those longwinded names with punchy design and performance.
One of the highlights of Volkswagen's Wörthersee gathering, the annual apprentice GTI sees its 10th iteration this year, and Volkswagen recognizes the event with the "First Decade" name. The new, blue Golf is also the first GTI to feature an electric drive. Volkswagen and its team of 13 apprentices dipped their toes into the electrified waters, adding a 16-hp (12-kW) electric motor at the rear.
The small electric motor might seem underpowered, but since it's working with a 404-hp 2.0-liter engine up front, it shouldn't feel that way during sprinting and cruising, except, perhaps, when it's the only power plant doing work. The First Decade is designed to be driven under pure-electric rear-wheel drive, all-gas front-wheel drive or hybrid all-wheel drive, giving the driver plenty of choice in managing emissions, efficiency and performance. Modes can be selected from a tablet computer – always convenient when driving - or on the infotainment screen via MirrorLink. We're hoping anyone driving this show car will opt for the latter.
The light electric drive can handle full driving responsibilities in low-demand situations like low-speed, short-distance commuting, parking maneuvers or city traffic, but the First Decade requires engine power for anything more demanding. Regenerative braking helps the two rear-mounted batteries last as long as possible.
VW's apprentice team also worked to give the First Decade a special look, channeling the blue waters of the Wörthersee with Atlantic Blue Metallic, Satin Ocean Shimmer and other shades of blue mixing together in a series of segments, stripes, dashes and accents. A high-gloss black radiator grille, Clubsport rear spoiler and 20-in mb-Design alloy wheels with Ocean Shimmer hubs add more color contrast, and "First Decade" and "10" badges around the exterior finish the cosmetic package off.
Inside, the two sports seats are hand-dressed in titanium black nappa leather and Alcantara and stitched with contrast blue. The driver's seat features multiple massage functions and is electronically adjustable via smartphone or tablet app. Satin Ocean Shimmer and Atlantic Blue trim and highlights appear throughout, as do "10" and "First Decade" badges.
The real interior highlight, though, is in the back, where the seats and luggage compartment have been replaced with a hulking 1,690-watt, 11-speaker stereo system with subwoofer. A custom LED lighting display covers the base plate over top the batteries and electric control hardware, adding to the bass-thumping ambiance.
The apprentices put the Golf GTI First Decade together in a matter of nine months, relying on technologies like CAD, graphic tablets and 3D printing and gaining specialist knowledge and experience along the way.
A second group of VW apprentices is presenting the Golf GTE Variant impulsE at Wörthersee. A stretched version of the Golf GTE (or GTE version of the Variant, if you prefer), this show car features an upsized 16.8-kWh battery that provides about double the all-electric driving range of VW's 8.8-kWh GTE battery. The custom Golf wagon wears a special five-tone matte paint job consisting of Oryx White, Apassionata Blue, Anthracite, Hallmark and St. James Red, a theme that continues inside. The app-controlled door trim ambient lighting and indirect sunroof illumination add to the unique interior look and feel.
These apprentice cars are joining other cars of Wörthersee, like the up! GTI Concept. The gathering got rolling on Wednesday and runs through Saturday.