Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport – Worthersee hybrid in Frankfurt

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This futuristic hatch heads the Volkswagen Group’s hefty list of Frankfurt concepts

We first saw the GTE Sport Concept at 2015’s Worthersee show in Austria, but now we’ve met it in the metal in Frankfurt. But rather than just being another ambitious, never to make production model, it actually serves to represent just how quickly VW could produce a performance hybrid. All of the technology, know-how and equipment is there – and the GTE Sport Concept is an extreme example of what it could produce when combined. We’ve had a snoop around the car on VW’s show stand, here’s what we’ve learned.

Firstly, this car is nothing like the production Golf GTE. Volkswagen would have you believe its current Golf GTE is the third model in the GTI and GTD line – a hot hatchback that just happens to feature plug-in hybrid power. But while the Golf GTE is an impressive vehicle, it hides its technology and performance under a bushel, with little to differentiate it from the other GT models in the Golf range.

That wouldn’t be a problem if the GTE looked like the Golf GTE Sport concept, first displayed at Worthersee as part of the huge European Volkswagen festival in May. It might contain the word ‘Golf’ in its title, but there’s little in common with the production car.

What the GTE Concept does share is the VW badge on the nose and the basic layout of a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. There, the cars diverge – the Concept is a low-slung, two-seater, formed from lightweight carbon and entered via gullwing doors like those of the XL1 eco car.

At its core is a 1.6-litre, turbocharged direct-injection engine adapted from that of the Polo R World Rally Car. On its own the engine develops 295bhp and 295lb ft of torque. The addition of two 113bhp electric motors, one with 243lb ft of torque and the other 199lb ft, raises total system output to 394bhp and 494lb ft.

(Electric motors and combustion engines develop their peak power and torque figures at different points, so the two figures can’t simply be added together – hence the discrepancy when adding electric and petrol figures.)

Power from the engine and first electric motor is sent through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission and the front axle, while the second motor handles power to the rear wheels. They can be used individually or all together as an electrically-assisted all-wheel drive, the latter contributing to a 4.3sec 0-62mph sprint and 174mph top speed.

Suspension is tuned for ‘maximum neutrality’, according to Volkswagen, optimised for hot-lapping at the Nürburgring Nordschleife but also at home on regular roads.

Inside, the car’s two seats are separated into distinct regions for driver and passenger. Trim is a mixture of carbon and microfibre, while the seats themselves are positioned far back in the chassis like those in dedicated racing cars. Shift paddles behind the steering wheel let the driver pick ratios in the dual-clutch gearbox, while split-level transparent display panels position useful information at a suitable distance from the driver.


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5 Best Sport Versions of Small Cars

Small cars have always been dubbed as superior when it comes to sports cars, thanks to their compactness and lightness which helps them to be speedy and nimble, meaning they can work their way around the track with immeasurable precision and accuracy.

Therefore it’s no surprise that so many car manufacturers create sports versions of their most dynamic and popular small cars, to bring the excitement and thrill of track driving into the mix of every day driving.

We’ve taken a look at 5 of the best sport versions of small cars to show you that you don’t need a big garage space to have a thrilling ride, and you don’t always even need a big wallet to afford one, either!

1. 2014 MINI Cooper Coupe John Cooper Works

A pretty long winded name for such a compact car, the MINI Cooper Coupe John Cooper Works is so small it doesn’t even have a backseat. Though, owners tend not to find this such a problem, as it’s not a car that’s usually chosen for its practicality factors.

According to the website, it ‘looks fast even when standing still, thanks to features including Cross Spoke Challenge allow wheels, black radiator grille and special aerodynamic kit.’

2. Fiat 500 Sport

The Fiat 500 is a car we’re starting to see more and more of on the road, and with the Fiat 500 sport now introduced, we’ll soon be seeing more of it in the fast lane too. The Abarth 500 Custom is a winning blend of style and performance, enhanced with new technology and customisation options.

The satin steel rear exhaust trim adds impact and style to the car, with new colours offering an upgraded customisation experience, so you’ll have no trouble picking yours out from the crowd. You can also enjoy ‘New instrument panel with 7” digital display and TFT technology as standard’ and ‘a multipurpose backlit dual mode colour display that all Abarth enthusiasts will love.’

3. Ford Focus ST

Set to enhance the Ford Focus experience even further, the new Ford Focus ST ‘incorporates a new technology called Electronic Transitional Stability (part of the advanced three-stage ESP programme). By sensing vehicle stability and driver inputs, the system can react and respond to help you maintain precision and control when changing lanes, or overtaking.’ Therefore it’s not only efficient when driving on the track; it’s also efficient and practical enough for every day driving.

4. 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Still my favourite small car (I used to have a MX5 Mark 1), no list of compact sports versions of small cars would be complete without the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and it has a staying power in this category that few of its rivals can match. It may be due to the intense attention to detail that goes into each and every vehicle – ‘Mazda engineers took into account every bolt, wire and upholstery stitch to achieve near-perfect front-to-rear weight distribution and handling that seems to anticipate the driver’s every move.’

5. VW Golf R

Renowned for making cars with an eye-catching design and quality that is hard to beat, the VW Golf R is no exception to the VW Golf’s before it. The levels of luxury just got turned up a notch with this model in particular, as it boasts a leather multi-functioning steering wheel and 18” ‘Cadiz’ alloy wheels.

It also has one of the best engines in terms of efficiency and performance, and you can read more about it on their official website here.

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Lauda: We don’t need Flavio to improve F1

If you were looking at fixing Formula 1′s reputation and overall package, why not get the effusive and enigmatic Italian and former team boss Flavio Briatore? That’s what F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone told team in Hungary last week.

It seems that Ecclestone thought that having Flavio back in F1 working in a special group focused on improving F1 might be a good idea. According to AUTOSPORT, he later recanted in the German press.

Regardless, Mercedes whip-cracker, Niki Lauda (An elderly F1 fan), says the sport needs Briatore like it needs another DRS-ish system.

“Why do we need Flavio?” said Lauda. “Bernie is the man in charge, and he should stay in charge.

“I think we should think together with Bernie, as he is the master of what we can improve.”

He’s right, of course, the sport is ran by many smart people who have many smart ideas on how best to improve the racing program but all of those people have personal interests and this is where it have been good to have Ecclestone or even a removed party such as Briatore to make a decision that all teams must live by.

Many years ago, when the team were threatening to leave the sport under the banner of FOTA (Formula One Teams Association), Ecclestone said something that has always remained true. He said that the teams could never agree with each other no matter what they tired to do because of the differing self-interests each team has. I’m paraphrasing here as Ecclestone said it much more succinctly and with a measure of bravado.

In the end, he’s proven to be right and the only person in recent memory who has gotten all the teams together on one goal is Ecclestone himself. He’s used divide and conquer as well as unification tactics when the sport needed it.

For Niki, the sport needs tweaks, not big Flavio-style panache. Lauda suggested the recent rein-pulling on race stewards has paid dividends:

“I have to say the change that we had with the stewards, to not get involved as much as before, was a great move,” said Lauda.

“Even the Sauber in the middle of the road [in Hockenheim] was exciting. If there was a safety car, everyone would have got bored.

“So Hockenheim was an improvement, and in Hungary there was no investigation as there were a lot of things that could have been looked at. It is going in the right direction.”

If Flavio would bring too much “spice” to the show, is Niki not thinking of enough to get F1 back on the radar? Maybe it’s a combination of both but to be honest, Flavio might be an interesting character to have in the meetings for levity alone. No one can wear a mankini and get away with it like Flavio and that is worth a seat at the table alone.

Via formula1blog