VW Golf GTE Sport concept: Meet the 174-mph plug-in hybrid hatchback (w/images)

The annual Wörthersee festival is primarily focused on performance and styling modifications for the ubiquitous Volkswagen Golf GTI, but this year VW decided to add a little green to the mix.

Volkswagen always shows off a handful of concept cars at Wörthersee, and the Golf GTE Sport is one of the most ambitious yet. Like the production Golf GTE sold in Europe, it features a plug-in hybrid powertrain. But it’s not like anything you’ll find in a production car.

Under the hood sits the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine from a Volkswagen Polo R WRC rally car. It’s teamed with two electric motors; one is integrated with the six-speed dual-clutch transmission to help power the front wheels, while the other powers the rear wheels.

With the two power sources working together, the Golf GTE Sport concept can muster 395 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, getting it from 0 to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds, and on to a top speed of 174 mph.

Alternatively, Volkswagen says the Golf GTE Sport can drive up to 31 miles on electric power only. In hybrid mode, it can also “coast” during highway driving when the driver lifts off the accelerators, shutting down all power sources to save energy.

Also helping to make the Golf GTE Sport more efficient – not to mention faster – is carbon fiber bodywork. Everything from the massive grille to the rear diffuser was designed with aerodynamic optimization in mind, although we suspect the BMW i8-like doors were just included because they look cool.

Those doors open to reveal a starkly-empty two-seat interior. The driver and passenger sit low and are separated by a divider. The driver gets a yoke-like steering apparatus in place of a traditional wheel, and a cluster of display screens that replaces traditional gauges.

The Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport concept isn’t slated for production, but shows how capable plug-in hybrid powertrains can be in delivering performance as well as efficiency.