Jetta Hybrid: First Impression

Jetta Hybrid: First Impression

I’ve always described hybrid vehicles as “Sewing machines on wheels.”  Until now, there has never been a hybrid built that proved my wrong in that description.  Well, I got to play with the new 2013 Jetta Hybrid yesterday and I was very pleasantly surprised!

VW Jetta Hybrid

The 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid is fun to drive and gets a combined 45mpg average!

Style-wise, its a Jetta, with some subtle tweaks to set it apart from its non-hybrid siblings.  An updated front grill with blue-trimmed Hybrid badges, side and rear diffusers and front and rear spoilers to help with aerodynamics add a lot to the styling, along with the new wheel options.

For performance, it does not disappoint at all!  The one thing I can see being a negative is owners will get carried away by the performance and drive it around like its a GTI, then say, “what happened to my fuel economy?”  It is a blast to drive when you want power and performance, and a wonderfully frugal fuel-sipper when you ask that of it.  I got 43.9mpg on one all-city drive around Anaheim, and 46.8 mpg on another drive!  Obviously I was trying my best, but with practice and getting used to the throttle I’m confident I could do even better.

The only real negative is trunk space.  Its the only hybrid sedan in its class with 60/40 split folding seats though, so that makes up for the smallish trunk size due to the hybrid battery placement.  The only hybrid that really has an advantage over the Jetta here is the Prius hatchback, but then again, you’d have to drive a Prius, and that would take you right back to the worst of the sewing machines on wheels!  There was an electric skateboard at the training, and it actually beat the Prius in a short drag race!

The Jetta is the fastest Hybrid, has better fuel economy than the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Honda Civic Hybrid, and is most importantly FUN TO DRIVE!  Owning a Volkswagen should be something to smile about, and is with the new Jetta Hybrid.

The 2013 Jetta Hybrid will be arriving in showrooms in about a month, so contact me here if you’re interested in taking a look at them when they arrive!

 

2013 Beetle Convertible Unveiled!

VOLKSWAGEN UNVEILS THE NEW BEETLE CONVERTIBLE

Volkswagen reveals images of the latest version of its iconic convertible ahead of the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show

Herndon, VA –  Today, Volkswagen unveils the latest Beetle Convertible, the third-generation of the iconic VW ragtop. Like its predecessors—the type 15 from 1949 and the 2003 New Beetle Convertible—the curvaceous convertible offers the perfect combination of practicality and fun for four.In creating the latest version of the Beetle Convertible, Volkswagen has reinterpreted the Beetle Convertible’s timeless design with a sportier and more dynamic silhouette, just as it did with the latest Beetle coupe. The combination of a flatter roofline and a more upright windshield gives the car a shape that’s more closely aligned with the first generation of Beetle convertibles.Volkswagen decided to stick with a traditional soft-top rather than incorporate a folding hardtop on the car. When the top is down, it lies flat, giving good rear visibility. Although the top looks compact when furled, it’s actually wide and long when in place, an action that takes a little over 10 seconds at the touch of a button.

Inside, the Beetle Convertible retains the design cues that have made the latest Beetle such a hit with consumers, such as the body-color dashboard and the stylish gauges and trim. The spacious cabin has space for four full-size adults and is able to carry plenty of luggage: a fold-down split rear bench seat increases the practicality even further.

In any Volkswagen, safety is paramount and to that end, the company has developed an Automatic Rollover Support System. Two roll-over bars are concealed behind the back of the rear bench seat, activated by the computer that deploys the airbags in the case of a crash.

Along with the fixed A-pillars, they provide effective protection for the occupants of all four seats within milliseconds. Driver and front passenger combined head-thorax airbags are also among the standard equipment.

The new Beetle Convertible will be available in the United States with three engine options. The entry-level powerplant is the familiar 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Volkswagen’s fuel-efficient 2.0-liter TDI® Clean Diesel four-cylinder engine makes 140 hp and 236 lb-ft, but just as importantly delivers an EPA estimated fuel economy figure of 41 mpg on the highway with the six-speed manual transmission. (A six-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic is also available with this engine.) Finally, the 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI® four-cylinder, which makes 200 hp and 207 lb-ft, can be ordered with either a six-speed manual or DSG automatic.

Beetle Convertible pricing for the U.S. will be announced closer to launch, which occurs in the last quarter of 2012.

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MK7 GTI Full Release

This new VW GTI will be coming to the USA most likely as a 2014 model.  We’ll know more as we get closer to that time!  Here is the press release from VW…

New Golf GTI produces 217 HP in standard version and 227 HP with performance pack
Production version of seventh Golf GTI debuts with new progressive steering

Wolfsburg / Paris, 27 September 2012 – Paris is now the city of the Golf GTI. Four years ago, the sixth generation of the best-seller made its debut here – still as a concept car. Now, in autumn 2012, Volkswagen is presenting the seventh generation Golf GTI in a premiere at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris – also as a concept car. In doing so, Volkswagen is opening another window to the immediate future of the most successful European car model series, because another car being shown to a global audience in the French capital at the same time as the GTI is the near-production concept of the new Golf BlueMotion. The new Golf GTI will be launched into the market in early 2013.

One GTI, two power levels

217 HP and 227 HP. The concept of the next Golf GTI is powered by a further advanced engine from the EA888 series – a two-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine with 162 kW / 217 HP. A new option: for the first time in the iconic sports car’s history, a performance pack will be available as a factory-installed option. In this version, the engine’s maximum power is boosted to 169 kW / 227 HP. Both GTI versions are equipped with a Stop/Start system as standard, they fulfil the EU-6 emissions standard that takes effect in 2014 and – with a 6-speed manual gearbox – they attain the same low DIN fuel consumption of 6.0 l/100 km (39.2 MPG) (CO2: 140 g/km). Compared to the previous model (155 kW / 210 PS), the combined fuel consumption of the new Golf GTI is therefore reduced by 1.3 litres per 100 km or 18 per cent. A 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) is available as an option for both power levels. The recognised high agility of the Golf GTI has been increased once again in the new model compared to the previous model – in two stages:

Stage 1 – standard GTI: The 217 HP base version now produces 7 HP more than the previous model. At the same time, its maximum torque was increased by an immense 70 Nm (52 lb-ft) to 350 Nm (258 lb-ft). This value in the new Golf GTI is exactly the same as that of the previous Golf R, which was powered by an engine from another TSI generation. Equipped in this way, the Golf GTI makes its appearance with impressive flexibility values: in fourth gear, the Golf GTI accelerates from 80 to 120 km/h (50 mph to 75 mph) in 5.0 seconds; in fifth gear it takes 6.0 seconds. Other data that must not be overlooked in a GTI: the new one accelerates to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 246 km/h (153 mph).

Stage 2 – Performance GTI: Those choosing a Golf GTI with the performance pack ignite the second stage. As mentioned, the car’s power is increased by 7 HP here, while its maximum torque is identical. The 227 HP of power enables a top speed of 250 km/h* (155 mph) and just 6.5 seconds for the sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph).

2014 VW GTI

New front axle differential lock and progressive steering

The performance pack not only offers a plus in power, but also a plus in handling: instead of 16-inch brakes, the GTI is equipped with 17-inch brakes here (with GTI badges on the callipers) and a front axle differential lock (VAQ) that is also being offered for the first time in this form.

Front axle differential lock. The electronically controlled lock has a positive effect on active safety and driving dynamics, because it practically prevents the power-related understeer that can occur in powerful front-wheel drive cars. This makes handling precise, and has a stabilising effect in load-alteration induced oversteer. The reason: VAQ increases the power to the wheel on the outside of the curve, which also optimises the vehicle’s speed through bends. Traction is also improved when driving on loose and wet road surfaces and in turning situations.

Progressive steering. The new progressive steering system is celebrating a world premiere in the Golf GTI. It is a standard feature for both power levels. Thanks to this steering system, the driver can turn the car through a desired radius with fewer turns of the steering wheel. In other words, the driver does not need to reach over the wheel as often. That may sound simple, but it is revolutionary. The reason is that conventional steering systems work with a constant gear ratio. The new steering of the Golf GTI, meanwhile, operates with a progressive steering gear ratio. This noticeably reduces steering work when manoeuvring and parking. On country roads with lots of bends, and when making turns, the driver experiences a benefit in dynamics due to the more direct layout.

Technically, progressive steering differs from the basic steering system due to the rack and pinion’s variable tooth spacing and a more powerful electric motor. Its functional difference: unlike with constant steering ratios, which by necessity always represent a compromise between dynamic performance and comfort, here the steering rack’s toothing is significantly modified by the steering stroke. As a result, the transition between indirect steering behaviour in the mid-range (straight-line driving) and direct steering behaviour at larger steering wheel angles is designed to be progressive, which, as mentioned above, enables significantly more agile steering behaviour in dynamic driving situations. This results in smaller steering input angles when parking for greater convenience and comfort.

Variable ratios have long been known in the area of hydraulic steering systems; however, the tuning of such a steering system is subject to very tight limits, so that the driver is not overtaxed by the transitional behaviour. With the Golf GTI’s progressive steering system the situation is completely different: the combination of the steering rack’s progressive steering ratio and the tuning potential of an electro-mechanical steering system is systematically exploited in the GTI to realise optimised steering behaviour that is sporty yet practical in everyday driving. In all other Golf cars, progressive steering is offered as an optional feature.

Exterior – features and styling

GTI insignia. Like all six Golf GTI generations before it, the seventh generation concept car being shown in Paris is distinguished from other Golf models by numerous additional equipment features and classic GTI insignia. On the exterior, these include the red painted brake callipers, a GTI-typical honeycomb structure for the air inlet screens, smoked LED rear lights including LED licence plate lighting as well as chrome 80 mm diameter tailpipes on the left and right. Some features have been characteristic since the days of the first Golf GTI, for example the production colours Red (“Tornado Red”) and “Black” and an optional white exterior (“Pure White” as special colour). Volkswagen has further developed the classic GTI wheels “Denver”, “Detroit” and “Glendale” whose styling characteristics from the previous model have flowed into the design of the new machine-polished 17-inch “Brooklyn” alloy wheels; they have a lighter visual look and are in fact lighter in weight. The wheels are fitted with 225/45 size tyres. 18-inch wheels will also be available on the GTI as an option.

GTI styling. Overall, the seventh generation Golf is also visually more dynamic than the previous one. The objective of the designers was to develop an even more striking and sporty character into the new Golf GTI – the goal was to give the GTI a lower, wider image with a more challenging character. Volkswagen Design developed numerous individual, detailed solutions for the new Golf GTI and integrated them harmoniously into the overall visual concept. Important here is the fact that the GTI-specific design elements are not simply “add-on” solutions, but are integrated into the overall design of the car. One significant reason for this is that the GTI was designed in parallel to the “normal” Golf – and this made it possible to coordinate perfectly the differentiating characteristics of the two model versions.

At the front end, with its LED fog lights specially customised for the GTI, a powerful and significant GTI element attracts attention, which has now been fully reinterpreted: the red stripe. In the first generation of the car it surrounded the rectangular radiator grille completely. On the sixth generation GTI there were two red stripes, which framed the grille at the top and bottom. Now, on the seventh generation car, the red stripe marks the lower edge of the radiator grille, but for the first time it extends further to the left and right, up to the housings of the bi-xenon headlights. So, the red line now runs completely across the front end.

In the far lower section of the bumper, beneath the crossbar painted in body colour, the black air inlet (with a honeycomb pattern screen) is no longer framed by a black area, rather by surfaces painted in body colour, which makes the air inlet stand out more powerfully. At the same time, the three lateral black aerodynamic fins beneath the headlights play a more prominent role in the front end styling. Another detail fitting in with the precisely contoured styling is the black splitter (lower edge of the front spoiler), which is familiar from motorsport. Also styled in black are the side sills and the rear diffuser. These quasi wrap-around black elements give the Golf, which is equipped with a GTI sport chassis (15 mm lower ride height), an even fuller stance on the road.

Another example of the harmonious integration of GTI-specific elements is the new roof spoiler design, which is considerably larger than its counterpart on Golf versions with less powerful engines and which is integrated to be flush with the bootlid and the body. For the first time, the sporty Volkswagen also has, in addition to the GTI badges at the front and rear, red plates on the front wings at the height of the character line with the same typographic interpretation of the GTI logo that has been used for decades.

Interior – features and appearance

GTI insignia in the interior. The very first GTI had this feature: seat covers in legendary tartan pattern. The sixth generation Golf GTI used “Jacky” fabric, and in the transition to the new GTI generation this has been redesigned and is now named “Clark”. Naturally, the tartan pattern was retained. The sport seats (in front, with sliding drawers under the seats) have exceptionally good ergonomic properties. Step in, sit down, adjust the backrest angle and the distance to the steering wheel, buckle up, and you’re all ready to drive. Nonetheless, the front seats also have height adjustment and a manually adjustable lumbar support. Red decorative seams in the area of the seats and the gear shift trim provide a sporty contrast; the black roofliner that is always part of the GTI emphasises the sporty layout of the interior.

GTI features. Along with its many standard features such as air conditioning, fatigue detection and the “Composition Touch” radio system (with CD card slot and AUX-IN interface), other GTI-specific features refine the standard version interior as well: typical of a Golf GTI are the customised sport steering wheel and a special gear shift grip. The latter is once again reminiscent of a golf ball, which also makes it a tribute to the first GTI just like the new leather-trimmed steering wheel design. The sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel with its three metal spokes and trim in high-gloss black has a lightweight look, and it is remarkably handy and easy to grip. On its two cross spokes it has multifunction keys as standard, and at its centre – in contrast to all other Golf steering wheels – it has a round impact absorber whose form is similar to that of the component in the first GTI.

Also making a strong statement is the GTI instrument cluster with a colour display and independent graphics of its instruments. It is no coincidence that it resembles high-end chronographs. The GTI-specific look of the interior is completed by red ambience lighting, special trim strips and panels (trim strips in the front doors with ambience lighting), brushed stainless steel pedals and foot rest (on left), door sill entry plates in front with a stainless steel application and ambience lighting that is also integrated here.

I’m in love!

VOLKSWAGEN JETTA HYBRID IS THE WORLDS FASTEST HYBRID

2013 Jetta Hybrid is worlds fastest

From Media.VW.com

Motor Trend magazine writer Carlos Lago runs 185 mph (298 kph) in turbocharged Jetta Hybrid to set Hybrid Speed Record at the Bonneville Salt Flats

Herndon, VA –  Volkswagen announced today that a 2013 Jetta Hybrid driven by Motor Trend Associate Road Test Editor Carlos Lago recorded a speed of 185.394 mph (298.363 kph) at the Bonneville Salt Flats, near Wendover, Nevada, during the Southern California Timing Association’s (SCTA) annual Speed Week. This is the fastest speed ever achieved by a production-based hybrid car on the famed Bonneville Salt Flats.“Achieving this speed at Bonneville shows that the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid is a distinctly different offering in the compact hybrid class,” said Jonathan Browning, CEO and President, VW Group of America. “As well as being expected to achieve combined fuel economy of 45 mpg, the Jetta Turbo Hybrid also retains the fun-to-drive nature you expect from a Volkswagen in a segment dominated by less exciting vehicles.”Lago drove a Jetta Hybrid specially modified to run according to SCTA rules. The all-new Jetta Hybrid marries a 1.4-liter turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder TSI® gasoline engine that generates150 horsepower with a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission and an electric motor that provides an additional 27 hp. The Jetta Hybrid is part of Volkswagen’s Think Blue® strategy, an initiative that encourages eco-friendly mobility and progressive ideas for responsible action in everyday life.To achieve the kind of horsepower needed to run at 185 mph (298 kph) at Bonneville, the powertrain was modified by Volkswagen R&D in Wolfsburg, Germany. Project integration and other modifications to enable the car to run safely on the salt were handled by A-Salt Racing and Advanced Product Engineering, based in Camarillo, California. The implementation and final calibration of the drivetrain in the car was supported by the engineers from the Volkswagen Test Center California in Oxnard, CA.

“We are really proud that our new Jetta Hybrid is the world’s fastest hybrid,” said Marc Trahan, Executive Vice President, Group Quality. “It was a real challenge to integrate the complex hybrid elements and generate the power needed to run at these speeds. The Jetta Hybrid Land Speed Record project shows both the sporty nature of our Hybrid offering and the technical excellence of our engineers in Wolfsburg and in the Test Center California.”

Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief Ed Loh commented: “It is a real honor to partner with Volkswagen in this project and we look forward to sharing this adventure with our 1.1 million magazine subscribers, our more than three million website unique users, and our increasingly popular YouTube channel. And we hope that we will be back at the Salt very soon to go even faster with the Jetta Hybrid.”

Stay tuned here as I’m going to be going to VW’s Jetta Hybrid training course in early October and will have a full write-up shortly after that!

Golf VII Photos and Info

First official images of VW’s best-selling car—and the first model off the new MQB architecture.

Herndon, VA –  Volkswagen today unveiled the new Golf, its best-selling car, at a press conference in Berlin, Germany. This seventh-generation version of one of the world’s most popular cars is striking in that it offers more features, even better safety, and more performance than the outgoing vehicle, while breaking the cycle of being heavier than its predecessor.

Overcoming the weight spiral
Indeed, the latest Golf is up to 220 pounds lighter than the outgoing car, thanks to careful focus on weight savings in all aspects of the car’s construction, from the electrical architecture through to the engines and the body-in-white. The air conditioning unit is, for example, six pounds lighter than the old car’s; the seats have shed 15 pounds; and the body-in-white is 51 pounds lighter. One major reason for the bodyshell’s weight loss is the extensive use of high- and ultra-high strength steels. The share of the high-strength steels overall has gone from 66 percent in the previous Golf to 80 percent in the new one. Of this, the share of ultra-high-strength steel has gone from six to 28 percent.

Better fuel efficiency
One benefit of lowering the Golf’s weight is better fuel economy: the European-market 1.4 TSI® that uses a 140-horsepower, turbocharged, 1.4-liter engine fitted with cylinder de-activation gets a European Cycle combined fuel consumption figure of 49 mpg, while the base 105-horsepower TDI® Clean Diesel engine delivers 62 mpg on the EC combined cycle.

Longer, lower, wider
The new Golf is 2.2 inches longer than the old car, with an overall length of 167.5 inches. Similarly, the wheelbase has grown by 2.3 inches to 103.8 inches. Since the front wheels are now located 1.7 inches further forward, the proportions are sportier, the crash structure is improved, and the interior package further optimized. The new car is 0.8 inches lower and 0.5 inches wider than the old car.

Improved interior
The new Golf is more spacious, with a passenger compartment that is 0.6 inches longer than before, giving 0.6 inches more rear kneeroom. Shoulder room is improved by 1.2 inches in both the back and front of the car. Cargo capacity has also been enhanced, while the load area is more accessible.

A key feature of the interior is a new infotainment system, which incorporates a five-inch touchscreen, even on entry-level European models. At the top end, the Golf features a navigation system which has a large, eight-inch touchscreen.

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The Golf 7 is expected to arrive in the United States as a 2014 model!  As usual, stay tuned to socalvwguy.com or facebook.com/socalvwguy for updates!
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