Paris preview: Euro-spec 2015 Volkswagen Passat GTE

The gas-electric Passat plug-in hybrid returns 117 mpg in a mixed European cycle.

Volkswagen has announced it will introduce a plug-in hybrid variant of the new Euro-spec eighth-gen Passat at next week's Paris Motor Show.

Called Passat GTE, Volkswagen's latest plug-in hybrid is powered by a gasoline-burning 1.4-liter TSI four-cylinder engine that works jointly with a compact electric motor. The two power sources send a total of 218 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

A lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the rear seats allows the GTE to operate on electricity alone for up to 31 miles at speeds of up to 81 mph. The pack can be charged in a little over four hours when plugged into a regular household outlet or in about two and a half hours when plugged into an optional 360-volt quick charger. Alternatively, a brake energy recuperation system can charge the pack on the go.

With both the TSI and the electric motor running, the Passat GTE returns 117 mpg in a mixed European cycle and boasts a total driving range of over 620 miles. It can sprint from zero to 60 mph in less than eight seconds when fuel economy is not a concern and reach an Autobahn-friendly top speed of 138 mph.

The GTE stands out from a stock Passat with a thin strip of blue trim that stretches across the front end, a Golf GTI-inspired lower bumper with C-shaped LED daytime running lights, model-specific 17-inch alloy wheels and GTE emblems on both ends. The GTE is available as both a sedan and a station wagon.

The interior has been upgraded with blue ambient lighting, a leather-upholstered flat-bottomed steering wheel with blue contrast stitching and brushed aluminum trim on the dashboard. The hybrid comes standard with a GTE-specific infotainment system that provides real-time information about the drivetrain such as how much juice is left in the battery.

After debuting in the French capital, the Volkswagen Passat GTE will go on sale across Europe next year. Volkswagen is not currently planning on offering the gas-electric sedan in the United States.

Stay tuned to Leftlane for live images of the Passat GTE straight from the show floor in Paris starting next Thursday.

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