Most hybrid car drivers will tell you that their world is all about being gentle on the throttle, spending as much time as possible in that electric-only speed range even if it makes a family minivan look speedy. Volkswagen has just claimed a record for doing precisely the opposite: the 2013 Jetta Hybrid is reportedly the fastest production hybrid in the world, having come just shy of a verified 185.4MPH after an all-out assault on the Bonneville Salt Flats. The company did have to modify the sedan to reach the breakneck pace, tweaking the powertrain, wheels and interior to run safely on that atypical surface, but it isn't known to have bumped the 150HP output of the gas engine or the 27HP of the electric motor. We have a hunch that VW's title won't last for long, whether or not we see the claim as valid -- there are a few decidedly more performance-oriented hybrids rolling off assembly lines now and in the future. Still, until there's a more direct challenge, one of the world's more ubiquitous commuter cars is the hybrid speed leader.
VOLKSWAGEN'S JETTA HYBRID IS THE WORLDS FASTEST HYBRID
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."