Posted in: Cars,
by Gregg Laskoski on Oct 17, 2012 02:30 PM
If you're concerned that hybrid vehicles may not give you maximum acceleration when you need it, this item may put that notion to rest...
At the Bonneville Salt Flats, Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid LSR returned October 5th to break the Southern California Timing Association’s (SCTA) H/PS land speed record. The class is for production cars with engines of less than 1.5 liters that use forced induction.
Motor Trend's Road Test Editor Carlos Lago averaged 186.313 mph over two runs during the SCTA’s World Finals event, eclipsing the previous record by 18.8 mph. In the course of making his second run, Lago averaged 187.147 mph for the last mile, beating the magical 300 km/h mark. This is also the fastest run recorded by a hybrid, beating the 185 mph milestone set by the same car back in August.
“We’re very proud that the Jetta Hybrid has not only posted the fastest speed for a hybrid at Bonneville, but that it has gone out and broken an SCTA land speed record as well,” said Jonathan Browning, CEO and President, Volkswagen Group of America. “Achieving this record at Bonneville shows that the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid is a distinctly different offering in the compact hybrid class, offering excellent fuel economy while retaining the fun-to-drive nature expected from a Volkswagen.”
Lago drove a Jetta Hybrid specially modified to run in the SCTA’s H/PS class. The all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid marries a 1.4-liter turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder TSI® gasoline engine with a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission and an electric motor. The combined output of the engine and electric motor is 170 horsepower, along with 184 pound-feet of torque.
Because the Jetta Hybrid runs in a production-car class, modifications are strictly controlled by the SCTA. The suspension was lowered, special Salt Flat wheels and tires fitted, and the interior was stripped and outfitted with full safety equipment, such as a rollcage, racing seat and harness, and a full fire suppression system. The powertrain is the area with the most freedom under the rules and was modified by Volkswagen R&D in Wolfsburg, Germany, in order to make the kind of horsepower needed to run at such high speeds at Bonneville—in this case, somewhere around 300 hp.
Carlos Lago, who drove the Jetta, said: “It was an honor to drive the car on the Salt—and also pretty exciting. Driving in a straight line may look easy, but it’s a real art to get the power down on the salt and you had better be paying attention to crosswinds, as they can really blow the car off course. Now I have the bug, I really want to become a member of the exclusive 200-mph club at Bonneville. Maybe next year?”
As exciting as that may be, if you're interested in pushing a Jetta or some other car to the same speeds, please do it in a controlled environment; do not speed on any public roads or highways.