Salt Flats Speed Record For Jetta Hybrid

A 2013 Volkswagen 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 company did not divulge what changes were employed, but no doubt aside from the aerodynamic wheel covers, it had more than a few tuning tricks under the hood as the spec sheet for the production car would not add up to anything close to 185 mph.

The all-new Jetta Hybrid aimed at dealer showrooms marries a 1.4-liter turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder TSI gasoline engine that generates 150 horsepower with a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and an electric motor that provides an additional 27 hp (20-kw).

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, Calif.

“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.”


  • Van

    In the showroom version, with a combined EPA rating of 45 MPG, it would be interesting to get the zero to 60 time. 150 plus 27 seem quite robust when compared to an Insight (98 plus 13) or a Prius (134 combined).