Motor Trend has tested the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Nevada and found it to be fastest hybrid car on record.
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Associate road test editor Carlos Lago achieved a speed of 185.394 mph in a modified Jetta Hybrid during the annual Speed Week organized by the Southern California Timing Association's (SCTA).
The hybrid's powertrain - consisting of a 150-horespower 1.4-liter turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder TSI engine, a dual-clutch automatic transmission, and a 27-horsepower electric motor - had to be modified to conform to SCTA standards. This was done at Volkswagen's facility in Wolfsburg, Germany. The modifications needed to allow the vehicle to run safely on salt were carried out by A-Salt Racing and Advanced Product Engineering in Camarillo, California. Finishing touches and final calibrations were done by engineers from the Volkswagen Test Center California in Oxnard, California.
Lago provided a surreal description of driving on the flats. "Driving on the salt is like nothing else," he told Motor Trend. "It's totally different than asphalt because of the lack of traction, and also because of the absence of visual reference points. Accelerating past the quarter-mile markers gives you this intense tunnel vision. You're driving towards a blank horizon, just bare blue sky crashing into the white salt, and quickly passing these black boxes that mark your distance along the way. The exhaust blares behind you and the sound of air being pushed aside comes from everywhere else."
According to Motor Trend, the Jetta Hybrid's nearest hybrid competitor on the flats is a modified Toyota Prius that came in more than 50 miles-per-hour slower. A regular Porschce Panamera S Hybrid's top speed is 167 miles per hour.