Flat-out Fast: Jetta Hybrid sets speed record at Bonneville Salt Flats

When you think “hybrid,” you probably don’t think “land speed record.” It’s a good thing no one ever told us that, because a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid recorded the fastest speed ever achieved by a hybrid car on the famed Bonneville Salt Flats, reaching 185.394 mph (298.363 kph).

Since 1914, the Bonneville Salt Flats have been a place where everything that rolls—from hot rods to motorcycles to trucks and more—tries to roll as fast as possible. The Jetta Hybrid raced across the flats—or, as they say in Bonneville, “shot the salts”—near Wendover, Nevada as part of Southern California Timing Association’s (SCTA) annual Speed Week. Motor Trend Associate Road Test Editor Carlos Lago was behind the wheel for the record runs.

The Jetta Hybrid that Lago drove was specially modified to meet SCTA regulations. To add the kind of horsepower needed to reach more than 185 mph, the powertrain was modified by Volkswagen RD in Wolfsburg, Germany. And since the Jetta Hybrid is designed to run on asphalt instead of salt, various safety mods were handled by A-Salt Racing and Advanced Product Engineering in Camarillo, California.

The production version of the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid will be available in the States later this year. It marries a 150-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder TSI® gasoline engine with a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission and an electric motor that adds an extra 27 horsepower. Salt not included, but spice comes standard.

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