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New Volkswagen Passat revealed

The wraps have come off the eighth-generation Volkswagen Passat, revealing a sharply styled sedan that aims to reach beyond traditional large executive rivals and into the proper luxury segment. The new VW Passat will attempt to lay challenge to more up-market offerings in the form of the latest BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class.

Prices that are likely to increase slightly above those of the outgoing seventh-generation model in line with greater equipment levels and more up-to-date technical features. The new Passat is incrementally smaller but, thanks to the adoption of Volkswagen’s highly flexible MQB platform structure – as used by the Skoda Octavia and new Audi A3, is both roomier and more practical than the model it replaces.
 The new platform, which uses a combination of both high strength and hot form steel, also contributes to a lowering of kerb weight and, in combination with a new range of petrol, diesel engines – all lighter than their predecessor units, makes the Passat more efficient than before. The most economical of the launch models internationally, the Passat 2.0 TDI BMTI, is claimed to offer the very same official economy figures as the previous Passat’s 1.6 TDI BlueMotion engine. Appearing a good deal less rakish than an early batch of official sketches had suggested, the production version of the new Passat builds on the edgy look of its predecessor, albeit with flatter profile aimed at provided it with added visual length.
“The new Passat offers more value for money, because it transfers technologies and features into the mid-range segment, which are normally limited to up-market cars,” said Winterkorn. “It is designed to be a premium car without premium cost and it is designed to be eye-catching without envy.” The conspicuously unadorned exterior styling continues the clean and unembellished design language evident on other recent Volkswagen models. The technical link is further enforced by distinctive LED tail-lamps, which are standard across the line-up.
 The headlamps feature either a halogen or LED main beam function, depending on the model. Dynamic Light Assist, which automatically adjust the high beam without dazzling on-coming traffic, much like you’d see on the new Audi A8, is available among a long list of options. At 4,767mm in length, 1,832mm in width and 1,456mm in height, the new Passat is 2mm shorter, 12mm wider and 6mm lower than its predecessor, which originally debuted in 2005 as the sixth-generation model and was subsequently heavily facelifted in 2010, to create the seventh generation model.
 A combination of high-strength steel, hot formed steel and aluminium is used within the body structure, contributing to claimed 85kg reduction in weight over the seventh-generation Passat – some 21kg of which is pared from the body alone. In keeping with Volkswagen efforts to provide its new mid-range model with a more up-market positioning, it receives a stylish new dashboard facia and associated trims that boast higher quality materials than those of the old Passat.
Despite the reduction in external dimensions, Volkswagen claims the eighth-generation Passat possesses greater leg-, head- and shoulder room, both front and rear. In place of standard analogue instruments, buyers will be able to option the new car with an Audi TT-like configurable 12.3-inch TFT colour monitor that goes under the name Active Info Display.
The new Volkswagen also gains an optional head up display unit which uses a separate glass panel mounted within the top of the dashboard to project relevant information into the driver’s line of sight. The Passat also receives the latest Modular Infotainment System options, including Volkswagen’s Car-Net remote application for in-car connectivity. Internationally the new Passat will come with a wide range of new or upgraded four-cylinder direct injection petrol and common rail diesel engines – all complying to EU6 emission standards.
They are mated to either a six-speed manual or seven speed dual clutch gearbox with automatic stop/start and brake energy recuperation functions. Alongside standard front wheel drive, selected engines will also offer the choice of either standard or optional 4Motion four-wheel drive via a Haldex multi-plate clutch. The petrol line-up is planned to consist of three different engines. It kicks off with a 1.4-litre with either 123bhp or 148bhp in combination with Volkswagen’s Active Cylinder Technology that closes down the middle two cylinders on part throttle loads for added fuel savings. Also available shortly after launch will be a 1.8-litre with 177bhp as well as a 2.0-litre with 216bhp and 276bhp.
The diesels include a trio of 2.0-litre units in 148bhp, 187bhp and twin-turbocharged 237bhp guises. The latter possesses a solid 51kgm of torque at 1,750rpm and will be sold exclusively in 4Motion four-wheel drive guise, provides 0-100kph acceleration in 6.1sec and a 250kph top speed. Alongside conventional petrol and diesel engines, Volkswagen also plans to offer the new Passat with a plug-in petrol electric hybrid system overseas. It uses a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 154bhp in combination with a 107bhp electric motor and 9.9kWh lithium ion battery. It possesses an overall system output of 208bhp and provides an electric range that Volkswagen puts at “over 31 miles” and an overall range of “more than 600 miles”.
Volkswagen won’t be draw on further engines options, although the appearance of a new turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine in recent concept cars suggests the Passat may be in line to receive a new-generation VR6 unit as part of efforts to take it further up-market from its current positioning. “There is a lot of potential in the VR6 engine. We are continuing to develop it,” said Volkswagen’s head of petrol engine development, Fritz Eichler at the unveiling of the new Passat. Underpinning the new Volkswagen is a chassis featuring a 79mm longer wheelbase than the car it replaces, at ,2791mm. It also adopts tracks that are 31mm wider up front and 14mm wider at the rear at 1,584mm and 1,568mm.
The suspension, claimed to weigh 9kg less than before, uses a combination of MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear. Central to the Passat’s premium aspirations is a range of new radar and/or camera-based features. Volkswagen has confirmed the new car will offer upgraded versions of the 360-degree Area View and Park Assist functions – the latter allowing the car to automatically park itself forwards into perpendicular spaces. Among a long list of safety technology included either as standard or optional is Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert, which warns of traffic in your blind spot; Traffic Jam Assist, which automatically accelerates and slows the car in heavy traffic up to a predetermined speed; Emergency Assist, which can potentially stop the car when the driver is injured or incapacitated; and the latest generation of Volkswagen’s Front Assist system with City Emergency Braking, which optionally combines both radar and camera sensors to add pedestrian detection.

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