While North America is stuck with the (rather unexciting) market-specific Passat “NMS”, Europe and the rest of the world are getting an all-new, eighth-generation global model.
The car is 85 kilos (187 pounds) lighter thanks to a move VW’s new MQB platform and features 10 new diesel and petrol/gasoline engines — changes that bring about a rather impressive 20 percent improvement in fuel economy. Add to that a bevy of the latest tech for driving assistance, convenience, and infotainment, a new plug-in hybrid model, and looks that put segment rivals to shame, and the new Passat is a heck of a vehicle.
“This Passat heralds in a new era: when it comes to design and proportions, engines and drive systems, Infotainment and assistance systems or when it is a matter of safety, convenience and driving pleasure,” explained Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen.
For the sake of clarity, let’s call this model the new Euro-spec Passat.
So, the new Euro-spec Passat continues the tradition of being offered in saloon/sedan and estate/wagon body styles. The exterior design is significantly more dramatic thanks to a lower body, longer wheelbase, and larger wheels. At the same time, the vehicles include the latest technologies such as Active Info display (a fully digital instrument cluster), extendible head-up display, as well as systems such as an app-based Rear Seat Entertainment for tablet computers, Front Assist plus City Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring, and Emergency Assist (vehicle stops in an emergency), Trailer Assist (assisted maneuvering with a trailer), and Traffic Jam Assist.
Consisting of 10 direct injected turbocharged petrol/gasoline and diesel engines, the powertrain range varies from from 88 kW / 120 PS to 206 kW / 280 PS. All of the engines meet Euro 6 emission standards, and both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions were lowered by up to 20 percent. All versions are equipped with a stop-start system and a regenerative braking mode. Meanwhile, the new Passast GTE plug-in hybrid model is made up of a 115 kW TSI petrol engine plus 80 kW electric motor with an externally-chargeable battery. Total system power output is 155 kW / 211 PS, making it Volkswagen’s most powerful plug-in hybrid and a genuine zero emission vehicle with an all-electric range of 50 km (31 miles).
Advance sales for the new Passat begin on Thursday, July 10th. Prices start from €25,875 for the saloon/sedan and €26,950 estate/wagon. Meanwhile, North American consumers will have to make do with the market-specific Passat “NMS”, which is larger, cheaper, less tech-laden, and less fun to drive.