Unveiled at the Volkswagen Design Centre in Potsdam, Germany, the all-new Passat is the eighth-generation of the model, which over the past 41 years has been sold in over 23 million units worldwide.
The new Passat features a total weight reduced by up to 85 kg and fuel economy figures improved by up to 20 per cent. The model will be also available with a plug-in hybrid drive system.
Compared to the outgoing model, at 4,767 mm the new Passat is two millimetres shorter, while the wheelbase is 79 mm longer at 2,791 mm and therefore the body overhangs significantly shorter.
At the same time, the Passat is 14 mm lower at 1,456 mm, and 12 mm wider at 1,832 mm. Because of the optimized engine orientation, it was possible to lower the hood and shift the windscreen towards the rear.
As a result, the new Passat has a more dynamic look and the and the ‘cab backward design’ helps to create the impression of a premium-class car.
The surface treatment makes use of precisely drawn edges and creases: in particular, the main side character line originates from the front wheel-arch rather than the headlight, which enhances the muscular front fender.
At the front, the new Passat’s radiator grille features four chrome bars which bend inward towards the headlights in a trapezoidal shape. The lowermost chrome bar of the grille is continued into the headlights.
At the rear the cab has a strong inward sweep, and at the bottom it transitions into the wide, flared shoulder section.
The rear lights have been made considerably wider and leaner. In this area, the Saloon looks like a young sibling of the Phaeton with its large bootlid surface, and a distinctive crease beneath the rear lights that extends across the rear.
All models of Passat have LED rear lights, while the higher-specification versions feature a distinctive horizontal tail light signature that switches over to a vertically oriented brake light signature under braking.
Headlights are halogen or LED. In conjunction with Dynamic Light Assist, one of the two LED headlight options automatically adjusts the beam for maximum illumination of the road without dazzling other traffic.
Despite exterior dimensions that are actually marginally smaller than those of the previous Passat, interior space is improved, with more leg- and head-room, as well as increased luggage space.
The interior has been developed to match the sophisticated exterior of the eighth-generation Passat. New technologies to be offered on the new Passat include the optional Active Info Display, which replaces the instrument cluster with a fully configurable interactive 12.3-inch TFT display; a heads-up display; the latest Modular Infotainment System, including the Car-Net remote app; a further-developed 360-degree Area View function; and the latest generation of Park Assist.
This newly developed Park Assist includes the option for the car to park itself forwards into perpendicular spaces – useful, for example at supermarket car parks, where access to the boot is important. It also includes a world-first Trailer Assist system, which provides assistance when reversing a vehicle with a trailer attached – without the need for any modification or adaptation of the trailer.
Safety technology includes Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert; Traffic Jam Assist which makes stop-and-go driving more comfortable; Emergency Assist, which can potentially halt a vehicle when the driver is incapacitated; and the latest Front Assist system with City Emergency Braking, which optionally combines both radar and camera sensors to add pedestrian detection.
A highlight of the Passat’s new range of engines is a high-performance, four-cylinder, 2.0-litre, bi-turbo diesel delivering 240 PS and 500 Nm from 1,750 rpm.
This engine will be available only with a new seven-speed DSG gearbox and 4MOTION all-wheel drive. A plug-in hybrid model will also be offered, with potential to travel 31 miles on battery power alone, and with a maximum range of around 600 miles.
Sales will start before the end of the year, with first deliveries expected in early 2015.