VW reveals the all-new Passat
Eighth generation of VeeDub's business-class luxury sedan is lighter, more efficient and has enough tech to make your head spin
As it stands, there is very little to fault with the current, seventh-generation Volkswagen Passat. It is well-made, offers comfortable back seats, has a fairly powerful diesel motor, and can park itself all by its own. Quite the perfect mix for the 40-something businessman who is usually looking to buy one.
Nevertheless, Volkswagen's brought out an all-new model. Codenamed the 'B8' to denote the Passat's eighth generation since 1973, this one, based on VW Group's super-malleable MQB platform, is actually shorter in length - by a massive 2 millimetres - but is lower, wider, and depending upon the specification, unto 85 kilos lighter than the outgoing car.
Despite the reduction in length, the passenger space has increased thanks to the lengthened wheelbase, which was stretched by pushing all four wheels as far out as they could without setting them so far out that the car didn't run on them anymore.
Visually, it's very similar to the current Passat, with the differences only visible to the keen eye. A chrome band runs over the radiator grille and the headlamps, which, by the way, can be equipped with halogen lights, or with LEDs. The rear sees tweaked tail-lights (again, LED-filled), and on more powerful variants, twin chrome exhaust finishers integrated into the bumper.
With this one, VW is trying to melt segment boundaries. The Phaeton has faded into oblivion, and in real-world terms, the Passat is the true flagship sedan for the brand. Which is why VeeDub has blessed it with loads of features. The adaptive headlamps can be equipped with Dynamic Light Assist, a feature which is very much like Audi's MatrixBeam trickery on the refreshed A8. Apart from that, there's… deep breath… Park Assist, Traffic Assist, Emergency Assist, Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert, Trailer Assist (useful for the camping-happy Brits) and Area View, which provides a 360-degree view of the car's surroundings.
Space has increased on the inside, but VW has also focused on making the interior an even more inviting place. So, the dash gets a unique single AC vent that runs along the length of the dashboard instead of the usual four separate vents. The instrument cluster is now fully digital, a head-up display is now available for the first time on a VW, and the tycoon in the rear seat can also entertain himself through a tablet paired to the car's multimedia system, mounted on the front seat backside.
A total of 10 engine options will be on offer abroad, all of them turbocharged, direct-injection petrols and diesels. Power outputs will range from 118bhp to 276bhp, and all engines will be mated to a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG, and will feature stop-start and regenerative braking tech.
What say you, dotcommers?