The VW Passat is the most important model in the Volkswagen range - after the Golf – and Auto Express can bring you exclusive images and details of the new 2015 car.
When the current MkVII Passat was launched in 2011, it was more of a visual refresh than an all-new model. But this time, VW will put its full engineering weight behind a family of new Passats sitting on VW’s modular MQB platform. This will include a new CC and CC Shooting Brake, but the saloon and spacious estate – revealed in our exclusive images – are due to arrive at the Paris Motor Show in September 2014, before going on sale in the UK in early 2015.
The images are based on two test cars (codenamed B8) spotted by our spies in Germany. Despite the heavy disguise, they clearly retain the current car’s profile, but with shorter overhangs, a longer wheelbase and a wider track.
The increase in dimensions is due to the MQB chassis, which means the VW Golf and Passat will share mechanicals for the first time. The new chassis will ensure the Passat is at least 90kg lighter than at present, too, improving economy and CO2 emissions.
An insider has revealed VW is set to take a new design direction, inspired by the CrossBlue and Sportsvan concepts. And you can see the grille forms a single line with slim new headlight clusters.
The wider track gives a more powerful stance, but the car keeps the classic proportions and clean, simple lines VW is famous for. A sportier, more adventurous look will be reserved for the new CC.
Buyers demanding ultimate efficiency will have the option of a plug-in hybrid, mixing a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with a lithium-ion battery pack to give near-150mpg economy and emissions of less than 60g/km. That should keep the Passat ahead of Mazda’s new 6 and the delayed Ford Mondeo.
Some engines will be shared with the Golf, but there are rumours of a new twin-turbo 2.0 TDI diesel that produces well over 200bhp and plenty of torque, hence why this car will be offered with 4MOTION four-wheel drive only. Another possibility is a hot Passat R using the new ‘VR6’ engine from the CrossBlue Coupé – which can be hooked up to a hybrid system, or tuned for well over 400bhp and coupled with four-wheel drive.
The estate will be one of the biggest ever, with a boot close to 670 litres, while all Passats are set to get a smart, minimal interior design with improved touchscreen tech that exceeds what's currently offered in the Golf. Material quality will vary by market, with the best finish saved for Europe and a cheaper, simpler layout for Russia and the US.
Volkswagen knows the large family car class is shrinking, and to stay competitive, the brand plans to spin several new bodystyles off the larger version of the MQB platform.
So the next generation of the svelte CC four-door coupé will share some of its DNA with the Skoda Octavia Coupe, although the VW’s not due to go on sale until 2016.
The exterior will exaggerate those sleeker looks, with a sharply sloping roofline, a slimmer grille and redesigned front and rear lights to distinguish it from the saloon.
Expect high-quality materials and more kit inside, as well as powerful engines cherry-picked from the VW line-up. The 3.0-litre VR6 twin-turbo from the Design Vision GTI concept could also debut in the sporty new CC.
As well as introducing a bolder CC, VW will follow premium brands like Audi, Mercedes and BMW with a Shooting Brake estate version. This new bodystyle will keep the sharp looks and hi-tech gadgets of the saloon, but offer better headroom and a practical boot to meet the demands of family buyers.
The CC Shooting Brake won’t match the Passat Estate for load space, and will be more exclusive, although it should get the same powerful engines as the regular CC. Expect a twin-turbo 2.0 TDI with over 200bhp to be the star performer, with 0-60mph in around 7.5 seconds and 50mpg-plus economy.
One thing that’s less clear is whether VW will offer this new model with four-wheel drive, or whether the off-road transmission will be reserved for the Passat Alltrack.