VW has released full details on the technology that will underpin the all-new Passat. Set to be fully-revealed on July 3 before making its public debut at the Paris Motor Show in October, the new eighth-generation Passat will be up to 85kg lighter than its predecessor, feature new 237bhp TDI BiTurbo and plug-in hybrid powertrains and be even more spacious than its predecessor.
With over 23 million units sold since 1973, the Passat is VW’s best-selling model ever, surpassing even the Beetle. And according Dr Heinz-Jakob Neuser, member of the board for the VW brand, it will be a “new benchmark in this segment”. No official photographs of the car’s exterior are available yet, but sketches shown during the presentation shows a strong family resemblance to the Golf, with a more coupe-like roofline that closes the gap between the Passat Saloon and the sportier CC variant.
The first VW Group product to be based on a stretched version of the MQB platform, the Passat will be up to 85kg lighter than its predecessor. That’s thanks largely to the use of high-strength vacuum-formed steels in the body – accounting for 33kg, as well as the chassis (9kg), powertrain (40kg) and electrics (3kg).
While the overall length is actually 2mm shorter than its predecessor, a longer wheelbase and shorter overhangs mean the passenger compartment is 33mm longer. The front seats have been dropped by 10mm, while rear passengers benefit from an extra 26mm of headroom. The boot in the Passat Estate has grown to 650-litres, up 47-litres on its predecessor, 50-litres more than the Octavia Estate and a massive 113-litre bigger than the soon-to-be-replacefd Ford Mondeo Estate.
An updated electronic tailgate system allows you to open the hatch by waving your foot underneath the bumper, and now closes and locks automatically when you walk away.
Handy 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats expand the space should you need it, while a dual-level boot floor and a section on runners – to help you slide heavy boxes from front to back – boost functionality. Drop the passenger seat forward and objects up toa maximum length of 2.85m can be loaded.
Under the bonnet the big news is the introduction of a new 237bhp 2.0 TDI BiTurbo engine with 500Nm of torque – a massive 62bhp and 120Nm more than the most powerful previous-generation Passat diesel. The engine will be offered in conjunction with a revised seven-speed DSG gearbox, reengineered to cope with 500Nm of torque, in a range topping four-wheel drive version, capable of returning around 53mpg.
Also confirmed is a plug-in hybrid version using the same modular powertrain as the Golf GTE. Combining a 154bhp 1.4 TSI engine with a 107bhp electric motor, it produces a total of 208bhp and 400Nm of torque, with an electric-only range of 31-miles and a total range of around 620-miles between fill ups. Fuel economy and CO2 emissions should be close to the Golf GTE’s figures of 188mpg and 35g/km.
Other engine options will include a 118bhp 1.6 TDI and a 2.0 TDI with either 148bhp, 188bhp or 237bhp. Petrol choices include a 1.4 TSI with 123bhp or 148bhp (the latter with ACT cylinder shutdown), a 177bhp 1.8 TSI or a 2.0 TSI with 217bhp or 276bhp.
A raft of high-tech options have been introduced, too, including full LED headlights that use an on-board camera to avoid dazzling other cars and illuminate around corners, as well as full-LED taillights as standard. The suite of driver assistance systems includes autonomous braking, emergency assist (which can bring the car safety to a stop if it detects the driver has fallen asleep or stopped controlling the car) and trailer assist to help with tricky parking manoeuvers. A new traffic jam assist function lets you crawl along automatically in a jam, following the car in front, while lane assist gently nudges the steering is you begin to wander between the lines.
A new progressive steering system, which increases the ratio depending on how far you turn the wheel, will be offered as part of a dynamic handling package either in conjunction with a sports chassis or DCC adaptive dampers. With progressive steering it takes 2.1 turns lock to lock, and 2.75 without it.
Interior technology now includes the latest MIB II infotainment system first seen on the facelifted Polo, with colour touch screen sizes ranging from 5.8 to 8.0-inches, while a new fully-configurable 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, using technology first seen on the new TT, has also been introduced.
Available as a saloon and estate initially, with a rugged Alltrack estate, a four-door coupe CC version and possibly a stylish shooting brake CC expected to follow later in the life-cycle, the new Passat will be available to order shortly after the Paris motor show in October. Prices are expected to start from around £21,000.