The wraps have finally come off the new eighth-generation Volkswagen Passat ahead of a debut at the Paris Motor Show in October. Designed by VW to go more upmarket, it's hoped the car's sleeker image and improved tech will help steer customers away from the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class.
With softer lines and an elegant sweeping profile, the new Passat is 14mm lower and 12mm wider than the outgoing model. The front end incorporates the brand’s new identity, with the three-bar chrome grille merging with the swept back headlights. At the back, a Phaeton-inspired rear end houses two chrome exhaust pipes which sit flush with the rear bumper.
Inside, technology and comfort have been the main focal points, with the conventional instrument cluster being replaced by a fully configurable 12.3-inch TFT display. Sadly, it will not be a standard feature but a separate 6.5-inch colour display in the centre console is fitted across the range.
Despite being shorter than the outgoing model – only by 2mm however – the new Passat offers more passenger space than before. That’s thanks to shorter front and rear overhangs, which allow the passenger compartment to be stretched by 33mm. There’s also more headroom as passengers sit lower to the ground and boot space is up by 21 litres, to 586. Space in the estate model has been boosted even further with boot capacity increasing by 47-litres, up to 650 litres.
Beneath the svelte new body, the Passat sits on a stretched version of the ubiquitous MQB platform helping shed 85kg from the weight of the car. Big changes continue with the engine options too, with fuel consumption being cut by up to 20 per cent. VW will offer a plug-in hybrid version of the Passat for the first time, with the 154bhp 1.4-litre TSI engine and 107bhp electric motor adopted directly from the Golf GTE. It will be available to UK buyers shortly after launch.
Another new arrival is a 237bhp 2.0 TDI BiTurbo engine, developing 500Nm of torque. It will be the new range-topping variant – offering 62bhp and 120Nm more than most powerful previous diesel engine – but available only with a DSG gearbox and 4MOTION all-wheel drive, returning a claimed 53mpg.
Likely to be more popular among fleet buyers is the 118bhp 1.6-litre TDI along with the 148bhp and 188bhp versions of the 2.0-litre TDI – all of which are availble from launch. Official pricing will be announced at the Paris Motor Show but a small premium over the outgoing model is expected. Prices should kick off at around £22,000.
Click to page two for full details on the engines, technology and interior.