Automotive

Volkswagen redesigns 8th-gen Passat from the ground up

Volkswagen redesigns 8th-gen P...
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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VW's new Passat is available with adaptive LED headlights
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VW's new Passat is available with adaptive LED headlights
VW tried to give the new Passat a more "premium" silhouette than the outgoing car
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VW tried to give the new Passat a more "premium" silhouette than the outgoing car
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The VW Passat Wagon
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The VW Passat Wagon
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The VW Passat Wagon
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The VW Passat Wagon
The VW Passat Wagon
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The VW Passat Wagon
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The VW Passat Wagon
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The VW Passat Wagon
The VW Passat Wagon
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The VW Passat Wagon
Although still sleek, the practical wagon roofline takes away some of the sedan's style
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Although still sleek, the practical wagon roofline takes away some of the sedan's style
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The analog clock in the dash is similar to that found in Mercedes' E-Class
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The analog clock in the dash is similar to that found in Mercedes' E-Class
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
A HUD is available on the new Passat
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A HUD is available on the new Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
VW wants the Passat to take on BMW, Mercedes and Audi
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VW wants the Passat to take on BMW, Mercedes and Audi
Despite having a lower roofline, VW claims there is more head and legroom for passengers in the new car
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Despite having a lower roofline, VW claims there is more head and legroom for passengers in the new car
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
A wide range of diesel and petrol engines are available on the new car
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A wide range of diesel and petrol engines are available on the new car
At the back, wider lights help make the car look lower and broader
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At the back, wider lights help make the car look lower and broader
Inside, the Passat can be optioned with an "adaptive driver display"
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Inside, the Passat can be optioned with an "adaptive driver display"
Luxury was a focus on the new Passat
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Luxury was a focus on the new Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
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The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
View gallery - 36 images

The phrase "all-new" is overused in the motoring world. In the world of platform sharing and gradual, evolutionary midlife changes, it's rare that a manufacturer releases a car that is new from the ground up. So when Volkswagen released its 8th generation Passat, you could be forgiven for questioning just how "new" it really was. But to write it off as a mere update would sell VW short, because the new Passat really has been redesigned from the ground up.

Despite having a wheelbase 79 mm longer than the model it replaces, the 8th-gen sedan is 2 mm shorter and up to 85 kg (187 lb) lighter than its predecessor. It's also lower than the old model, to give the car a better stance and help with handling.

As well as being lighter, the new Passat is a sleeker looking machine than the car it replaces, with a longer and lower bonnet line. VW has also moved the base of the windscreen back, to create a more "premium" silhouette, crucial if it is to take on BMW, Mercedes and Audi in the competitive mid-size class. Despite the lower roofline, VW claims that legroom, headroom and luggage space have improved over the 7th-gen model.

A wide range of diesel and petrol engines are available on the new car
A wide range of diesel and petrol engines are available on the new car

The Passat's "premium" silhouette is coupled with slimmer, wider LED taillights that are designed to emphasize the width of the car. Up front, optional adaptive headlights (similar to those featured on the new Mercedes CLS) can adjust their output to provide the brightest possible beam without dazzling oncoming cars.

Ensuring the 8th-gen Passat boasts a premium feel was a focus for VW, which is keen to take the Passat upmarket in Europe. Inside, it debuts the company's optional "Active Information Display," which replaces the speedo and rev-counter in the instrument binnacle with a customizable screen that can display details about navigation and radio, as well as speed and revs. This can be combined with a heads-up display that projects key info onto the windscreen to keep the driver's eyes on the road.

If you're the sort of person who struggles with tight car spaces, the new Passat may be the car for you. It has Park Assist, which is now able to park nose-forward in 90 degree spaces, as well as a 360-degree view camera that gives the driver a clear image of the situation around them at low speed. After all, you wouldn't want to scrape the Passat's sharp creases and prominent chrome grille, would you?

The analog clock in the dash is similar to that found in Mercedes' E-Class
The analog clock in the dash is similar to that found in Mercedes' E-Class

Although good looks and fancy tech is important, what's under the hood is still crucial for a new car's success. All of the Passat's engines are new to the model range, and are up to 20 percent more efficient than the units they replace.

Because diesel engines are key in Europe, the Passat will be available with a twin-turbo 2.0-liter engine, making 240 hp and 500 Nm of torque from just 1,750 rpm. The diesel will be combined with a 7-speed DSG gearbox and VW's 4MOTION All-Wheel Drive system. A plug in hybrid will also be available, with an electric only range of 31 miles (50 km). Petrol engines range from 88 hp to 276 hp in output, with the top-tier engines all coupled with a 7-speed DSG gearbox.

VW's new "Traffic Assist" system combines lane-keeping with radar cruise control to essentially drive the car at low speed. The driver must always have their hands on the wheel, however, so they're ready to intervene if something goes wrong.

The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat
The 8th-generation Volkswagen Passat

In the US, the current Passat is different from the model the rest of the world receives. While the new model will be sold in most markets, there is no word about whether the US will get it. In Europe, the car will make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show, and is expected to go on sale late in 2014.

Volkswagen's release video for the Passat is below.

Source: Volkswagen

View gallery - 36 images
6 comments
Nitesh Vasani
New Volkswagen Passat looks more sportier then its predecessor ...with tons of new features..
Daishi
Something I didn't know: The VW group owns VW, Audi, SEAT, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, Scania, Skoda, and MAN trucks. They are the biggest auto maker in Europe and 2nd largest in the world (GM is now 3rd).
HJ Toby
Could the styling be any more boring? A 2005 Corolla looks almost as good.
Al Stevers
Fantastic looking cars. Would love to be able to buy the station wagon in USA. I hope they can get a handle on their quality problems.
bergamot69
The cabin could be more inspiring- looks rather BMW-esque. Would be nice if VW were prepared to innovate rather than playing 'me too'.
zekegri
Make a camper type van with even close to the same specs and millions of US will buy them. Like the old hippie vans only made for family travel. Hello VW?