Pas­sat, ev­ery­body say R

VW plays a new tune to cre­ate the R36, writes JAMES STAN­FORD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

MOST of the big brands have a go-fast divi­sion. BMW has M, Mercedes has AMG, Holden has HSV and Ford Aus­tralia has FPV.

In a bid to add some sauce to its brand im­age, Volk­swa­gen has cre­ated a tuning divi­sion of its own.

VW cars bear­ing an R are based on pro­duc­tion mod­els but have en­gine and sus­pen­sion up­grades and vis­ual mod­i­fi­ca­tions to show they are se­ri­ously sporty.

The first VW R car to ar­rive in Aus­tralia was the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion R32 V6 Golf in 2004. It was fast but or­di­nary, and was al­most im­pos- sible to live with thanks to its rock­hard ride. And it cost a bun­dle.

The im­proved cur­rent-gen­er­a­tion R32 V6 Golf ar­rived in 2006 and was fol­lowed by an R50 Touareg pow­ered by a diesel with 850Nm.

Now VW has given its Pas­sat the R treat­ment. The re­sult is the R36, avail­able as a sedan or wagon.

The R36 is at the top of the Pas­sat range and as such is not cheap: $64,990 for the sedan and an ex­tra $2000 for the wagon.

It has a di­rect-in­jec­tion 3.6-litre V6 with 220kW and 350Nm.

A six-speed dual-clutch DSG au­to­matic is stan­dard and there is no man­ual op­tion.

Its of­fi­cial fuel con­sump­tion fig­ure is 10.7 litres/100km — and this VW has ex­pen­sive taste, de­mand­ing 98 RON pre­mium petrol.

Power is fed through

all four wheels for max­i­mum trac­tion. VW says the R36 Pas­sat sedan can run from 0-100km/h in 5.5sec. The wagon needs an­other 0.2sec.

Take it to a race­track and you might find the R36 is elec­tron­i­cally lim­ited to 250km/h.

It has 18-inch rims and a spe­cial body kit com­plete with rear bumper cutouts for the dual ex­haust pipes.

The R36 has tuned sus­pen­sion that sits 25mm lower than usual, and up­graded ven­ti­lated disc brakes.

It doesn’t have a di­rect com­peti­tor. It is sub­stan­tially more ex­pen­sive than the Ford Mon­deo XR5 at $41,990 and the Subaru Lib­erty GT Spec.B, but is far cheaper than an Audi A4 3.2 qu­at­tro at $88,500.

Looking good: the new Volk­swa­gen Pas­sat R36 has had an en­gine and sus­pen­sion up­grade, is at the top of the range and costs $64,990.

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