Passat, everybody say R
VW plays a new tune to create the R36, writes JAMES STANFORD
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.