Fat Pas­sat

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

VOLK­SWA­GEN is mak­ing a Pas­sat for the North Amer­i­can mar­ket. It will be un­like the Pas­sat for the rest of the free world. To be pro­duced later this year from its plant in Ten­nessee, the Pas­sat is big­ger to cater for the, er, big­ness of Amer­i­cans.

The wheel­base is up about 50mm on the Euro­pean and Aus­tralian-spec 2010 and up­com­ing 2011 Pas­sats (which share plat­forms, de­spite dif­fer­ent bod­ies) and the body is about 25mm longer.

Pow­er­plant op­tions are a 125kW/240Nm 2.5-litre five-cylin­der petrol and 205kW/350Nm 3.5-litre V6 petrol or — new for the US — Volk­swa­gen’s ubiq­ui­tous 104kW/320Nm 2-litre turbo-diesel.

The US Pas­sat goes on sale from about $20,000 — which is about half what we pay for the car.

Mean­while, Suzuki says it will spend $250 mil­lion to re­tool one of its Ja­panese fac­to­ries to make a new 660cc car en­gine, its first in this class for 16 years.

The en­gine, which may have in­put from Suzuki’s 20 per cent share­holder Volk­swa­gen, is de­signed to work with stop-start technology and achieve 4.4 litres/100km. That is 20 per cent bet­ter than its cur­rent en­gines.

Suzuki is aware of the de­mand for sub B-Class cars (Mit­subishi ‘‘i’’, for ex­am­ple) and the new en­gine will ap­pear next year in the MR Wagon be­fore rolling out into other small cars.

Toy­ota next year launches its IQ sub-B in Ja­pan and Subaru is ex­pected to up­grade its ex­ist­ing city­car range.

NEIL DOWL­ING

JUST a week af­ter the cloak of se­crecy was lifted from the up­com­ing Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, we also know how the next CLC coupe will look. The com­pact two-door, which is clos­ing on pro­duc­tion, is pic­tured dur­ing win­ter test­ing in Europe.

It shares the front-end update work of the new Benz four-door, but takes a new di­rec­tion be­hind the doors.

Carparazzi re­ports that the hatch­back tail of the ex­ist­ing CLC is gone and the new car is a more tra­di­tional coupe.

The cen­tre sec­tion of the car — in­clud­ing the roof, doors and win­dows — is all new and unique.

It’s not as rad­i­cal as the re­work of the E-Class Coupe, which is now very dif­fer­ent from the sedan and four-door SLS, but is in­tended to give the car a more up­mar­ket look.

It will also pro­vide more cabin space, one of the com­plaints about the out­go­ing CLC.

Carparazzi says the Euro­pean pric­ing of the C-Class Coupe is ex­pected to un­der­cut the four-door sedan, al­though there is no con­fir­ma­tion from Mercedes-Benz Aus­tralia of any de­tails.

Mean­while, the up­dat­ing work on the C-Class sedan will be con­firmed next week at the open­ing of the Detroit mo­tor show in the US be­fore full-scale sales.

The car is ex­pected in Aus­tralia in the sec­ond half of this year.

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