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.
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.