Passat platform ticket
IT’S more than a year until sales begin but Volkswagen still wants us to get excited about the eighth-generation Passat.
It has just released the first official pictures of the new sedan and wagon with the promise of a more familyfriendly hauler. The weight saving is up to 85kg and economy is to improve by up to 20 per cent. There is also the prospect of a plug-in hybrid and new 500Nm twin-turbo diesel.
Overall, the car is slightly smaller but, thanks to an extra 80mm in the wheelbase, passenger space promises to be significantly better than today.
The car won’t go public until the Paris motor show in October so pricing, engines or equipment — including a vital rear-view camera — for Australia are moot points.
But early details point to a massive improvement over the current Passat. Its mechanical foundation is the MQB platform that’s under the award-winning Golf. The platform eventually will underpin more than two dozen VW Group models.
“It’s a very early preview,” says VW Group Australia spokesman Karl Gehling. “One of the advantages of the MQB is packaging efficiency. It will create a more spacious interior. The platform was developed to accommodate everything from the Polo to a mid-sized SUV.”
That’s a clear hint of a new VW model between the Tiguan and Touareg. Gehling says only that an all-new Tiguan will be the next MQB model but not before 2016. Audi already has its A3 on that platform and Skoda has done the Octavia.
So, for now, the focus is on a car that runs fifth in VW sales down under after the Golf, Tiguan, Amarok and Polo, with great potential for sales growth.
Surprisingly, the Passat wagon sells better in Australia. “Our diesel is the most popular engine and the wagon has always been very strong here,” Gehling says.
The body design is lower and wider, with the windscreen set further back behind a lower bonnet. The dashboard is cleaner and more up-market, there are LED rear lamps and a huge range of new safety and infotainment kit, still to be confirmed for Australia.
The line-up runs from Emergency Assist, which can potentially halt a vehicle when the driver is incapacitated, to an optional Active Info Display, replacing the instrument cluster with an interactive 12.3-inch TFT display.
Gen eight: Passat sedan and wagon will arrive in Australia in late 2015