A Volk­sie for all sea­sons

Wheels ac­cepts the chal­lenge to match the fac­tory’s claimed con­sump­tion in the 1,4 Pas­sat.

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

I HAVE friends in both Se­cunda and the for­mer Wit­bank, both towns with at­mos­pheres so pol­luted that res­i­dents can suck on the so- called dirty air from a Volk­swa­gen’s tail pipe when they want to get some fresh air.

I say “so- called dirty” be­cause the cur­rent Volk­swa­gen dirty air scandal re­ally is a tiny first world prob­lem not even on par with hav­ing slow broad­band.

Its only when you con­sider the sheer hubris of the ex­ec­u­tives who did not hes­i­tate to cheat the Amer­i­cans that the VW im­broglio be­comes more size­able. And con­sid­er­ing how Amer­ica con­stantly re­fuses to sign any in­dus­trial pro­to­cols that will help re­duce emis­sions to slow down global cli­mate change, even their hubris re­mains rel­a­tive in size — about as big, for ex­am­ple, as spend­ing millions of tax­pay­ers money to fix up your palace and then plead­ing ig­no­rance.

Which is why, when the Wit­bank mates asked ad­vice on a good car, I did not hes­i­tate to rec­om­mend a Volk­sie.

Of course the best Volk­sie you can buy right now is the Bu­gatti Vey­ron. The Guin­ness World Records lists the Su­per Sport Vey­ron as the fastest street- le­gal pro­duc­tion car in the world, with a top speed of 430,9 km/ h, while Wikipedia has the road­ster Vey­ron Grand Sport Vitesse model as the fastest road­ster in the world, reach­ing an av­er­aged top speed of 408,84 km/ h in a test on April 6 2013.

But as the Pointer Sis­ter sang, speed is not ev­ery­thing. En­ter the VW Phaeton, ar­guably the sec­ond best Volk­sie out there.

This un­der­stated sedan has all the mod cons you could wish for, shares a plat­form with the Bent­ley and a driv­e­train as used by the Audi A8, and has enough sump­tu­ous power to drive as but­tery smooth as any new Rolls. But the only ones on sale in SA are used, and the mates’ eyes wa­tered a bit at the R304k price for a 2004 model.

Which brings us to the new VW Pas­sat. It ticks all the boxes a ris­ing exec can want, with just enough flash to show you are now stand­ing at the uri­nal with the big boys, but also just con­ser­va­tive enough to re­as­sure the clients they are not pay­ing for your premium car habit. Now dealer prin­ci­ple at VW Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, Keith Abrahams has chal­lenged Wheels to match the fac­tory con­sump­tion from the 1,4.

Hear how it rates against the Audi A4 on our sis­ter pro­gramme, on Cap­i­tal 104 on Satur­day from 9- 10, when Brian Bas­sett will tune you straight.

Do stay dailed in.

PHOTO: QUICPIC

The de­sign of the VW Pas­sat has come a long way from the 70s wedge ( top right) and those 90s curves ( top left) to the edgy mod­ernism of today ( left), but it is un­der the hood where the best changes were made. A tiny 1,4 en­gine makes bakkie- loads of power — 110 kW and 250 Nm — but with a claimed fuel con­sump­tion of only 5.3 l/ 100km, which we are try­ing to match this week. Watch the space.

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