A Volksie for all seasons
Wheels accepts the challenge to match the factory’s claimed consumption in the 1,4 Passat.
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.
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.