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VW unveils bigger (cheaper) Passat

2011-01-10 07:27

AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS HERO?: Set for its public debut at the Detroit auto show, VW’s new Passat is going after America’s heartland buyers.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer VW
Model Passat
Engine 2.0 TDI, 2.5 in-line five, 3.5 V6
Power 103-, 125-, 206kW
Torque 320-, 240-, 350Nm
Transmission Five-speed manual, Six-speed DSG
VW’s released images and details of its new Passat derivative, catering specifically for the American market.

This new Passat, which is 100mm longer than its current B7 series European sibling, will be built at VW’s Chattanooga plant in Tennessee.

Sporting a 2.8m wheelbase the new Passat is billed as offering best in class cabin comfort dimensions, reflecting its American market bias.

Winning the hearts of America's middle class

VW is keen to move its American product offering upmarket and a raft of new American built VWs are fundamental to executing this strategy.

Technically the new Passat will offer three powertrains (two petrols and a turbodiesel) when it goes on sale later in 2011.

At the range buy-in point VW’s venerable 2.0 TDi (103kW/320Nm) will drive the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Next up is VW's 2.5 five-cylinder petrol, available in either five-speed manual or six-speed (non-DSG) automatic guise, powering up to 125kW and 240Nm.

The new Passat’s range topping powertrain configuration will be badged VR6 with a 3.5-litre V6 worth 206kW and 350Nm, driving via a six-speed DSG.

Dynamically the new Passat is independently suspended at all four wheels, featuring a multi-link rear suspension to ensure premium ride quality.

The Passat cabin is not a radical departure from current VW fare in terms of design, with standard features tallying dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth hands-free capability. The options are keyless/pushbutton start, remote start and 18-inch wheels and tires.

VW's Camry killer

VW is determined to wrest market share in the mid-size four-door market from Toyota’s Camry and Honda’s Accord, thereby converting America’s biggest buying segment into a Wolfsburg branded product. To this end new Passat will be retailed with an amazing $8 000 aggregate price reduction when it goes on sale later this year Stateside.

It is unlikely the American built Passat will go on sale in Europe (where the nameplate is still a luxury car, and there is no need for a 'base' version). VW has not ruled out marketing the bigger Passat in other global markets. 


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