When the 2015 Volkswagen Passat launches locally - but not for about 12 months, as explained here by Volkswagen Australia managing director John White - it will be available in 132TSI guise with a 1.8-litre turbo petrol engine with circa 132kW/250Nm, and a 135TDI turbo-diesel expected to offer 140kW/400Nm from the same displacement.
Naturally with the launch so far away, pricing and full local details remain a little murky, though VW appears set on keeping the number of variants in its Mazda 6-rivalling range as simple as possible, in line with its broader brand strategy to trim the fat from its range.
Potentially there will be also be a range-topping 176kW/500Nm (the latter from 1750 rpm) 176TDI 4Motion twin-turbo diesel bahn-stormer with adjustable dampers that uses only 5.3 litres per 100 kilometres and goes from 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds.
As well, a 206kW/380Nm 4Motion and DSG-only petrol-powered version with a Golf R powertrain will launch in Europe in the first half of 2015, as will a 162kW version with a unit familiar from the Skoda Octavia RS.
Volkswagen Australia with neither confirm nor deny these cars’ futures locally, but our bets are on one or both being a strong consideration at the least. Tell your dealer if you’re keen for a modern twist on the R36 V6, which is no more due to emissions requirements.
The new Passat represent a sizeable step change for Volkswagen. The vast majority of components are new and not shared with the outgoing B7, in much the same way as the Golf Mk7 differs from the Mk6..
All told, ten new engines are offered globally, all of them Euro 6, direct-injected and turbocharged. The petrol-electric GTE plug-in will bump this number again when it arrives in 2015, albeit not in Australia. Naturally, the dregs of the range, including the 88kW diesel and 92kW petrol base models, have been overlooked for Australia. Likewise manual transmissions; expect our cars to be DSG automatic-only.
Our models will be seven- and six-speed DSGs respectively. Power will be sent to the front wheels on entry models and four wheels on the mooted 176TDI and top-spec 206kW/380Nm petrol versions.
Once again, expect to see range entry pricing kick off around $39,000 for the sedan (132 TSI) and a few thousand more for the wagon and/or diesel. Volkswagen may even cut this entry figure, although much of this depends on the strength of the AUD with the Euro as next year winds on.
Locally at present, the Volkswagen Passat starts from $38,990 plus on-road costs for the entry grade 118TSI while the range-topping V6 FSI Highline sells from $59,240.
The new Volkswagen Passat is only just launching in Europe, and while not be the biggest seller locally in VW’s range, it remains a vital cog nevertheless.
The Passat is actually one of the most successful model plates of all time, having sold more than 22 million since 1973, with 1.1 million including CC and Alltrack derivatives delivered in 2013 alone.
Needless to say then, the new eighth-generation B8 2015 Passat is a vital car for Volkswagen. The latest car to be spun off its ubiquitous MQB architecture after the Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia, it is the definition of ‘new from the ground up’, evolutionary styling notwithstanding.
Of course, it’s not just the Mazda 6 in the Passat’s sights. Looming large is the long-delayed Ford Mondeo (nee Fusion) due here in 2015, months before the Passat. Both are European in origin and pitched as semi-premium, so expect that segment to heat up next year.
Globally, Volkswagen certainly isn’t cutting any corners with the B8, which it builds in four factories through Germany (where Australia’s come from), the US and China. The company claims it introduces more group technology than any other car in its long history.
It also blurs the lines between premium and mainstream more than any other of the seven generations to come before it. In fact, company engineers claim one point is to push fellow VW Group Audi into making something even sharper with its new A4 and A6 models in response.
The new model, evolutionary in its styling, weighs up to 85kg less than the old car despite greater body rigidity, with savings coming from everything from the chassis, electricals, panels and most of all the engines. The engine range is also up to 20 per cent more efficient than before.
It’s also a tiny bit smaller than before, at 4767mm long (down 2mm) and 1456mm high (down 14mm), though it’s 12mm wider at 1456mm.
But because that MQB-derived wheelbase in 79mm longer, is gets both greater cabin room and smaller overhangs for the promise of greater dynamism. The boot is also bigger, up 40L on the Estate for instance, which climbs to 650L/1780L, or 21L to 586L on the sedan.
The new cabin is also fitted with premium touches such as ambient lighting and vents running horizontally across the length of the dash. Replacing the regular trip computer is an Audi-esque 1440 x 540 pixel, 12.3-inch Active Info Display that encompasses the digital dials and can display the car’s functions, multimedia and sat-nav under the driver’s eyes. A head-up display is also on the way.
Meanwhile, the 6.5 or 8.0-inch central touchscreens offer swiping and split-screen functions, a phone antenna booster, Wi-Fi hotspot, Mirror-linking with smartphones (only Samsung at present, and not for Australia until more phone brands are covered) and space for a sim card.
Standard equipment in Australia is not confirmed. However, the Comfortline mid-spec model in Europe, likely our base car in Australia, will get keyless-go, 12-way adjustable seats, leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, auto parking assist, satellite-navigation (likely) and low-speed autonomous braking with pedestrian recognition.
Highline versions swill get chrome touches, LED headlights and tail-lights, electric and heated leather seats and a 360-degree above view camera. Safety technology such as Trailer Assist, Traffic Jam Assist (an ability to face stop-start traffic autonomously by braking under 60km/h) and autonomous rear cross-traffic alert with also be offered.
Under the body sits all-round independent suspension (MacPherson front and four-link rear), a new progressive electromechanical steering system that reduces the lock-to-lock figure to 2.1 turns and a new XDS diff lock that brakes the inside rear wheel to negate understeer.
CarAdvice is currently driving the B8 Volkswagen Passat. Stay tuned for the review.