Volkswagen is mulling how best to develop a new sedan, which should appear before the end of the decade, that will sit between the Passat and next-gen Phaeton.
The two primary markets for this Passat-Phaeton-splitting sedan will be China and the US. In both of these markets the sedan body shape is popular and large cars still fare relatively well.
What mix of components will form the basis of this new car has yet to be determined. According to the German magazine, there are two scenarios that Volkswagen is currently considering.
The first option involves using a stretched version of the second-generation cost-down North American Passat (first-generation version pictured above). This car is scheduled to start rolling out of the company's plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee from 2017.
An uber-Passat built this way would have an attractive sticker price, and would be relatively cheap to design and engineer. One potential sticking point is the lack of a suitable V6 engine.
All of the uber-Passat's competitors in the US — such as the Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera and Nissan Maxima — all feature V6 motivation in a majority of specifications.
Volkswagen has stopped development work on the narrow angle VR6 engine, so a replacement motor is required. A possibility suggested by AutoBild is for the uber-Passat to utilise Audi's 3.0-litre V6.
The other option is to use the Audi A6 (above) as the basis for the new car. The advantages of this method include a selection of ready-to-use drivetrain options, including four- and six-cylinder diesel and petrol motors.
An A6-based vehicle will be more expensive to build and sell, but this, in its own way, would make it a better fit for Europe. Although, if Volkswagen were to market the uber-Passat in Europe, a wagon body style would almost certainly be required.