The Volkswagen Passat, which over the past 41 years has racked up over 23 million sales worldwide, is about to enter its eighth generation as VW have unveiled an all-new model in saloon and estate guise at their design HQ in Potsdam.
The latest Passat has been reinvigorated in every department, with a fresh design, advanced technologies and a new stable of powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid. With a decidedly more premium package, VW not only have their sights set on more traditional mid-sized family rivals such as the Ford Mondeo and the Toyota Avensis, but also aim to muscle in on the party reserved for more top-end competitors in the shape of the Audi A4 and the Mercedes C-Class.
The saloon and Estate models unveiled at VW’s design centre in Potsdam certainly give a few indications of just how the latest Passat will boast a touch more class than its predecessors.
The first point to note is the lower and wider stance of the new Passat, a clear deviation from its curvier precursor. The bonnet has been flattened out and the front and rear windscreens more steeply angled to create the noticeably sleeker profile. A new grille design debuts on the front fascia with the four chrome bars now squashed closer together, the lowermost of which extends into the considerably wider and leaner headlights. The same effect has been applied to the rear lights, set just above a prominent crease spanning the width of the rear section. This lends the saloon version a look slightly reminiscent of the more executive Phaeton.
Though the overall size of the new Passat is actually marginally smaller than the outgoing model, the interior is in fact now more spacious than before. VW say that leg-room, head-room and luggage space have all been increased and what is notable from the images supplied is the superior quality of the interior materials and styling, befitting with the new Passat’s more up-market ambitions. For example, the Active Info Display, mounted on a 12.3-inch TFT screen, provides an optional and premium alternative to the traditional instrument cluster.
On the technology front, the 2015 model will boast latest generation park-assist, effectively allowing the Passat to park itself in to perpendicular spaces, as well as a very practical world-first trailer assist system, which helps eliminate the faffing that often comes with reversing in to a tight space with a trailer attached.
For the first time ever, the Passat goes green, with the option of a plug-in hybrid offered as part of the engine range. Battery power alone will get you 31 miles, whilst the maximum combined range stands at closer to 600. On the flip side, Volkswagen’s new four-cylinder, 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel is far more performance-wired, delivering 237bhp and a healthy 370 lb/ft of torque. This engine will be available with a new seven-speed gearbox and all-wheel drive as standard.
The next port of call for the all-new Passat will be the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October. There, Volkswagen will reveal further details on UK spec and pricing before deliveries begin early in 2015.