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Spy shots: Next-gen VW Passat test-mule hits the ‘Ring

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New Passat will be positioned more upmarket in order to compete with the likes of BMW’s 3-Series and the Audi A4

New Passat will be positioned more upmarket in order to compete with the likes of BMW’s 3-Series and the Audi A4

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Volkswagen's next-generation Passat is expected to up the stakes against Germany’s luxury carmakers, with the car’s designers hoping it will be mentioned in the same breath as the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes Benz C-Class and Audi A4.

These are the first spy shots of a test-mule for the new car, revealing a longer and wider platform. Clear giveaways on this test-mule, hidden beneath the sheet metal of the current model, are the extended wheel arches and a stretched B-pillar. Though the new car will be larger than the outgoing one, the use of lightweight materials in its construction should ensure a lighter kerb weight and improved mileage.

Under the hood, a replacement for the VR6 engine will be in place, putting out close to 300hp (224kW) from a displacement of 3.0L. To improve mileage and maintain power, the new engine will also be using direct injection, while the rest of the powertrain lineup is expected to benefit from some form of forced induction as well. Other models will include a new hybrid as well as a high-performance diesel with AWD.

To give the Passat some much needed panache, VW will be pulling out all the stops to make the next-generation a technological showcase, with features that should have the traditional German luxury marques feeling a little worried.

Expected to debut in late 2011 as a 2012 model, the next-generation Passat is tipped to feature a host of new technologies, including airless tires, a wiperless window cleaning system, and an advanced user interface. There may also be an electronic stability system with a feature that automatically offers counter-steering assistance in adverse driving conditions.

One year after the launch of the Passat sedan will be the station wagon. This will be followed closely by a new high-performance model to replace the current R36.
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Comments (6)
  1. "it will be mentioned in the same breath as the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes Benz C-Class and Audi A4."

    Two questions, do they really think the Passat will be in the same class as the BMW 3 series and MB C-class? And second question, if VW and Audi are in the same corporation, why would they want cars from the same parent competeing against each other, isn't that over-lap and such?
     
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  2. second question, if VW and Audi are in the same corporation, why would they want cars from the same parent competeing against each other, isn't that over-lap and such?

    If that was the case they wouldnt of been selling the passat and the audi a4 ( audi 80 as it was ) side by side for years, nor would they be selling the audi R8 and any Lamborghinis alongside each other. But as all car companies are run by accountants then this will continue to happen as more variations on the same sector of cars from companires all owned by a sole parent means more profits.
     
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  3. Yeah cause that worked out for GM real well
     
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  4. @ Suggs

    For most of those competing years, the VW Passat was Audi 80 "light." If you wanted an Audi 80, but couldn't afford it, you could get that same quality and a good handful of the same features in the VW Passat (or Dasher/Quantum in the Seventies and Eighties).

    The 80/90 and the VW B chassis shared a lot of parts, but the B cars usually were de-optioned in the engine and transmission department, with more emphasis on economy and less on power and speed. You had different interior options as well, again keyed to that "Luxury Economy/Audi Light" market.

    It's a recent phenomenon to have VW trying to directly compete with sister-corporation Audi in both quality and options, which I can't say I feel is a good development. But then, I am a pro-specialization person...
     
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  5. How about a Passat coupe to battle A5 & BMW 3s?
     
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  6. Great post.Setting apart the Speed from previous Apollo models are bigger wheel arches, a new front splitter and revised air intakes. However, development of the car is far from complete as evidenced by this prototype version spotted testing at the Nurburgring in Germany...
     
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