The current Passat is beginning to show its age, but a replacement won't be on board until 2010

The current Passat is beginning to show its age, but a replacement won't be on board until 2010

Earlier this month while at the official drive event for the new Golf, High Gear Media managed to get an exclusive take on VW's plans for the still unnamed New Midsize Sedan (NMS), and how it will effectively replace the Passat for North America. Today, VW released a second sketch of the NMS that shows the first sketch's design theme carried forward, but reveals little of what we can expect of the production sedan outside of general themes.

The new sketch shows a fairly short hood, a more sedan-like profile than the previous sketch, and the same basic corporate front end that's become familiar with the new Mark VI Golf. The roofline is somewhat reminiscent of the Passat, but not enough to be confused for one. Which is a good thing, considering the Passat is going away with the arrival of the NMS.

The problem, says VW's U.S. president Stephan Jacoby, is that the Passat simply isn't suited to the distances Americans drive or the size of vehicle we prefer. That's why the NMS, a four-door built at the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, will offer a wider cabin and more rear seat legroom. It is also expected to start around $20,000.

The car has been previewed in sketches before (pictured), but a trio of new sketches were previewed in Germany today, revealing that the car will resemble the VW Quantum, meaning a lower rear roofline, tightly integrated front end and angular headlamps like those seen on the Mark VI Golf.

The Phaeton large sedan will also return to the U.S. soon, as we confirmed in Germany earlier this month. The Phaeton has been under consideration for a U.S. return for some time, with Jacoby thinking the market is once again primed, provided the maker learns from its past mistakes.

Read our previous story for more on the return of the Phaeton and what VW plans to do differently this time.