In an effort to drum up enthusiasm for its relatively slow-selling Passat mid-size sedan, Volkswagen revealed to us that it is toying with the idea of a more sport-oriented model intended to resonate with enthusiasts.
The automaker's increasingly autonomous North American region showed us an internal concept being housed at its Chattanooga, Tennessee development center earlier this week.
Although we agreed not to take photos inside of VW's facility, we can describe what we saw: a white Passat with black mirrors, a black-painted roof, a black lip spoiler on its deck lid, black badging, revised tail lamps and red accents on its fascia and brake calipers. Those hints of bright red, which serve as a visual link to the vaunted GTI, were repeated around the interior's air vents. A black headliner and carbon fiber-esque interior trim completed the look.
2016 Volkswagen Passat
VW told us that the concept is designed to be more visually stimulating than its current R-Line styling package most recently tweaked for 2016 (shown here) while offering more dynamic handling. To that end, VW lowered the car's suspension by about 20 millimeters, but the automaker's engineers didn't tell us if any other chassis changes—like special shocks and bushings or upgraded brakes—were part of the package.
Under the hood, VW says it is debating between its higher-volume 1.8-liter turbo 4-cylinder or its 3.6-liter V-6, the latter good for about 280 horsepower. That said, VW's 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo also fits under the Passat's hood and might make a nice, exclusive compromise.
For now, the concept remains a study that hasn't been approved by management back in Wolfsburg. But as one of few players in the mid-size sedan segment without a properly sporty trim level, a more dialed-in Passat seems like it should be an easy sell to the home office.