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Passat

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Volkswagen Passat Performance Concept

As part of its Passat sedan, though it’s strictly conceptual for now. A small dose of go-fast visuals have been added to the handsome Volkswagen, including 19-inch wheels, carbon-capped mirrors, an advanced front lighting system, LED taillamps and dual exhaust. Some carbon bits and upgraded leather are found inside the cabin, as well.

But the real performance chops come in the form of a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that sends 250 horsepower to the Passat’s front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. That’s a good boost in power over the 170 hp of the base 2.5-liter inline-five, but not quite as potent as the 3.6-liter VR6. A lowered sport suspension and revised electronic steering are also on hand, making things slightly more involving out on the road… we assume.

It’s not quite the performance concept we were hoping for, but a more enthusiastic Passat isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Comments

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The last time Volkswagen moved this many vehicles in America in one year, Richard Nixon was still a President in good standing, Let It Be was a radio hit and each car wearing the VW badge boasted an air-cooled engine. That’s right, with a grand total of 580,286 vehicles sold in the US last year, the VW Group has broken its own four-decades-old sales record by 2,899 vehicles.

Of that 580k total sold, 438k were Volkswagens and 139k were Bugatti, we’re told is “right on track.”

Passat also finished very strong with sales of 117k total. Tiguan also racked up its best year on file, with 31,731 models shifted.

The company expects what it is calling “moderate growth” for the 2013 sales year ahead, though perhaps not at so blistering a rate as it racked up in 2012. Comments

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Volkswagen Passat Performance Concept

Ahead of its official unveiling at next week’s Volkswagen has released some preliminary details and images of its Passat Performance Concept – a car that, as its name suggests, adds a little more spice to the automaker’s midsize sedan formula. VW makes no mention of any production intent for this road-ready-looking sedan, simply stating that the Performance Concept is a way to “explore this practical four-door’s sportier side.”

It certainly doesn’t look too sporty, the only visual upgrades being larger 19-inch wheels, dual exhaust, bi-xenon headlamps with VW’s Advanced Front Lighting system, LED taillmaps and carbon-look mirror caps. Inside, there are carbon interior accents and two-tone leather upholstery. But no matter, the real upgrades for this mightier Passat are found below the sheetmetal.

Powering the Performance Concept is a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, churning out 250 horsepower and sending its grunt to the ground via a six-speed automatic transmission. For reference, that’s 80 more horsepower than the Passat’s base 2.5-liter inline-five, but 20 horsepower less than the potent 3.6-liter VR6. As for other performance upgrades, Volkswagen has fitted the car with a lowered sport suspension and revamped electronic steering, which should indeed add a bit more dynamic feedback to the already nice-driving sedan.

We’ll see the Performance Concept in the metal next week under the lights of Cobo Hall. In the meantime, Comments

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2013 Volkswagen Passat TDi - front three-quarter view

Can you name a fun-to-drive sedan with a manual transmission that can transport five adults and their luggage comfortably while sipping fuel at the rate of 50 mpg? The answer is the Volkswagen Passat TDI – a German antonym for “range anxiety.”

The past forty years have seen the Volkswagen Passat evolve from a three-door hatchback with a 1.5-liter engine (sold as the Dasher in the States) to a four-door near-luxury sedan boasting a 4.0-liter W8 a decade ago. I’m making the case that today’s reasonably priced diesel-burning 2.0-liter TDI is the best, and most sensible, Passat ever built.

  • The turbocharged, direct-injected, 2.0-liter inline-four is a little stump puller. While only rated at 140 horsepower, it delivers 236 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm. Launching from a standstill – even with a full load – was uneventful and it pulled confidently under all driving conditions (even thought the acceleration numbers are far from impressive).
  • According to the EPA, the Passat TDI earns 31 mpg city and 43 mpg highway – but not on my watch. My city average was more like 35 mpg and 50 mpg wasn’t difficult to achieve on the highway at 70 mph. With an 18.5-gallon fuel tank, its cruising range is just short of the moon.
  • Curiosity got the better of me one night, so I decided to run a 100-mile highway loop between Camarillo and Goleta on Southern California’s coastal US 101. Following a few suggestions, I pumped the tires up from the recommended 32 psi to 42 psi (51 psi is the maximum on the sidewall of the all-season Continental ContiProContact tires), shut off the air conditioning and set cruise control at 60 mph on the highway. Driving at this “hypermiling” speed was painful, but it delivered an impressive 56.9 mpg according to the Passat’s computer – that’s a burn rate of just over one gallon per hour!
  • The Passat’s cabin is huge. Almost the trunk) during a long drive to a weekend tournament. Nobody complained about room, and the air vents in the second row kept the atmosphere fresh.
  • The cabin appointments on the 6MT model, Volkswagen’s SE trim, aren’t very luxurious. An upgrade to a sunroof, navigation, leather upholstery or even an iPod interface requires acceptance of the dual-clutch DSG automatic, which brings with it lower fuel economy and a less engaging driving experience. That’s very frustrating.
  • On the odd side of things, the clutch pedal transmitted an awful lot of engine vibration to the driver’s left foot and I noticed an unnerving sound of fuel sloshing around inside the tank each time the sedan came to a stop (keep the radio on and passengers won’t notice).
  • Even thought the diesel is the perhaps the wisest choice in the Passat family, Volkswagen doesn’t seem to want offer consumers any incentives to take one home. Unattractive lease and financing rates on the TDI often make its more expensive gasoline counterparts (or worse, its competitors) more attractive in the showroom. America’s wildly fluctuating (but generally costlier) diesel fuel prices don’t help, either.

Comments

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2012 Volkswagen Passat 2.5 SEL - silver - front three-quarter view

Passat models tailored specifically for U.S. customers (read: larger and less costly), VW is poised to reach its best sales year since 1973, says the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

According to the report, VW’s sales are up 35.4 percent year over year for a total of 208,725 units, suggesting that the German automaker should see over 400,000 sales this year if its momentum holds up. Of particular note to the Tennessee paper, June’s Passat sales totals exceeded 10,000 units for the fourth month in a row. The Passat is built in Chattanooga, where they are planning to add a third shift to keep up with demand by month’s end.

Other products carrying water for the brand? VW’s new Comments

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