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How much? £30,990
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 3597cc V6 24v petrol, 295bhp @ 6600rpm, 258lb ft @ 2400-5300rpm
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, four-wheel drive
Performance: 5.6sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 26.9mpg, 249g/km CO2
How heavy / made of? 1689kg/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4765/1820/1472
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54


Rated 4 out of 54


Rated 4 out of 54


Rated 5 out of 55

Feelgood factor

Rated 4 out of 54

Readers' rating

Rated 3.5 out of 53.5

VW Passat R36 (2008) CAR review

By Ben Barry

First Drives

29 May 2008 11:09

This is Volkswagen’s most powerful production Passat yet - the new R36, a car that trumps the last generation’s unloved W8 in the power stakes. Big deal, you might think, but bear with us. For £30,990 you get a 3.6-litre V6 churning out 295bhp and 258lb ft, four-wheel drive versatility and subtly imposing styling.

What sets the VW Passat R36 apart visually?

It’s restrained stuff, the distinguishing marks comprising 18-inch wheels; a new bumper and integrated chrome grille that stresses the family link to the Golf R32 and Touareg R50; twin exhausts; and bi-xenon headlights. You might also spot that the R36 is lowered by 20mm and has – wait for it – blue brake calipers. The new Passat is a handsome car already, but these tweaks are very effective.

Inside the changes are more dramatic, forming a key part of the R36’s appeal. There are some of the very best seats in the business. The fabric/leather mix looks good, grips well, feels quality and is pleasingly tactile. And the range of adjustment is fantastic, with inflatable pockets – a push of a button increases or decreases their stiffness – offering extra lower and upper back support. The aggressive side bolsters use the same system. You always feel incredibly comfortable, but you’re gripped like in a bucket seat.

What’s the rest of the interior like?

A slightly mixed bag. Overall the sense is of high quality, with brushed aluminium brightening up the centre console and instrument binnacle, part-leather door cards and simple, classy instruments. But the switchgear – shared with the Golf – looks a bit cheap here, and the extravagantly stylish swoop of the doors only emphasises that the upper half of the trim is made of soft-touch plastics, while the lower half makes do with harder, cheaper-feeling material.

In the back there’s plenty of leg- and headroom for six-footers sitting behind six-footers and the boot is large and an almost exact match for the BMW 3-series' at 461 litres – though the four-wheel drive system does cost you 24 litres.

Click 'Next' below to read more of our first drive of the VW Passat R36

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Average rating: Rated 3.5 out of 53.5 (150 votes)

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VW Passat R36 (2008) CAR review


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medrad says

RE: VW Passat R36 CAR review

I've made my decision to buy this brilliant family sport sedan ever. It has the sum of todays technology in all respects: the clever narrow angle V6 engine, direct fuel injection, DSG gear box, 4motion AWD system. Cannot wait to see my new car soon.

18 November 2008 07:07



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lokinen says

RE: VW Passat R36 CAR review

I suspect that this car is better than the appraisal above would lead you to believe.Car have previous at this with the other 'R' series VW's.They didn't rate the series 1 R32 golf,because they had never driven it hard enough.For whatever reason,it appeared at their annual performance car of the year test,came in 7th behind the 911 and apparently was favourite for the drive home. R32 mark2 got an average review and it took the other crowd to discover that there is NOTHING the rival M130i BMW can do that the golf cant do better, the golf spanking it around their test track,whilst sounding better,being better built,more roomy, better steering,handling...and cheaper too.The haldex system comes into its own when the golfs are driven really hard .Be interesting to see this against a 335i which has about the same performance but will be several thousand quid dearer when specced similarly and wont be as well screwed together.

01 June 2008 16:59



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kkirkou says

RE: VW Passat R36 CAR review

It certainly does not make much sense but I quite like the existence of it. I liked much more the existence of the W8 though, which will certainly make an appearance in future magazines as one of the most senseless and silly cars that no one bought. 3.6 or 4 litters would be a lot for a 5-series, let alone a Passat...

30 May 2008 23:57



markvaughan says

RE: VW Passat R36 CAR review

In response to the initial comment from kubrick describing the Passat... "The Passat shares the ungainly proportions with the Frenchie, with an added fat arse, Not exactly VW's finest hour. As the weekend draws close, I am sure many of us would find a frenchie with a fat arse quite intriguing, but in agreement, would not regard it as our finest hour the morning after. Have a good weekend fellow car fans.

30 May 2008 14:11



jeremy99 says

RE: VW Passat R36 CAR review

This review reads much like the ones I read for the first Passat VR6. I bought VR6 estate a few years later when their secondhand value was the same as a 2 litre. The most disappointing car I have owned it somehow contrived to be less than the sum of its parts and as the miles accumulated the less I liked it. Since than I have stuck with 2 litre Ford Mondeo estates, which always seem offer more than could reasonably be expected. For this Passat to realy work it will need a brilliant chassis and sadly yet again it does not seem to have it.

30 May 2008 11:12

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