The 2014 Volkswagen Passat has been unveiled - you're looking at the eighth generation of Passat. And, yes, it remains the epitome of sensible, stout Teutonic values.
The new Passat is based on the Volkswagen group's clever, adaptable MQB box of tricks, the architecture which underpins the Golf Mk7, too. So it's cleaner, lighter and bristling with tech.
This is big business for Volkswagen, make no mistake. In fact, VW sells more Passat than any other model worldwide - 1.1 million units in 2013, compared with 970,000 Golfs. That figure does include all Passat bodystyles and derivatives around the world, however; the Passat wears a different name in China, for instance.
VW Passat Mk8: details, specs
The new Passat was unveiled overnight at an event in VW's Potsdam design centre in Germany. The company is launching saloon and estate bodystyles simultaneously. THe Passat-based CC continues unchanged for the time being.
In a pleasing reverse of the recent trend to balloon, the new Passat is in fact smaller than its predecessor in length and height, although it is marginally wider.
And the MQB platform means it is lighter than before, too, thanks to specially tailored steels and lightweight materials.
Toys aplenty on the new Passat
The MQB tech also brings a multitude of technology. There's a head-up display available, rear-seat entertainment packages, auto-braking to avoid collisions and a system to drive for you in stop-start traffic jams.
A total of 10 direct injection turbo petrol and diesel engines will be offered, stretching from 118bhp-276bhp. Not all of those will be offered in the UK, however. The shortlived Passat R was not a noticeable success here.
Diesel only: Passat in the UK
The UK is only taking diesel engines for the Passat. A monumental 98% of all Passats sold here are diesel, so VW isn't bothering bringing any petrol engines here. This reflects the Passat's position as a fleet car - a whopping 82% of all Passats registered here end up as company cars.
The mainstay engine in Britain will therefore be the 2.0 TDI, which comes in three power outputs (148bhp, 187bhp and 236bhp). A popular 1.6 TDI follows soon after launch.
All the engines come with start-stop, which contributes to a drop in CO2 of up to 20%. There's also a plug-in hybrid available, marrying a 154bhp TSI petrol engine with a 80kW electric motor; it has a quoted EV pure electric range of 30 miles when the battery's topped up.
Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the board at Volkswagen, said: 'The new Passat gives the right answers to the major automotive trends of its time. For me this Passat is a premium class car without premium costs. This fits perfectly to Europe's most successful business car – lining up with 20% better fuel economy, up to 85 kilograms less weight and a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines – there is even a plug-in hybrid available.'
Volkswagen Passat (2014): prices, on sale dates
The new Passat goes on sale in Europe in July 2014, priced from €25,875 (saloon) and €25,950 (estate). However, right-hand drive sales aren't slated until the start of 2015, tipped to rise by around 5% on today's Passat.
Order books open in Britain on 7 October 2014, with first deliveries in January 2015. Expect UK prices to start at £22,000.