Volkswagen’s in-betweener: VW plots sporty super-Passat for 2017

Published: 10 March 2015

► Top-secret new VW revealed
► Slots between Passat and Phaeton
► China-focused, due 2017

Volkswagen is toying with a new luxury model above Passat – but it’s not the Phaeton replacement. The product planners reckon there’s room for a super-Passat (or baby Phaeton, if you prefer) between today’s two big VWs, prompted by growing demand for big saloons in China and the USA. 

VW strategists refer to the cars as ‘sport-saloon’ and ‘sport-wagon’, which reveals their more dynamic positioning compared with Passat and Phaeton. Think muscular saloon and sleek shooting brake, hosting five seats.

The in-betweener super-Passat’s engineering spec

These ‘sport’ models naturally need a bit of firepower, so VW is plotting V6 engines alongside the mainstay fours. Does that preclude the MQB platform, with its transverse engines? No sir: ingenious VW has managed to install the 3.0-litre unit across the nose by conceiving an ultra-compact, quad-shaft, dual-clutch transmission. 

There is even enough room left over for the extra-cost 4Motion 4wd system. Electrically-assisted steering and adaptive damping are a given too.

The other option is to adopt Audi’s MLB platform, which underpins the A6 and harbours its engines north-south. That’ll house the sixes more comfortably, specifically the 300bhp 3.0-litre TSI and a 272bhp 3.0-litre TDI.

Four-cylinder power too

Four-pot power would come from 2.0-litre petrol and diesel fours, with around 190bhp. While four-wheel-drive models would wear VW’s 4Motion badge, the Audi platform would dictate a Quattro system rather than the MQB platform’s Haldex coupling.

The MLB car would pose a bigger threat to BMW, Mercedes et al, but potentially the Audi A6 too. The MQB option is cheaper to produce, but might have to be priced closer to the Passat. 

VW expects to sell the car for around £24,000 from 2017, if it gets approved.

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel