New VW Passat (2012): the scoop

Published: 11 June 2008

Volkswagen will facelift the Passat one more time in 2009 before the all-new Passat v7.0 arrives in 2012, CAR Online can reveal.

Under messieurs Pischetsrieder and Bernhard, VW had planned four different Passat-based models for the next generation: a saloon, estate, CC Coupé and CV Shooting Brake. The coupé was indeed launched at the 2008 Detroit show, but the Shooting Brake was shot down by the new leaders, as was the Crosser based on the next-generation Audi A6. Simplification is the name of the game.

Martin Winterkorn has also pulled the Passat facelift forward from 2010 to 2009, and the all-new B7/VW47X will now be launched in 2012, not 2013/2014.

And how exactly will VW facelift the Passat in 2009?

The facelift includes the usual cosmetic changes which should reduce the chrome content, add new lights, restyle the bumpers and spice up the equipment with goodies like a rear-view camera and automatic parking aids.

The diesel engines switch to common-rail injection, and we should also see a new base unit in the shape of the 110bhp/184lb ft 2.0-litre EU5 motor as well as more potent 2.0-litre TDIs mustering 204bhp/332lb ft.

Click ‘Next’ to read about the all-new VW Passat (2012)

Ok, spill the beans on the next VW Passat!

Although the board has not yet signed it off, the all-new Passat B7 will almost certainly retain its current transverse engine layout, albeit on the brand new ultra-flexible MQB architecture.

This decision entails various far-reaching consequences. For a start, it determines a long-term course for Passat variants; never again will there be an oddball W8 and nor will the Passat move too upmarket. VW has no ideas above its station this time, it seems...

MQB platforms? Plain English, please…

Ok, VW’s new MQB architecture is a transverse architecture that’s designed specially to underpin all the group’s larger mainstream Volkswagens: the Passat saloon and estate, the Passat CC successor, and a new mid-size sedan and SUV for North America.

Above this MQB platform, there will be just three VWs. That’s the Mk2 Touareg and Phaeton – and the long-awaited E-class/5-series rival which will be developed alongside the next Audi A6/A7.

This will be a classic exec and Wolfsburg plans a single bodystyle – a sleek four-door notchback that’s said to be understated from the outside but adopt the sumptuous interior we know from the Phaeton inside.

Click ‘Next’ to read more details of the next-gen Passat

New VW Passat: the lowdown

Had the seventh-generation Passat switched to the north-south platform of the Audi A4/A5, a wide engine selection could have been taken for granted. But now the Passat has been lumped with the transverse set-up, it means a different suite of engines will be offered.

VW has already given the green light to the follow-up to the VR6. The new version retains the narrow 15deg V angle, but it adopts direct-injection across the board, has a core displacement of 3.0 litres, features turbocharging in most applications, and will be offered in hybrid form, too.

And a rash of diesels too, presumably?

You bet. The big question is whether VW will revive the VR6 TDI which was killed at the eleventh hour by Martin Winterkorn. With up to 300bhp and 443lb ft, this diesel engine would satisfy all prestige and performance requirements in the tightest possible package.

Coupled to the new eight-speed dry-clutch DSG box and available with four-wheel drive, the super-compact VR6 would be quite unique.

And what about the other petrol engines?

Most will combine supercharger and turbocharger technology. That means we can expect small-displacement, high-torque 1.4 and 1.6-litre TSI fours, 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDI units and – with a bit of luck – a pair of 3.0-litre VR6s at the top end of the model range.

The look of Passat v7.0 is depicted in our artist’s impression; insiders refer to it as a ‘premium’ look, with classy proportions, a sporty stance and an attention to detail worthy of a proper exec brands.

Click ‘Next’ to read the tech lowdown

Praise be! The Passat’s going on a diet

Our engineering sources say the new Passat will go on a serious weight-saving and drag-cutting program. Downsizing does not only apply to the engines but also to components like miniature AC compressors, bonsai electric seat adjusters and new ultra-thin toughened glass.

And instead of a beefed-up steel structure, VW plans to use injected foam as a featherweight yet rock-hard means of bodywork reinforcement.

A new VW, a new raft of gadgets?

Take a deep breath. The new Passat will get: a semi-active budget-cost air suspension, a much lighter low-friction 4Motion system with dynamic torque split, airless tyres by Conti, a wiperless window cleaning system by Bosch, an active park assistant, optional rear-wheel steering (a module also to be found in MLB), 360deg cameras with multiple functions, a new set of sensors for improved lateral accident prevention, ESP with automatic countersteer assistance, adaptive cruise control which will obey speed limits, magnetic low-voltage paint which can change colour by changing the current, personalised window graphics with message function and, last but not least, lightweight, low-depth LED-film taillights/indicators. Phew.

Remember, this is the 2012 Passat, not a twenty-second century model. Pretty special stuff for a Volks-Wagen…

Praise be! The Passat’s going on a diet

Our engineering sources say the new Passat will go on a serious weight-saving and drag-cutting program. Downsizing does not only apply to the engines but also to components like miniature AC compressors, bonsai electric seat adjusters and new ultra-thin toughened glass.

And instead of a beefed-up steel structure, VW plans to use injected foam as a featherweight yet rock-hard means of bodywork reinforcement.

A new VW, a new raft of gadgets?

Take a deep breath. The new Passat will get: a semi-active budget-cost air suspension, a much lighter low-friction 4Motion system with dynamic torque split, airless tyres by Conti, a wiperless window cleaning system by Bosch, an active park assistant, optional rear-wheel steering (a module also to be found in MLB), 360deg cameras with multiple functions, a new set of sensors for improved lateral accident prevention, ESP with automatic countersteer assistance, adaptive cruise control which will obey speed limits, magnetic low-voltage paint which can change colour by changing the current, personalised window graphics with message function and, last but not least, lightweight, low-depth LED-film taillights/indicators. Phew.

Remember, this is the 2012 Passat, not a twenty-second century model. Pretty special stuff for a Volks-Wagen…

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