Volkswagen has given the first glimpse of its all-new Passat, which will be shown to the public for the first time at the Paris Motor Show in October.
The new car will be the eighth generation of the German brands large family car, and will be up to 85kg lighter than the outgoing version, thanks to the use of aluminium and new steel-construction techniques.
Good news for those who think the current Volkswagen Passat is a bit on the large side the new one will be slightly smaller. However, the ever-impressive engineers at Volkswagens head office in Wolfsburg have managed to make the car bigger on the inside, so expect more headroom and legroom, and more room in the boot. The new car will like the current one be available as an estate and a saloon.
The Passat will be the first car in Volkswagens range to use a new 2.0-litre, 237hp, four-cylinder diesel engine that makes its a punchy 369lb/ft of torque from just 1,750rpm. The engine manages this thanks to two turbochargers. Volkswagen uses a similarly powerful V6 diesel engine in the Touareg, but we expect this new one to be lighter and more efficient. This new engine will only be available with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox (DSG), and four-wheel drive.
Volkswagen also says the Passat will be available as a plug-in hybrid, which early indications suggest will be the only petrol version offered in the UK. Itll be able to travel 31 miles on electric power alone, and have a combined electric/petrol range of around 600 miles.
The Passat will be available with an optional 12.3-inch digital display that replaces the normal dashboard rev counter and speedo dials. Itll be similar to the one in the upcoming Audi TT, and youll be able to change whats displayed, a bit like customising your smartphone’s home screen. Youll be able to display sat-nav directions between the virtual dials, meaning you wont need to take your eyes off the road so much when navigating.
Itll also get a heads-up display thatll make your speed and/or sat-nav directions appear to float in the air just outside the windscreen, a new version of Volkswagens 360-degree camera view (perfect for getting into tight parking spaces) and a new generation of Park Assist thatll automatically drive the car nose-first into parking bays. The current version can only reverse in, which means you cant get to the boot so easily in supermarket car parks.
Theres also an intriguing all-new technology called trailer assist, which will help reverse the Passat when you have a trailer hooked up.
Then there’s the usual raft of software improvements thatll make living with the Passat easier than ever Traffic Jam Assist promises to ease the strain of stop-startdriving, and Emergency Assist will help stop your car if youre somehow incapacitated at the wheel. Itll keep the car in its lane, put the hazard-warning lights on and gently bring the car to a stop. Itll also turn adaptive cruise control on to help avoid hitting any traffic in front.
Xenon headlights have been given the heave-ho, and will be replaced by three versions of LED headlights (although you can still get normal halogen lights if you like). The entry-level LED lights will be a simple LED light that is brighter than the outgoing Xenons. The next level will have dynamic cornering lights that point into corners as you turn the steering wheel, and the top-spec lights will have an automatic permanent main beam, which will cleverly detect traffic and avoid dazzling other road users.
The new Passat will go on on sale in the UK later this year, and the first will be delivered in early 2015. You can see what critics think of the current Volkswagen Passat on our review page, where you’ll also find photos, stats and opinions on each engine available.