VW unveils eighth generation Passat

DAVE MOORE
Last updated 06:10 15/07/2014

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Volkswagen has unveiled the all-new eighth generation Passat at at the Volkswagen Design Centre in Potsdam, Germany, a few months before its official premiere at the Paris Motor Show in October.

Over the past 41 years it has racked up more than 23 million sales worldwide and everything in Passat VIII is new: its design, technology and engines. The Passat's unladen weight has been reduced by up to 85kg and fuel economy figures that have been improved by up to 20 per cent. When it reaches showrooms in Europe at the end of the year, there will even be a Passat with a plug-in hybrid drive system.

VW says the new Passat bridges the gap between the upper medium and premium class. At 4767mm long, the saloon is two millimetres shorter than the previous model, while the wheelbase is 79mm longer at 2791mm and therefore the body overhang is significantly shorter. At the same time, the Passat is 14mm lower at 1456mm, and 12mm wider at 1832mm.

The interior has been developed to match, with new technologies to be offered on the new Passat including optional Active Info Display, which replaces the instrument cluster with a fully configurable interactive 12.3-inch TFT display; a heads-up display; the latest Modular Infotainment System, including the Car-Net remote app; a further-developed 360-degree Area View function; and the latest generation of Park Assist.

This new version includes the option for the car to park itself forwards into perpendicular spaces - useful, for example at supermarket car parks, where access to the boot is important. It also includes a world-first Trailer Assist system, which provides assistance when reversing a vehicle with a trailer attached.

Safety technology includes Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert; Traffic Jam Assist which makes stop-and-go driving more comfortable; Emergency Assist, which can potentially halt a vehicle when the driver is incapacitated; and the latest Front Assist system with City Emergency Braking, with sensors to add pedestrian detection.

A highlight of the new range of engines is a high-performance, four-cylinder, 2.0-litre, bi-turbo diesel delivering a massive 177kW and an extraordinary 500 Nm from 1750 rpm. The engine will be available only with a new seven-speed DSG gearbox and 4Motion all-wheel drive. The plug-in hybrid to be offered has the potential to travel 50km on battery power alone, and will have a maximum range of around 1000 kilometres.

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