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The VW Passat is a good-looking sedan that hasn't exactly set the world on fire since its redesign for the 2006 model year. In fact, July sales of VW's biggest car were down a staggering 34% from July 2006. It doesn't help that the Passat carries a hefty premium vs. other midsize sedans, costing over $30,000 for the base V6, which is $7,000 more than a V6 Accord.

To further spur Passat sales, VW is in the final stages of testing a four-door coupe variant. Shy photographer Hans G Lehmann caught the sleek, Mercedes Benz CLK-like coupe in testing, and from the looks of the nearly undisguised pics, VW has a good looking vehicle on its hands. Our problem with said coupe is the premium position VW is planning, with prices starting somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000. For those of you scoring at home, that's base 5-Series money. For $40k, VW had better be planning on adding AWD and a turbo 3.6, or sales will be less than stellar. We'd be interested to hear whether you feel America is ready for a $40,000 Passat, or is the luxurious four-door coupe destined to be the next Phaeton?

[Source: Inside Line]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think this is a big mistake for VW, especially if they try to call this car a Passat. This reminds of the old Ford Taurus blunders where the spread from least expensive rental-car model to the SHO was greater than 100% of the base price of the car. At least BMW is smart enough to brand the 1 Series as another model, even though the car seems to be a smaller 3-Series under the skin. The auto market requires differentiation for models at different price points even if the underlying chassis and drivetrains are often shared (think VW GTI vs Audi A3).

      Few companies can properly market a single car model that starts at $20K and goes past $40K under the same name, and that's what VW would be trying to do with this car if they call this a Passat. Maybe, maybe if it were marketed under a new name positioned higher in the food chain, some people might bite, but even then I doubt this can succeed no matter the price.

      As proven by the poor-selling Toureg, the unknown Passat W8 and the Phaeton DISASTER, it's clear that VW does not have the reputation or brand equity to sell $40K cars in America on any consistent basis. VW should focus on making VWs and leave the luxury market to Audi.

      Between my wife and I, we've owned 6 VWs, and we'd never think of buying a VW over $40K (or possibly ever again at any price point given our most recent past experiences).

      • 7 Years Ago
      The "piss-ant?"
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why is every car manufacturer moving towards the 4-door coupe body style. I personally think that they should be kept separate. The CLS is one of the ugliest cars I've laid eyes on in a long time.
      • 7 Years Ago
      4-door coupe is a contradiction in terms. Coupe, by definition, is a vehicle with TWO DOORS.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Thank you SOhp101 and Craig.

        My point exactly.
        • 7 Years Ago
        That may be true, but the world and wording changes whether you like it or not, or whether it makes any sense, "four door coupe" is out there now, and is not going away any more than some of the things that grate on me are going to disappear just because I don't like them (e.g., impact used as a verb, or people pronouncing "often" as OFF-TEN, thinking perhaps it sounds more "educated," even though we DON'T say such things as LISS-TEN or SOFF-TEN).
        • 7 Years Ago
        BLS: According to SAE definitions, sedan and coupe is distinguished by the interior volume available for the rear passengers.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Gregg: Impact is defined in the dictionary as a noun or a verb. Both pronunciations of "often" are correct. Both are recognized in the the dictionary as such. Instead of calling these cars sport sedans (which they are), these automobile companies are making up these contradictions in terms to create a new segment in the market. Definitions of words don't change. New definitions of words may be added to an existing word, but they're usually a logical addition to the word.

        BLS: A sedan, by definition, is "an enclosed automobile body having two or four doors."
      • 7 Years Ago
      America already had a $40,000+ Passat in the previous generation W8. It sold poorly.

      This one might do better, because it looks completely different from the current Passat and more upscale. With the Passat, VW is up against that strong Euro/weak dollar. That explains most of the price difference right there. Plus VW equips even the Rabbit with touches lifted right from Audi.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Not to mention the Phaeton...it sold even MORE poorly.

        Still though, I like V-dub's design sense...I'll reserve judgement till I see a camo free unit.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Are you alright, Tracey? Did the commercial put you so under the weather that it took you nearly 2 years to recover? Or did you send you reply by pony express?
      • 7 Years Ago
      We're not ready for more overpriced unreliable VW crap!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Slick looking sedan. Seems that it's fashionable to copy the Mercedes CLS with its low roof line and narrow windows. Back seat might be a penalty box.

      Before you buy the Passat, you have to buy euros which accounts for much of the car's high price in the U.S. Take your next vacation to a euro country and see what it costs you:-(

      • 7 Years Ago
      Shy photographer Hans G Lehmann....

      Well, he does hide behind bushes and stuff, so shy, maybe..
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Passat 3.6 V6 sells for mid 40 thousands here in Canada. A 335xi is $49,000 if I'm not mistaken. VW is comitting suicide.
      • 7 Years Ago
      VW's days are numbered if they don't bring more small cars like the polo over. They need to get back to their roots. No more large cars/suv's. VW we already have unreliable overpriced midsize FWD cars from germany, they are called Audis. We don't need anymore.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Audis are unreliable? That sounds like a 1980's remark from over 20 years ago. Jumping back to 2007, Consumer Reports thinks they are reliable. VW admittedly at the bottom of the list, but Audi leads the rest of the European cars. Audi's are excellent vehicles that deserve the increasing market share that they have attained. You won't find a BMW or Mercedes that matches the interior in an equivalent priced Audi. BTW Mercedes rides the reliability wave with VW, except Mercedes is #36 out of a possible 36 makes.
          • 7 Years Ago
          Except that MB was on the top 5 in the JD Power study released just a few weeks ago, adn VW was on the bottom 5, while Audi was still below average in initial quality

          I still think $40k for this car is too much to ask, considering it's just a VW and nothing special about it, ah yeah I forgot, this is like the fake MB CLS
      • 7 Years Ago
      .......Naive consumers bickering about a subject they know nothing about.......


      Clarification: Asside from interior materials and maybe a softer suspension, (and luxury options) A Passat is an A4.......period. (obviously the S4 has a different engine...dont waste my time pointing that out.)

      Reliability reports are flawed beyond belief.....period...given those facts.

      And if you have 40K+ to spend on a car, you dont give a f**k what relaibility is. (ahem...Mercedes) all you want is that badge that says "I got's the money."

      "Well friends, I do "gots" the money, and you'd be surpised whats parked in my garage, its new, it looks great, and its not a "show me the money" brand at all.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually no mr idiot.

        For a Passat has a Transverse mounted engine, where the A4 has a longitual mounted engine.

        The Passat is based on a extended Golf platform.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Wow......different chassie, and different engine mounting.......does wonders for reliability....right.

        Come on man....first off, Mr. Idiot? Then you back up the name calling with only two facts that have very very little to with overall reliability?

        If you disagree my friend then we have a debate. Not an arguement, not an immature flame war. A debate. So enought with the name calling and lets act our age. Oh and get some more facts.

        What's next? Your going to break down my skills at english?
      • 7 Years Ago
      thats not a passat coupe it's the 2009 vw intrepid
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