The first leaked shot of the 2011 Volkswagen Passat has apparently surfaced in Germany's Auto Bild. Assuming it's accurate, the mid-size sedan boasts one of the straightest interpretations of VW's new design language.

In fact, its wide, strongly-horizontal bearing is as much a reminder of the freshly updated Phaeton as it is of the Touareg. Following the lines of the heavily-chrome-accented front end back along the absolutely flat shoulder, the new Passat presents itself as upscale middle-management transport that acts as a stepping stone to the range-topping Phaeton. It'll arrive later this year, and we expect to get our first in-person look at it at the Paris Motor Show.

[Source: Auto Bild (translated)]