Volkswagen Passat R-Line

Few automakers can produce the kind of sports sedans that the Germans do. And for most of the country's automakers, those performance vehicles can be recognized by one letter (or a combination of a few): M for BMW, RS for Audi, AMG for Mercedes-Benz... and R for Volkswagen. The relatively new performance division at Wolfsburg has now gotten its hands on the Passat, and these are the results.

Well, almost, but not quite. You see, this isn't a full-on R performance variant, but an R-Line model that gives the midsize sedan (and wagon) a sportier look and an upgraded suspension, but without the engine mods you'd expect to come with it.

It also isn't the same Passat as the one we get here. Ours is made in America (Chatanooga, Tennessee, to be specific). This is based on the European model, and as such is available (in Europe, anyway) in both sedan and wagon form. In either body-style, the Passat R-Line includes a new aero kit (complete with sportier bumpers front and rear, side skirts, rear diffuser and deck-lid spoiler), 17-inch alloys, a sport-tuned suspension and a cabin decked out with sports seats, stainless steel trim and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

The R-Line model stands as a separate trim level atop the Passat range – selling for €30,225 in Germany (equivalent to about $39k) – but buyers of the Comfortline and Highline trim levels can also specify the aero kit for an extra €990 (~$1,300). Check it out in the high-res image gallery for a closer look.