Ahead of its official unveiling at next week's Detroit Auto Show, Volkswagen has released some preliminary details and images of its Passat Performance Concept – a car that, as its name suggests, adds a little more spice to the automaker's midsize sedan formula. VW makes no mention of any production intent for this road-ready-looking sedan, simply stating that the Performance Concept is a way to "explore this practical four-door's sportier side."

It certainly doesn't look too sporty, the only visual upgrades being larger 19-inch wheels, dual exhaust, bi-xenon headlamps with VW's Advanced Front Lighting system, LED taillmaps and carbon-look mirror caps. Inside, there are carbon interior accents and two-tone leather upholstery. But no matter, the real upgrades for this mightier Passat are found below the sheetmetal.

Powering the Performance Concept is a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, churning out 250 horsepower and sending its grunt to the ground via a six-speed automatic transmission. For reference, that's 80 more horsepower than the Passat's base 2.5-liter inline-five, but 20 horsepower less than the potent 3.6-liter VR6. As for other performance upgrades, Volkswagen has fitted the car with a lowered sport suspension and revamped electronic steering, which should indeed add a bit more dynamic feedback to the already nice-driving sedan.

We'll see the Performance Concept in the metal next week under the lights of Cobo Hall. In the meantime, scroll down to read Volkswagen's brief press release.
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- All-new 1.8 TSI engine delivers 250 horsepower and gives a sneak-peek at upcoming sport sedan
- Bi-Xenon-Headlights with Advanced Front Lighting System (AFS) and LED taillights
- Carbon-style detailing inside and out

Herndon, VA - 2012 will go down in the Volkswagen Passat's history as its best sales year ever, with 117,023 units sold of the designed-for-America, Chattanooga-built family sedan. In an exercise to hint at Volkswagen's efforts to explore this practical four-door's sportier side, Volkswagen will unveil the Passat Performance Concept at the 2013 North American International Auto Show® in Detroit.

The most notable alteration in this concept isn't something you'd see right away-it's under the hood. The Passat Performance Concept features a unique modification of the Volkswagen EA888 1.8 liter turbocharged and direct-injected TSI® four-cylinder engine, which delivers 250 horsepower (184 kW) and is matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. In its existing form, this engine is already available-and popular-among the European and Asian markets.

The Passat Performance Concept further differentiates itself from the regular Passat with a dual exhaust, 19-inch "Luxor" alloy wheels, Bi-Xenon headlights including Advanced Front Lighting System (AFS) and LED taillights and carbon applications on its mirror caps. Inside, carbon-like touches dominate the dashboard, matching the carbon-style inserts on two-color leather seating surfaces and complementing the black headliner and side pillars. A lowered sport suspension and electro-mechanical steering enhance the handling.

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