Volkswagen Passat

The schism that separates the European-market Volkswagen Passat and its American-built cousin is evidently only set to widen, as renderings have officially been released showing off the next-generation Euro-market Passat sedan, and it looks quite different than our larger, less costly family sedan. That's especially true up front, where it wears an aggressive scowl thanks to a chrome strip that forms a brow over the piercing headlamps and grille.

The new European model will make its world debut in July ahead of its auto show debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, and we've already got a trio of sketches that give us a rough idea of the new four-door's design, as well as some images of the structure underpinning the Euro Passat. You can take a look at those up top. The big news, though, relates to the other info Volkswagen has released.

For a start, VW's vaunted German engineers have managed to trim 187 pounds of body fat form the next-gen model, thanks to the additional use of high-strength steel. Designers have also managed to provide a larger interior in a smaller footprint, although there isn't an explanation of how much smaller the new car actually is.

We do know about a pair of powertrains for our friends in Europe, including a new plug-in hybrid that should net 31 miles of range on battery power alone. It will be joined by VW's new 2.0-liter TDI engine, which will be paired exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive. 237 horsepower will be on offer with the diesel powerplant, and European buyers will have 369 pound-feet of torque available from just 1,750 rpm.

Optional goodies will include LED headlights (LED taillights are standard), a 12.3-inch TFT display in the instrument cluster, blind-spot monitoring, front assist with city emergency braking and a dynamic light assist system.

Expect more on the new Passat as its July debut approaches. Scroll up for the official sketches and photos, and scroll down for the official press release from Volkswagen.
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VOLKSWAGEN REVEALS FIRST TECHNICAL DETAILS OF ALL-NEW PASSAT

Volkswagen has revealed the first technical details of the all-new Passat Saloon and Estate, ahead of the cars' unveiling in July and their public premiere at the Paris Motor Show in October.

The eighth-generation Passat will bring with it a range of new technologies and features, to ensure that even after 41 years and over 23 million sales worldwide, it remains as competitive as ever.

Thanks to the use of advanced materials – including high-strength, hot-formed steel and aluminium in certain areas – the new Passat is up to 85 kg lighter than its predecessor, helping it to claim expected fuel-efficiency improvements of up to 20 per cent.

Despite exterior dimensions that are actually marginally smaller than those of the previous Passat, interior space is improved, with more leg- and head-room, as well as increased luggage space.

A highlight of the Passat's new range of engines is a high-performance, four-cylinder, 2.0-litre, bi-turbo diesel delivering 240 PS and an extraordinary 500 Nm from 1,750 rpm. This engine will be available only with a new seven-speed DSG gearbox and 4MOTION all-wheel drive. A plug-in hybrid model will also be offered, with potential to travel 31 miles on battery power alone, and with a potential maximum range of around 600 miles.

Other new technology to be offered on the new Passat includes the 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 newly developed Park Assist 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, which provides assistance when reversing a vehicle with a trailer attached – without the need for any modification or adaptation of the trailer.

Other 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, which optionally combines both radar and camera sensors to add pedestrian detection.

All new Passats will feature LED tail lights, while headlights will be halogen or LED. In conjunction with Dynamic Light Assist, one of the two LED headlight options automatically adjusts the beam for maximum illumination of the road without dazzling other traffic.

Further details and first pictures of the Passat will be available in early July, ahead of the car's public unveiling at the Paris Motor Show in October. UK sales will start before the end of the year, with first deliveries expected in early 2015.