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10 January 2013

Well we didn’t see this one coming, but we think we may be able to connect the dots a bit. Volkswagen will take the wraps off of what they are calling the “Passat Performance Concept” at this years Detroit Auto Show. The concept utilizes a 250hp version of the new forthcoming EA888 family 1.8l turbo-charged four-cylinder (1.8 TSI). 250hp is pretty stout from 1.8l of displacement in a factory concept. This means good things for the tunable nature of the new 1.8T base engine that will replace the 2.5l inline-5 later this year.

Given the conservative look of this performance concept, our guess is that we’re looking at the exterior of a future Passat R-Line model. The R-Line is a step below a full “R” model and is designed to offer exterior and interior cosmetics to make the model look sportier and, in some cases, offer performance enhancing features as well (sport suspension and other modifications) – similar to Audi’s S-Line. The Passat Performance Concept sports 19″ Luxor wheels (give us something better please…), a new front bumper with honey-comb inserts, and HID headlamps and LED tail lamps borrowed from the Chinese market Passat (about time!). Inside is two-tone leather seating, carbon fiber looking accent pieces and black headliner. The engine performance boost and sport suspension would be a nice touch to offer in a production model.

We’ll be at the Detroit show next week and will take a full gallery of photos and give some first-hand impressions. The VWoA press release follows below.

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Volkswagen of America press release…

GLOBAL DEBUT OF VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT PERFORMANCE CONCEPT AT 2013 NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW

- 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

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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