New Passat Launched In Germany – Over 40 New Photos And Full Specs

Volkswagen has officially launched the all-new sixth generation Passat in Germany. The B6 (sixth generation B-class platform, also known as the PQ46) has grown larger in all dimensions, offers a range of new powerplants including an all-new North American specific 280hp 3.6l six-cylinder and has an overall more upscale appearance that continues the legacy that the B5 Passat leaves behind.

The Passat has grown in size with the sixth generation model to an overall length of 187.7 inches and a width of 71.7 inches. That brings the length up 2.5 inches and width a whopping 3 inches over the outgoing B5 Passat. We were given a sneak peak at the new B6 Passat several months ago and in the metal the new Passat has a bit of Audi A6 meets B5 Passat meets Chrysler 300M meets Phaeton. Proportions look great on the new car, especially the extra width which give the car a much better stance – the car actually looks much wider than these photos show it.

For the U.S. and Canadian markets, the B6 Passat will be available with a 200hp 2.0l turbocharged 4-cylinder with FSI currently found in the GTI. This engine will replace the venerable 1.8T as the new base engine. The 2.0T FSI will be mated to either the MQ350 six-speed transmission or the butter-smooth Aisin built six-speed Tiptronic automatic. Also new to the Passat and unique to the U.S. market is an all-new 280hp 3.6l VR6 FSI that replaces the current 2.8l Audi V6. This new 3.6l VR6 model will only be sold in the U.S. market B6 Passat initially (Germany will get a 250hp 3.2l VR6 FSI) and will be available only with a six-speed tiptronic in either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configurations. Since the new B6 Passat utilizes Golf V component sharing (HVAC, engines, transmissions, etc., etc.) the B6 Passat has moved to a transverse engine layout which also means a switch from a Torsen-based AWD system to a Haldex-based AWD system.

The new Passat is also a recipient of the Golf V’s vastly improved revised Macpherson strut front suspension and all-new full indepenent rear suspension. Coupled with a claimed 57% increase in torsional rigidity over the outgoing model, the new B6 Passat reportedly rides and handles wonderfully with virtually no dive, no squat and no roll even on base configurations.

Expect the B6 Passat to have a full compliment of standard and optional features including a new electronic parking brake system, high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, optional DVD-based navigation system, Bluetooth support, all-new key system with no traditional cut key but rather a transmitter device that gets inserted into the dash and pushed to start. Pricing is expected to start around $24,000 and climb to around $38,000 fully loaded with AWD, HID, 280hp 3.6l VR6, navigation, leather and more.

The B6 Passat will be shown publicly at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2005 followed closely by the debut of the U.S. version at the New York Auto Show. The 2.0T FSI sedan will go on sale here in North America first in the 3rd quarter of 2005 (in dealers in August as of this writing) followed by the 3.6l VR6 sedan in October of 2005. The wagon will be a delayed introduction in February of 2006. Expect options to include both a sport line and a luxury line with aluminum trim, sport suspension and larger wheels on the sport line and wood trim and more luxury features going the luxury option route. Navigation and high-intensity discharge headlamps will also be available as an option so Volkswagen is addressing criticism from existing owners that options available on German cars aren’t available on North American models. Overall the packaging and trim levels look very promising.

The full German press release (with German market-specifc information) follows below:

The New Passat – Body Design

Emotion You Can See

New Face: The first Volkswagen to feature the front from the next era

Appealing: Design combining typical brand clarity with emotion

Wolfsburg / Hamburg, 16. February 2005

The Passat, which was first launched in 1973, is one of the world’s most famous automobiles. Each generation has featured its very own design profile. Each Passat design also reflected the times. On the fifth generation, which is now being replaced, it was the crisp lines that impressed people when Volkswagen presented the car for the first time around the middle of the last decade. The design of the extensively revised fifth generation introduced in 2000 visualised the manufacturing and material quality superbly. Furthermore, since this Passat, the topic of quality has progressed to be a multi-facetted design message.

The new Passat now shows what happens when designers interpret this clear, logical and comprehensible style in a more powerful, athletic and passionate way than ever before. Design – along with inno­vative technology – will catapult the saloon over the largest evolutionary step since the birth of the series to a more sporty, sophisticated dimension that crosses class boundaries.

Front End: One succinct symbol for the vitality of the brand and the innovative force of the designs is the new radiator grille together with the headlights, bonnet and bumpers. Resembling a coat of arms, it forms the outlines of the new VW brand face. The stylistic direction for this future VW face has been indicated by the studies Concept R (roadster) and Concept C (cabriolet coupé), which have caught a great deal of attention. The new Passat is the first production vehicle to bear these features and show a comparable force.

The designers headed by Murat Günak have the following explanation: “A V-shape develops from the bonnet, lines run together up to the front section and thus form the frame for the radiator grille resembling a coat of arms. The form and geometry of this element are emphasised by the use of chrome.”

The headlights are a similarly important to the identity of the Passat. Even though the dipped and full-beam lights are mounted in a trapezoidal shaped housing, they have been configured as individual round elements both technically and optically. The Passat’s indicators have been integrated in the bumpers as thin light strips. Side indicators have also been added to the door mirrors.

Silhouette: Dynamism and excitement have been the focus for the geometry of the side windows. While their lower edge forms a taut line, the upper line follows an elegant, powerful curve starting at the A-pillar that becomes part of the rear door joint around the B-pillar in a countermovement. The roof line itself flows into the rear with a stretched curve. The constellation of the side windows, door joints and roof curve creates a striking C-pillar that optically emphasises the apparent forwards push.

The whole side line has been made more muscular than on any other Passat: Striking lines around the sills and the body shoulder rise towards the rear and are “drawn together” by the shape of the roof. One extra elegant touch is the side bump strip running into the rear bumper.

Rear End: The rear of the Passat is characterised by quick-response LED taillights that complement the headlights with round main elements. Here again a round element breaks the bottom of the trapezoidal shape. The new headlights provide a very striking night-time look in the same way as the Phaeton first had.

The New Passat – Body Technology

Emotion You Can Feel

Solid as a rock: Best torsional stiffness value in midrange class

As light as a feather: Galvanised steel body breaks weight spiral

Wolfsburg / Hamburg, 16. February 2005

On the outside, everything about the new Passat design is new and different just like the whole body. The dimensio­ns are one example. The new Passat is 4.77 metres long (+ 62mm), 1.82 metres wide (+ 74mm) and 1.47 metres tall (+ 10 mm). Its wheelbase measures 2.71 metres and the boot has a maximum volume of 565 litres (+ 90 litres). These values see the Passat truly mix up the terms mid-range, upper mid-range and luxury class.

This also applies for the quality and safety standards. One real indicator of both is the static torsional stiffness.  It is 57 percent higher than that of the very good predecessor and represents the best value in this class. Furthermore, thanks to highly innovative production methods and material, we have improved the body properties of the new Passat considerably. The weight spiral has been broken despite the growth in length, width and height. The body of the new Passat does not weigh any more than that of its predecessor.

This weight optimisation quality combined with increased accident safety and stiffness would not have been possible without the appropriate use of different steel qualities. The proportion of high-strength and higher-strength steels in the Passat body structure is around 79 percent, of which so-called die-quenched steels account for around 15 percent. Sheets made from die-quenched steel are used in the areas of the passenger cell that are subject to extreme loads. Their extraordinary stiffness also reduces the risk of injury in severe collisions.

The New Passat – Interior Concept

Emotion You Can Experience

Design: Clear, fresh, likeable and a noticeably light concept

Technology: Oriented to people and not to the technically feasible

Wolfsburg / Hamburg, 16. February 2005

A look inside the new Passat shows a clear, fresh, stylish design with a noticeable lightness, high-quality materials and technology oriented to people and not to the theoretically possible. The aim was to achieve perfect ergonomics and operation. Sporty and cleanly structured function elements as well as stylistic brilliance dominate.

Instruments you will enjoy using: Designing a cockpit that is as unique as a fingerprint, that reflects the character of the car type from inside, that is well-organised and ergonomically perfect and still self-explanatory is one of the greatest challenges for interior designers and engineers. Accordingly there are few examples in which instruments can be judged to be clear, harmonious and perfect in such a groundbreaking way. This could be achieved yet again with the Passat.

Its instruments have a friendly, well-arranged and well-defined appearance. If we look at the main instruments, they are a true stylistic highlight regardless of their purpose. This is down to their clear structure, the elegant blue backlit scales and the standard chrome frames. Let us turn to the ignition lock. This term is actually foreign to the new Passat. Instead you slot the central locking transmitter, which is fitted in metal, into a kind of “docking station” in the normal place to the right of the steering wheel, above your knee. Press it and the car will start. Once you have tried it, you will find traditional keys old-fashioned.

Another example – the electronic parking brake. The button for activating the new “hand brake” is located to the left of the typical VW main light switch. You now press it instead of pushing a pedal or pulling the hand brake lever.

The centre console is yet another example. It is treat to look at and, in terms of ergonomics, it feels like it is tailor-made. Once you have adjusted the seat and steering wheel, you will feel that it all fits. Your right-hand intuitively finds the gearstick, climate control (lower and middle level centre console), radio or radio navigation system (cen­tral level) and the hazard warning lights switch (top centre). This all also has its very own flair as the centre console follows a very clear path between the seats up to the hazard warning light switch. The area between the gearstick and the audio system follows a steep angle.

Four equipment versions and a new world of materials: According to your personal preferences, four trim variants Trendline, Comfortline, Sportline and Highline as well as four separate colour schemes (“Black”, “Latte Macchiato”, “Classic Grey” and “Pure Beige”) are available for the interior. Wood (Walnut, Poplar Grain, Makassar) and aluminium inlays allow further individualisation.

Furthermore the interior of the Passat shows what detailed perfection is about. Take, for example, the numerous storage compartments. We have even thought of a space for your umbrella. It is easy to reach in a compartment located in the driver’s door panel. A smart umbrella (for two people) has been developed especially for the Passat. It has a high-quality leather-look handle with an elegant integrated VW badge.

Electrically adjusted driver’s seat from Comfortline: The newly designed seats illustrate the high ergonomic standards of the new Passat. Even in the basic Trendline version, they are very suitable for long journeys. The backrest of the front passenger seat can be folded forward if necessary and the rear seat backrest is split asymmetrically as standard. From the Com­fortline version, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat (6 ways) is provided. The driver’s seat in this version has an electrically adjusted lumbar support (front passenger seat manual).

Maximum safety as standard: The new Passat is not just very comfortable, it is also safe. The “passive protection package” includes dual-stage front airbags, side airbags and head airbags (front and rear). The advantages of the dual-stage front airbags include less power at lower speeds. The front passenger airbag can be deactivated allowing little passengers to travel up front in their child seats. The rear can be optionally equipped with side airbags.

The New Passat – Standard Equipment

Emotion You Can Choose

Basic Trendline version includes air conditioning, ESP, six airbags

Comfortline, Sportline and Highline with electrically adjusted driver’s seat

Wolfsburg / Hamburg, 16. February 2005

The new Passat will be available in the four equipment versions Trendline, Comfortline, Sportline and High­line. These lines are not only made up of a certain number of standard equipment features, they also have their own character. Trendline is the “youngest” configuration. The Comfortline equipment version indicates its comfort-oriented cha­racter in its name, just like the dynamic Sportline version. Accordingly the Passat Highline is the high-end model.

Trendline, the basic version of the Passat, comes with a wide range of comfort, functional and safety equipment. This includes duel-stage front airbags, side and head airbags, active front head restraints, ESP, central locking, electro/mecha­nical power steering, power windows at the front and the semi-automatic Climatic air conditioning.

Standard equipment of Passat Trendline in detail (extract):

Trendline exterior equipment

– Body-coloured door mirrors and door handles

– Indicators integrated in the front bumpers

– LED-technology indicators integrated in door mirrors

– Taillights using LED technology

– Chrome radiator grille frame

– 4 steel wheels (6 ½ J x 16) with full-size wheel trims, 205/55 R 16 tyres

– Heat insulating green tinted glass

Trendline interior equipment

– Storage compartment with lid in roof console

– Storage compartments in all doors with holder for a 1-litre bottle on the driver’s side and for a 1.5-litre bottle on the front passenger’s side

– Cup holders in front (2)

– Chrome décor rings on instruments

– Black Point décor inlay for instrument panel and centre console

– Height-adjustable driver’s seat

– Textile boot lining

– Lockable and illuminated glove compartment with cooling function

– Umbrella holder on driver’s side

– Folding rear bench backrest split asymmetrically, with centre armrest

– Leather gearstick or selector lever knob

– Flat-weave seat fabric, Calino pattern

– Tufted velours carpet

Trendline safety equipment

– Airbag (dual-stage) for driver and front passenger, front passenger airbag can be deactivated

– Active front head restraints (2)

– Three-point automatic seat belts (5), with height adjustment and belt tensioners on front seats

– Hazard warning lights switched on automatically upon emergency braking

– Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) including brake assist, ABS, EDS and ASR

– Isofix anchoring points for 2 child seats on rear seat bench

– Head airbag system for front and rear passengers

– Rear head restraints (3)

– Reflectors (passive) in all doors

– Disc brakes at front and rear, front ventilated

– Front side airbags

– Lashing rings in boot (4)

– Warning triangle integrated in boot lid

Trendline functional equipment

– Aspheric exterior mirror on driver’s side

– Exterior mirrors electrically adjusted and heated

– Outside temperature indicator with frost warning

– Vehicle hold function (only with automatic gearbox)

– Automatic boot release

– Power windows at front

– Electrical remote release for boot and fuel filler flap

– Front and rear interior lights with switch-off delay and dim function, reading light at front (2)

– Blue instrument lighting, adjustable; red night design for switches

– “Climatic” air conditioning

– “Press & Drive” easy start function in instrument panel

– Height and reach adjustable steering column

– Vanity mirrors in sun visors

– Electronic parking brake

– Window antenna

– Electro/mechanical power steering, speed sensitive

– Tire Mobility Set, 12-volt compressor and tyre sealing agent

– Warning lamp when doors and boot not closed

– Warning lamp for washer fluid level

– Central locking with remote control, 2 remote keys

Additional equipment in Passat Comfortline compared with Passat Trendline (extract):

Comfortline exterior equipment +

– White indicators integrated in the front bumpers

– Chrome strips on side windows

– Front protection strips in body colour, chrome side and rear protection strips

– 4 steel wheels (6 ½ J x 16) with full-size wheel trims, 215/55 R 16 tyres

Comfortline interior equipment +

– Storage compartments on left and right-hand side of boot

– Pockets on back of front seats

– Ambient lighting

– Front passenger seat with height adjustment and lumbar support

– “Black Point” décor inlays for instrument panel and “Soft Silver” for centre console

– Load-through provision in rear seat

– Driver’s seat with 6-way electrical adjustment for backrest tilt and lumbar support

– Comfort seats in front

– Illuminated vanity mirrors in sun visors, sun visors pull out

– Centre armrest in rear with storage compartment for first aid kit and 2 extending cup holders

– Centre armrest with storage bin, illuminated, 2 vents at rear and cup holder at front with sliding cover

– Leather gearstick or selector level know (only 4MOTION or DSG gearbox)

– Centre seat panel in loop velours, Verona pattern

– Carpet mats in front and rear

Comfortline safety equipment +

– Automatic dimming rear-view mirror

Comfortline functional equipment +

– Automatic driving lights with coming home and leaving home function

– Power windows at rear

– Cruise control

– Interior lights at front and rear with switch-off delay and dim function, 2 reading lights both at front and rear with chrome rings

– Rain sensor

– 12-volt electric socket in rear and in boot

– Bag hooks in boot

Additional equipment in Passat Sportline compared with Passat Trendline (extract):

Sportline exterior equipment +

– White indicators integrated in the front bumpers

– Front protection strips in body colour, chrome side and rear protection strips

– 4 Catalunya alloy wheels (7J x 16) with anti-theft wheel bolts, 215/55 R 16 tyres

Sportline interior equipment +

– Storage compartments on left and right-hand side of boot

– Pockets on back of front seats

– Ambient lighting

– Front passenger seat with height adjustment and lumbar support

– “Black Point” décor inlays for instrument panel and “Sport Point” for centre console

– Load-through provision in rear seat

– Driver’s seat with 6-way electrical adjustment for backrest tilt and lumbar support

– Leather steering wheel (3 spoke)

– Vanity mirrors in sun visors

– Centre armrest in rear with storage compartment for first aid kit and 2 extending cup holders

– Centre armrest with storage bin, illuminated, 2 vents at rear and cup holder at front with sliding cover

– Leather gearstick or selector lever knob

– Flat-weave seat fabric, Monza pattern

– Front sports seats

– Carpet mats in front and rear

Sportline functional equipment +

– Power windows at rear

– Interior lights at front and rear with switch-off delay and dim function, 2 reading lights both at front and rear with chrome rings

– Multi-function display

– Sports chassis, lowered approx. 15mm

– 12-volt electric socket in rear and in boot

– Bag hooks in boot

Additional equipment in Passat Highline compared with Passat Trendline (extract):

Highline exterior equipment +

– White indicators integrated in the front bumpers

– Chrome strips on side windows

– Radiator grille frame, cross ribs as well as Volkswagen logo mount in chrome

– 4 “Adelaide” alloy wheels (7J x 16), 215/55 R 16 tyres

– Front protection strips in body colour, chrome side and rear protection strips

Highline interior equipment +

– Storage compartments on left and right-hand side of boot

– Pockets on back of front seats

– Ambient lighting

– Front passenger seat with height adjustment and lumbar support

– “Natural brushed Aluminium” décor inlays for instrument panel and centre console with Black, Classic Grey or Latte Macchiato interior trim

– “Walnut” décor inlays for instrument panel and centre console with Pure Beige interior trim

– Load-through provision in rear seat

– Driver’s seat with 6-way electrical adjustment for backrest tilt and lumbar support

– Leather steering wheel (3 spoke)

– Illuminated vanity mirrors in sun visors, pull-out double sun visors

– Centre armrest in rear with storage compartment for first aid kit and 2 extending cup holders

– Centre armrest with storage bin, illuminated, 2 vents at rear and cup holder at front with sliding cover

– Leather gearstick or selector lever knob

– Centre seat panel in Alcantara, seat edges, head restraint fronts and centre armrest top in “Nappa” leather

– Front sports seats

– Carpet mats in front and rear

Highline safety equipment +

– Automatic dimming rear-view mirror

– Fog lights

Highline functional equipment +

– “Climatronic”, 2-zone control, direct / indirect ventilation

– Entry warning lights in all doors

– Automatic driving lights with coming and leaving home function

– Power windows at rear

– Footwell lighting in front (2)

– Cruise control

– Interior lights at front and rear with switch-off delay and dim function, 2 reading lights both at front and rear with chrome rings

– Multi-function display

– Rain sensor

– Heated front windscreen washer jets

– Bag hooks in boot

– 12-volt electric socket in rear and in boot

– Heated front seats

The New Passat – Engines / Gearbox

Dynamic Emotion

Engines: Seven new engines in Passat range, 102hp to 250hp

Six-speed automatic gearbox: DSG for the TDI, Tiptronic for the FSI

Wolfsburg / Hamburg, 16. February 2005

Seven out of the eight Passat engines use direct injection and are new to the series. All engines fulfil the EU4 norm. They are transverse mounted at the front. The power ranges from 75kW / 102hp (basic engine) to 184kW / 250hp in future versions.

The three four-cylinder FSI with direct injection (homogeneous) deliver 85kW / 115hp, 110kW / 150hp and 147kW / 200hp (Turbo FSI). In the fourth quarter of 2005, a 3.2-litre V6-FSI delivering an impressive 184kW / 250hp will top off the range.

Each of the three TDIs on offer is being used for the first time in this series. They deliver 77kW / 105hp, 103kW / 140hp and 125kW / 170hp. The Passat TDI will also be available with a diesel particulate filter. The most powerful TDI features the innovative Piezo high-pressure unit injector system.

1.6 delivering 75kW: The 75kW / 102hp entry-level engine in the new Passat series is another tested economical engine. It accelerates the saloon to 100km/h in 12.4 seconds, allows a top speed of 190km/h and has an average consumption of 7.7 litres of Super Unleaded every 100 kilometres.

1.6 FSI delivering 85kW: The “smallest” petrol direct injection engine in the new Passat delivers 85kW / 115hp. Equipped with this engine, the saloon has a top speed of 200km/h and reaches 100 km/h in 11.4 seconds. This comes with an average consumption of just 7.5 litres of Super Unleaded every 100 kilometres.

2.0 FSI delivering 110kW: The next performance level also sees the use of a direct injection engine. This four cylinder delivers 110kW / 150hp, can reach 213km/h and makes the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 9.4 seconds. The EU total consumption is 8.2 litres.

2.0 T-FSI delivering 147kW: Volkswagen has chosen the turbo-charged 2.0 FSI as featured in the Golf GTI to be the most powerful four-cylinder in the Passat. The 147kW / 200hp FSI catapults the Passat to 100km/h in just 7.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 237km/h. At 8.6 litres, the average consumption of the Passat 2.0 T-FSI shows just how efficiently the combination of FSI and Turbo works.

1.9 TDI delivering 77kW: The economic and high-torque world of the TDI engines starts at 77kW / 105hp and 250 Newton-­metres. The Passat 1.9 TDI reaches a top speed of 188km/h, accelerates to  100 km/h in 12.3 seconds and consumes 5.6 litres of diesel every 100 kilometres on average.

2.0 TDI delivering 103kW: At 103kW / 140hp, the Passat 2.0 TDI is 209km/h fast. The four-cylinder engine develops a maximum 320 Newton-metres at just 1,800rpm and allows an impressive 9.8 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint. Average consumption: 5.9 litres.

2.0 TDI delivering 125kW: The second 2.0 TDI with a highly innovative Piezo high-pressure unit injector system and a balancer shaft is an all-new development. The very quiet four-valve TDI delivers 125kW / 170hp, develops 350 Newton-metres of torque and accelerates the saloon to 100km/h in just 8.6 seconds. The top speed is 223 km/h. The average consumption is also just 6.1 litres for every 100 kilometres.

Double-clutch gearbox (DSG): Both 2.0-litre TDIs are connected to a manual six-speed gearbox as standard. The innovative double-clutch gearbox (DSG) is available as an option. The DSG has six forward gears, shifts extremely quickly and is an ideal gearbox for use with turbo diesel direct injection engine. When combined with the TDI, it is the world’s first gearbox that fully maintains to the low consumption of a diesel despite the automatic gear shifting. Like the classic Tiptronic from Volkswagen, this gearbox can also be used manually using a plus/minus gate. The DSG will also be available for the most powerful petrol engine in the Passat range: the 3.2l V6.

The petrol engines with outputs of 85kW / 115hp, 110kW / 150hp and 147kW / 200hp can optionally be combined with a driver-friendly six-speed automatic gearbox (Tiptronic). The petrol engines from an output of 115hp are combined with a manual six-speed gearbox as standard.

The New Passat – Chassis

Emotion You Can Feel

Front axle: Aluminium components save over 13 kilos in weight

Rear axle: Four-link architecture with decoupled subframe

Wolfsburg / Hamburg, 16. February 2005

The new Passat shows how a modern front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive chassis should be both in terms of comfort and handling properties. The new four-link rear axle, has been acoustically decoupled from the body, the newly designed McPherson front axle with aluminium components and the electro/mechanical power steering, used for the first time in this class, guarantee a maximum level of agility, comfort and safety.

Depending on the equipment version, a sports chassis lowered around 15 millimetres (standard: Passat Sportline) as well as a 20 millimetre higher chassis for bad road conditions are optionally available.

The chassis technology is perfected by the ESP, which is standard on all models across the world, as well as a new ESP + Trailer Stabilisation that comes on all vehicles with a tow bar. In addition to the familiar ESP functions, the system ensures that dangerous snaking of the trailer is detected early and reduced with appropriate brake and engine intervention.

Another new feature in this segment is the use of 16-inch brakes all-around. Drivers of a 75kW Passat can therefore rely on the same excellent brake performance as drivers of the 147kW version. The brake discs are also equipped with a kind of wiper. Reason: In heavy rain, a water film can form on the brake disc and reduce its response. This is where the new “wiper” function comes in. At an interval of five minutes, the brakes are applied with a minimum amount of pressure to dry the discs. You do not notice this process while driving.

Front axle: The new front axle on the Passat is based on the McPherson concept with lower wishbones and spring struts. This axle is extremely light and thus offers numerous advantages. One example is the innovative lightweight construction. Compared with a conventional steel sheet construction, 4.5 kilogrammes in weight have been saved with the particularly stiff and crash-optimised subframe.

The transverse links made from wrought aluminium are also very light. The weight advantage over steel sheet totals 4.2 kilogrammes here.

Lightweight constructions for unsprung masses are particularly valuable. Therefore, in addition to the transverse links, the swing mountings have also been made from aluminium. The weight advantage adds up to 3.2 kilogrammes here. Thanks to a special construction, 1.4 kilogrammes have also been saved around the anti-roll bar. Together the different lightweight measures on the front axle provide a weight advantage of 13.3 kilogrammes. As a result, you get more comfort, more dynamism and lower consumption.

Rear axle in detail: The new Passat has an all-new four-link rear axle. Compared with other concepts, it provides a high level of driving comfort and stability. The special arrangement of the links allows longitudinal and transverse dynamics to be tuned separately. Separating the functions guarantees optimum dynamics and driving safety plus a very impressive ride comfort.

The very compact four-link rear axle is made up of a decoupled subframe, to which the hub carrier is connected using the three transverse links, spring links, tie rods and upper transverse links in the transverse direction. The longitudinal wheel location is handled by the trailing arm. Furthermore weight-optimised tube anti-roll bar are used on the rear axle.

The fact that the rear axle is decoupled from the body via a subframe is decisive for the extremely high comfort of the new Passat. The frame itself is very light thanks to the use of high-tensile steel. Decoupling the axle from the body has been achieved using four large rubber/metal bearings. This separation of the subframe reduces the noise level and raises driving and ride comfort to luxury-class standards.

The New Passat – History

Theory of Evolution

32 years: Volkswagen began its front-wheel drive era in 1973 with the Passat

13 million: The Passat is the most successful Volkswagen after the Golf and Beetle

Wolfsburg / Hamburg, 16. February 2005

Thirty-two years ago Volkswagen presented the first Passat and launched a best-seller. So far more than 13 million vehicles have been built over five generations of this globally successful series.

Let’s turn back the clock to July 1973: Volkswagen launches the follow-up to the “1600” and “411” models. It is a modern hatchback with front-wheel drive and a transverse inline engine mounted at the front. It is also the first water-cooled Volkswagen powerplant. Up to that point, the air-cooled boxer engine mounted in the rear had dominated Volkswagen history. A new era of front-wheel drive and front-mounted engines had begun.

Of course, the Beetle was still around and still very much in demand. Nevertheless the Passat with its superior drive and body concept was the future. One thing was certain: This was a good product. Under the bonnet, petrol engines with up to 63kW/85hp ensured very agile propulsion. However, at the time, no one imagined that generations later V6 TDI engines with up to 132kW/180hp or a W8 delivering 202kW/275hp would be mounted under the bonnet.

The same can be said of many more things. When the first Passat left the Emden plant, Willy Brandt was making history as the German Chancellor and Hillary Rodham and her boyfriend Bill Clinton were finishing their law studies at Yale University. Also Roger Moore was saving the world as James Bond in Live and Let Die, Pink Floyd released The Dark Side of the Moon and IBM presented the first hard drive setting the course for the computer age.

The sales figures for the Passat go way beyond all forecasts. Twelve million units – in simple statistics this means that 1,096 Passat saloons and estates were delivered on a daily basis for over three decades (2003: 3,000 each workday). It is a best-seller par excellence.

The first Passat was a weight-optimised car with two or four doors and space for five people. As for the engine, you could choose between three petrol versions in two capacity classes. In February 1974, the new Passat Estate arrived allowing owners to transport larger objects. Thanks to its long, stretched silhouette and its flexibility, it also  immediately became a best-seller.

The overall concept was very popular: Even in the first full year on the market (1974), 133,000 customers chose the Passat and by December 1976 one million Passats had been sold.

When the Bee Gees brought disco to Germany in 1977 with Stayin’ Alive from Saturday Night Fever, Volkswagen introduced a new version of the first generation Passat enhancing the style with a classic facelift and improving the aero­dynamics. Plastic-covered bumpers continued to identify the series on the outside. Also the ergonomics of many components was improved on the inside.

In March 1978, the 1.5-litre diesel engine (37kW/50hp), already successfully used in the Golf, followed for the Passat. An average consumption of 7.5 litres and even less with careful driving gave birth to a new world of economic cars. In April 1980, Passat production swiftly passed the two-million mark. When the successor was introduced in the late autumn, the Passat had already secured a place in automobile history by selling 2.6 million units.

In November 1980, the second generation of the sensational mid-range model made its debut. It featured a new construction, was bigger, more elegant and grown-up. The Passat had also broken away from the Audi 80 and was following its own route. Volkswagen also stuck to the successful hatchback in the second generation of the Passat, but this time launched the new estate simultaneously. Both versions have impressive technical features particularly the new innovative rear semi-independent suspension.

A new 1.6-litre diesel delivering 40kW/54hp made its debut providing a particularly economic power plant. In August 1982, the output of the diesel was boosted to 51kW/70hp to make the first turbo diesel in the Passat. Upon launch, the Passat was available for the first time with a five-cylinder petrol engine (85kW/115hp).

In the same year, the Santana, a classic Passat four-door saloon with a conventional boot made its debut. An increasing number of high-tech components were added to the range at the time. For example: four-wheel drive became available for the Passat Estate GT syncro from 1984. In 1985, the series underwent an extensive facelift.

Also from 1985, Volkswagen delivered the first Passat with a computer-controlled catalytic converter (66kW/90hp) and built the three millionth Passat. The top of the range version, a 200km/h Passat with 2.2-litre five-cylinder engine (100kW/136hp), was launched. In March 1987, the series broke the four-million barrier.

In Spring 1988, Volkswagen sent out the third generation of the Passat and Passat Estate to dealerships. The Passat had new qualities: It had grown considerably, featured an all-new design line, had a substantially longer wheel base and was now powered by transverse engines. Volkswagen presented the estate at the same time again. Both body versions were characterised by perfect aerodynamics. In June 1990, Passat production crossed the five-million line.

Another highlight was the VR6 introduced in the early summer of 1991. From 2.8 litres capacity, the compact VR6 developed an agile 128kW/174hp. The top speed of the Passat VR6 saloon is 224km/h, the estate reaches 218km/h.

After building more than 1.6 million units, Volkswagen presented the successor to the best-selling model in the midsummer of 1993. Exactly 20 years after the introduction, 6.2 million cars had been produced.

In autumn 1993, the first fourth-generation Passats were delivered. The most striking visual feature was a classic radiator grille instead of the closed front. In just three years almost 700,000 units from this generation of Passat and Passat Estate, which had been enhanced in many areas, were sold. The passive and active safety was optimised by standard driver and front passenger airbags, belt tensioners and ABS antilock brakes.

One technical revolution in 1993 was an engine with the abbreviation TDI. The turbo diesel with direct injection delivered 66kW/90hp and allowed speeds of up to 178km/h. The average consumption was only 5.3 litres (estate 5.4 litres). In February 1996, the TDI range was expanded to include a 1.9-litre four-cylinder engine with an output of 81kW/110hp.

The fifth generation Passat introduced in 1996 signalled the start of a new era as, in many areas, the quality, safety and com­fort reached a level previously associated with the next vehicle class up. The all-new body was fully galvanised and extremely stiff. The completely re-designed interior lived up to this standard. Two of the many technical highlights were the chassis with a new four-link front axle as well as standard side airbags.

The basic version of the Passat came with a new 1.6-litre aluminium engine (74kW/100hp). The new V5 engine with a capacity of 2.3 litres and an output of 110kW/150hp (from September 1997) and the V6 now delivering 142kW/193hp provided interesting alternatives.

The estate made its first appearance at the Geneva International Automobile Show in March 1997. Over the next months, the equipment and range of engines were refined. In 1998, the first TDI with unit injector technology (85kW/115hp) and the Passat V6 TDI delivering 110kW/150hp were, for example, introduced. From September 1999, ESP became standard in all Passat models in Germany.

In October 2000, Volkswagen presented the extensively revised fifth generation of the Passat. The new nose design with its elegant chrome radiator grille as well as the new rear with its striking taillights clearly pointed the way to the future. The body quality set new standards in the mid-range class. In addition to the standard front and side ­airbags, side head airbags were now optionally available. Like many other details, air conditioning was made part of the standard equipment.

The 202kW/275hp four-wheel drive Passat W8 and Passat Estate W8 enjoyed a special exclusive status. In the area of volume engines, a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 96kW/130hp followed in December 2001. In March of that year, a new V6 TDI delivering 132kW/180hp made its debut. And, in May, the TDI range for the Passat was expanded to include another V6. It delivered 120kW / 163hp and, like the more powerful V6, fulfilled the strict EU4 emissions norm.

On 13 May 2003, the twelve millionth Passat was built at the Emden plant. In autumn 2003, a further engine innovation followed: The Passat 2.0 TDI (100kW/136hp) with particulate filter. In the same year, the million seller was made even more elegant. As introduced for the first time for the Phaeton, the Passat was given new outside mirrors with integrated indicators among other components. Soon afterwards, Volkswagen celebrated the production of the 13 millionth Passat. Produced at the Emden plant, the Passat reflects a typical success story for the brand. It is a best-seller par excellence in Europe as well as in China, South Africa, Australia and the USA. At the end of 2004, the last Passat saloons left the assembly lines. They have made space for the new, sixth generation. Its story will start on 15 February 2005 in Hamburg…

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