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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
W8 Passats are showing up in dealers now, so if you are even mildly curious, head down and drive one.
I'll leave this topic at the top of this forum for a while so people can post their impressions and increase the variety of opinions on this interesting Passat addition...

I drove a Silver W8 Sedan yesturday at Pugi VW in Downers Grove and took some photos as well. As soon as I get a few minutes here I'll post the photos in addition to my brief impressions of the car:
The car I drove was a Silver sedan with black interior. Pugi also has a Black wagon with grey interior that looked great. The car had just been PDI'd but still had lots of shipping plastic covering bits and pieces of the interior. The car had 48 miles on it and was far from broken in.
Interestingly there was a brand new 2002 Passat GLX 4motion parked right next to it and I was able confirm that VW did in fact add more sound deadening material to the W8. Open and close a door on the V6 GLX and then open and close the same door on the W8 and there was a difference in heft and the sound of the door closing.
Walking around the car the first thing I noticed are the rear chrome quad exhaust tips and W8/4motion badging. This all makes for a pretty intimidating rear view of the car which kinda threw me off as I don't necessarily think of the Passat as intimidating. I like it though.
The car was outfitted with 16" wheels that are just too plain for this type of car in my opinion. The 17" two-piece BBS-looking wheels they had on the W8 at the autoshows were much nicer looking and give the car a great look. The 16" wheels are so plain looking I'd rather have the V6 GLX 16" wheel... anyway, just my personal preference, but if I'm spending $38k I'd like a little bit nicer looking wheel.

Gas mileage on the sticker was 18 MPG city and 25 MPG highway, not nearly as bad as I had originally heard it was going to be. Price on the sticker was $38,450, including the destination fee.
Peering between the spokes reveals Audi S4 brakes which grab like crazy the first time you dip into the brake pedal. They are meaty and quite large (necessary for the heft of this vehicle). The headlamps are HID units that are the bi-xenon units. This means that when you turn the high-beams on, the project beam HID unit flips up an internal cutoff mirror that casts shedloads of light in addition to a second inboard halogen unit that also lights up. You could light up that obnoxious Pontiac owner with 20 driving lights coming at you at night with these badboys and watch him weave - gives new meaning to high beams. The HID headlamps come with flush mounted headlamp washer units in the bumper just below the headlights. The car also has the fog lamps mounted down low in the lower grills. A W8 badge adorns the front grill as well.

Sitting in the W8 does give an immediate impression that this is a premium car, slightly moreso than a V6 GLX although I can't quite put my finger on why. There is more wood trim covering various parts of the interior, a chrome strip that runs around the perimeter of the dash continuing into the doors, new sunroof controls (something some 2002 cars have as well, but I hadn't seen in person yet). It also felt really buttoned down and finished well.

Starting the car resulted in a slightly different engine noise that really can't be compared to anything else. I didn't find it offensive in any way, just DIFFERENT - kind of like two 4-cylinder engines side by side (VR4's no less!). Put it in gear and give it gas and this engine sounds really sweet - it literally roars at higher RPMs. I can only imagine what some exhaust tuning and an intake would do to this thing. I'd rate the aural sensation at high RPMs better than the regular Audi 4.2l but not as good as the sound of the S8 4.2 (that thing will give you goose bumps on a 1-2 shift at redline- yow!). I used to think the old VR6 in the Corrado and A3 generation Jetta and GTI was my favorite sounding VW, but the W8 might have just knocked it off the pedestal.
If you are easy on the throttle, this car isn't much different than a V6 other than sounding different. It shifts out of 1st gear as soon as it can (presumably for fuel economy reasons). If you mash the throttle it will run right to redline though and off the line its pretty quick even with the tiptronic - not fast, but it will move. I turned the ESP off and hammered on it making a left turn and got the tires to spin up front which promptly moved power to the rear which upset the lousy high-profile 16" rubber and brought the rear end out just a little bit - fun. The 16" rubber provides a pretty cushy ride and gives no impression that this is going to be a sporty ride. In fact they are probably the one of the biggest hinderances to the handling of the car as the sidewalls just rollover with all that weight and give up. There is no denying that while this car is typical German/Passat feeling in handling and ride, it doesn't have any sporting intentions with the 16" wheels and rubber that are on it. The high profile rubber gives a less than sharp on-center feel and turn-in is just not as crisp as it normally would be, especially with all the added weight. It does feel like VW did something to better control the roll stiffness and it has a slightly different feel than other Passat models. VW says there will be a sport package with the far better looking 17" wheels in the future. Apparently they couldn't find a all-season performance tire in a 225 size that could handle the load rating of the W8 Passat, so thus the delay. I sent email to the product planning guys at VWoA today telling them they should make the 17" wheels/sport package standard with the forthing coming six-speed manual version of the W8 Passat, since most people that want the manual are looking for something a little sportier... we'll see if they listen.

Going down the road the car is really solid and feels like a $35k car. It may be missing a few of the glitzy bells and whistles an Audi or Mercedes throws at you, but it is every bit as solid with interior quality that will rival almost anything out there. Passat owners will feel right at home and the added power will leave you jealous that VW doesn't put a more powerful V6 in the GLX. The million dollar question is whether it is worth the extra $5000 over a V6 GLX 4motion... The W8 isn't as slow as I thought it would be and moves out nicely, however it isn't fast and doesn't feel like 270hp. The 4motion drivetrain and tremendous weight of the car along with a Tiptronic trans and only 48 miles on the odometer all conspire against rapid acceleration. It is definately fun though and will put a grin on any Passat owner that drives it. It would be a tough decision though whether or not to buy the W8 or a V6 GLX for me and it probably come down to your personal preference. If could have my way, I'd put Audi's twin-turbo V6 from the S4 into a Passat Wagon and buy it today, so that probably says something right there.

I'll post pictures a little later and more to the story as I think of it.
-jamie
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (Marc Collins)

No I didn't, but I am trying to track down what specific changes were made to the car to improve performance (ie. final drive for the U.S. market).
-jamie
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (matt007)

They dyno every VW on the assembly line and run it up to red line and hold it there and back down - on a brand new engine that just had oil put in it not 30 minutes prior.
I know it isn't quite the same thing when load is figured in and it makes you wonder why VW tells us not to exceded certain RPM's during the "break in period".
Anyway...
 

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Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (vwvortex1)

Great post! I don't know what to think of the W8 - but as a top-of-the-line-VW I think it's great. A swedish magazine compared a W8 (tiptronic) with a BMW 530iA (same price in Sweden) and the conclusion: why buy a good car (the W8) when you can get a great car for same price.... That said, I'd go for the W8 over the 530, but there's quite a few other great cars in the same price range, isn't it?
 

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Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (vwvortex1)

Thanks for the write up. good information. I love this forum for the up todate information.
One question though, if the W8 will have a manual trans in the future does it mean the GLX V6 will eventually get the stick too.
 

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Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (vwvortex1)

quote:[HR][/HR]...doesn't feel like 270hp[HR][/HR]​
For a 3650lb W8 to achieve the same acceleration as a 3200lb B5 with 270 HP*, you'd need roughly 310HP.
*It needs another 40HP to feel like a pre-facelift B5 with APR Stage III.
 

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Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (Electron Man)

Hopefully they will follow Benz. Meaning:When you get an E430 4MATIC it comes with the Sport package - different wheels & 235/45/ZR17 P7000 S/S,Conti Touring Contacts or Eagle F1 GSD 2's to differentiate it from an E320 4MATIC on which the Sport Package is an option..
 

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Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (vwvortex1)

I posted a report under the topic W8 Five Mile Drive Today. A summary: More than enough accelleration, LOTS of engine noise, not good on-center steering feel, H-rated tires that limit the governor setting to 130 mph, light pounding from the front suspension like a Cadillac STS.
Perhaps the shipping blocks had not been removed from the front suspension. I think this car had not yet been prepped.
The steering also was heavier than on my 4Motion Variant.
In short: a Volkswagen hotrod but not a competitor for the C320 or even for the Audi A6 4.2. Perhaps the driving feel is close to a Cadillac Seville STS that I drive occasionally.........not all bad considering the price difference.
 

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Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (SAEDave)

I just came back from getting a headlight bulb replaced (posted here). I figured I'd wait for them to change the bulb as long as there was a W8 for me to test drive--and sho'nuff, there was.
The salesman at Stohlman's told me that this particular Pacific Blue Pearl (I believe he called it) with black leather was the dealership's only car and that they hadn't even received from VW literature on the car yet. To add to what's already been mentioned:

  • Less body roll than my GLX non-4mo,
  • better than adequate acceleration but not as much low-end torque as I expected,
  • ESP works!,
  • for this much money you'd think VW would at least throw in an alloy spare wheel, but no,
  • even more chrome than before: a little strip on the bottom of the taillight housing and a long horizontal strip running along the dash underneath the air vents,a quasi-Euroswitch with 2 detents (pull-out stops) that confounded the salesman and me both about whether there was a rear-fog--still don't know since the owner's manual doesn't even mention the 2nd stop.

When I mentioned to the service writer that I'd be looking to drive a W8, he said he rather take an Audi or BMW for that kind of money. We already know he's not alone with that sentiment. Final analysis: I'd feel like I'd be getting more value for the money with a V6 GLX.


[Modified by DCdave, 4:10 PM 4-11-2002]
 

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Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (Yanke)

Considering that it is at Autobarn, I would not be very interested. They add a price pack on most of their cars and are amazingly rude! This is in spite of the fact that my only W8 interest would be in a Variant. I brought a friend to their Evanston IL dealership to look at a Golf last week and she was very displeased with the experience.
 

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Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (SAEDave)

Good (not great) acceleration. If the six-speed shows up, that should be something. It sounds sort of like a "traditional" V8 at low revs, but something else entirely at higher revs. The real mystery (other than the minispare) is the second detent on the headlight switch. It turns off the halogen high-beams without changing the cutoff flap on the HID lamp. I'm not sure what the point is.
 

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Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (Marc Collins)

Took an unplanned test drive of the W8 at Green VW/Audi in Springfield, IL, this evening. I had no idea the thing was even in the U.S. yet, but did happen to see an ad in the latest issue of Smart Money I received today. I immediately went to the web to check the VW site for more info. After dinner out, we cruised through the dealer lot and was ready to pull out the back entrance when I spied the W8 in the back row. Even though they were closed, the salesman let me check it out completely and take it for a quick drive. I would have to agree with Jamie's assessment of the car, especially the power issue. The 2002 Saab 9-5 Aero wagon I test drove Wednesday felt more responsive with 250 HP and similar curb weight. Also test drove Volvo V70 T5 that day and felt is was fast, but not as responsive as Saab- maybe equivalent to W8. To answer your question, RPM at 60 was about 2000 as I recall, which is very similar to above mentioned cars.
 

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Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (SAEDave)

Only contact I've had with them was over the phone when I was searching for a 5spd 1.8T variant. But due to their size I can easily go along with what you say SAEDave.
 

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Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (kabrika)

I think it is using the 3.51 final drive, which is a lot higher than the FWD PAssat, but not as ludicrously high as the 4MO.
All the Audi VW mid size cars have basically identical gear ratios with the final drive changed:
A6 4.2: 2.73
Passat FWD, Audi A4 1.8T and 3.0: 3.09
A6 2.7T: 3.51
Passat 4MO, A6 3.0: 3.73
It is only my preference, because I prefer to have relaxed high speed driving and could care less about drag racing between traffic light in the city, but I wouldn't buy any Audi or VW with a final drive higher than the 3.09.
I guess that narrows my choices, doesn't it

4.2, here I come!!!
Marc
 

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Re: W8 Driving Impressions - Post your impressions here... (bigjim)

quote:[HR][/HR]What is the final drive you are talking about and what are the benefits of the lower drive?[HR][/HR]​
A higher drive ratio will give you better performance at the loss of fuel economy. A lower drive ratio will give you slower performance, but better fuel economy and a much a smoother driving car.
 
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