Let's face it: the VW Passat doesn't appeal to many of us speed-hungry, performance-minded enthusiasts. As VW's largest and heaviest passenger vehicle, it weighs 300 lb more than a Jetta and the styling is decidedly ho-hum. But the Passat's best qualities will inevitably suit those of us with different goals; people looking for class, sophistication, comfort or luxury. As such, it shares some of the comfort and space of other vehicles in the market but at a competitive price. And while the B6 Passat may not get you to the finish line in record time, it will provide you with a comfortable and effortless driving experience. As Adrian Saldivar of ABD Racing said, "The newest Passat is the classiest one yet..."
Hailing from Riverside, CA, Autobahn Designs is a popular VW/Audi tuner with a string of renowned project cars behind it. Who can forget their Mk5 GTI that won Speed TV's Street Tuner Challenge last year (et 11/06)? Or how about their supercharged Mk4 R32 on the cover of et 8/04, among others?
Since 1990, they've built project cars, developed a range of tuner parts and served the VW/Audi community. So it was no surprise to learn they're one of the first tuners to tackle the B6 Passat.
"We've always built Passats when they first come out," explained CEO Jason Reich. "The B4, B5, B5.5 and now this B6 have all had the ABD treatment. And because of the popularity of the 2.0T motor, we decided to make all of our Passat components for this derivative."
Starting with the stock 200hp two liter 16v turbo, it was upgraded with the help of GIAC and their X+ software. This improved overall performance and hastened the shifts from its six-speed automatic tranny.
ABD then went to work developing their own line of products, including a front-mount intercooler kit, which takes several components from their GTI and GLI 2.0T kits. It also fits inside the factory bumper, so doesn't require any cutting to fit. There's also a LAN pipe, which is their cold-air intake. The one seen here is a prototype, but the production piece will be available in the near future.
Next on ABD's list of updates were the brakes. To sharpen the pedal feel, they designed cross-drilled rotors and stainless steel brake lines which swap in easily. ABD then fitted Mintex pads for better performance.
Like most stock vehicles, the ride height created an enormous wheel and fender gap, so ABD used their relationship with Eibach to obtain its Sportline springs to lower the car. They also fitted the damper kit, which helped maintain comfort levels but also added stiffness for improved handling.
With the car lowered, it still didn't set itself apart enough from its stock counterparts, so ABD contacted Caractere for a body kit. The three-piece kit included a front nose, rear valance and a trunk wing. "We chose Caractere because their stuff is great," Jason told us. "We've used it on other project cars and it fits perfectly. It also makes the car look more aggressive yet retains factory quality."
More changes were added to highlight the exterior, including European side markers and smoked LED tail lights. ABD even fabricated B-pillar trim pieces to create a different silhouette than the stock black trim achieved.
The wheels continued the exterior transformation. "Multi-piece wheels wouldn't look right on the car," noted Jason. "We wanted to create a classier look, so we selected the TSW Holsten wheels." The flat-faced wheels really suit the big car and portray a Mercedes or Audi look, but are significantly more affordable. They measured 20x8.5" all around and were matched with Falken FK-452 tires.
The interior remains mostly factory since there wasn't much ABD could do to improve it. All they did was personalize items such as the new mats, trunk mat, pedal set and door sills.
One of the nicest additions was an OE European center console, which includes a swanky sliding compartment to hide your phone or mp3 player.
Another interior feature is an integrated Motorola Bluetooth setup. You might recall that ABD's Passat was shown in our SEMA show coverage in et 2/06. It appeared in the Motorola booth and was one of the first cars to be outfitted with this system. As more states require hands-free phone use in vehicles, this will certainly be helpful in the future.
So what's in store for the car? Since our photo shoot, it's had a full exhaust installed built by Techtonics Tuning. "We plan to come out with a turbo upgrade as well," Jason informed us. "A Passat 2.0T can be just as powerful as a GTI or GLI, but it needs to be more sophisticated. It wasn't meant to be a racer, but extra performance is aways nice for a daily driver."
With the current modifications, it's claimed to have 60-70hp over stock. Add its styling components plus a possible turbo upgrade and we might have found an affordable Passat to rival luxury sedans costing twice as much!
2007 VW Passat
Owner: ABD Racing
Location: Riverside, CA
Occupation: VW/Audi tuner
Engine: two liter 16v turbo FSI with ABD Racing LAN pipe system, GIAC X+ software, ABD front-mount intercooler
Drivetrain: six-speed automatic transmission
Suspension: Eibach Sportline springs with damper kit
Brakes: ABD cross-drilled rotors with Mintex pads, stainless steel brake lines
Wheels & Tires: 20x8.5" TSW Holsten wheels, 235/30-20 Falken FK-452 tires
Exterior: Caractere front and rear valances, trunk wing, OE European clear side markers and smoked LED tail lights, B-pillar trim pieces
Interior: ABD floor mats, trunk mat, pedal set, door sills, OE European center console
Audio/Video: Motorola Bluetooth setup with iPod integration
Contact: www.abdracing.com, 951/351-9566