Borrowing heavily from the recently launched VW Jetta and the Phaeton, new Passat sedan and wagon variants will be unveiled at Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris (October 2-17).
The Volkswagen Passat represents one of the success stories in automotive history, with over 15 million cars sold since it was first launched in 1973. The seventh generation will be available in initial European markets starting as soon as mid-November.
The previous fifth and sixth Passat generations had bridged a path to the higher luxury sedan segment with their high-end features. The seventh generation Passat emphatically continues this trend. A completely new styling configuration was created; its front-end follows that of the Phaeton, which was restyled mid-year. Without leaving the mid-class in terms of pricing, the Passat approaches the top segment with its upgraded comfort, convenience, quality and safety properties, as well as in its assistance systems. Standard equipment on all European turbo-diesel models of the base Trendline version now includes the energy-saving Stop/Start system and battery regeneration. All other gasonline and natural gas engines have a battery regeneration system as well. For the smallest gasoline engine, battery regeneration and the Stop/Start system are available as options.
All ten engines (105hp through 300hp) are more fuel efficient - up to 18 percent more. The "smallest" and yet torque-strong turbo-diesel (1.6 TDI with 105hp and 185 lb-ft) now consumes just 56mpg US; equivalent to 109g/km CO2. Meanwhile, downsizing and technologies such as the Stop/Start system contribute to extraordinary fuel efficiency in the gasoline-powered versions. Pioneering here is the 1.4 TSI (122hp); in the BlueMotion Technology version, it only consumes 41mpg US. The equivalent CO2 value is 138g/km.
The previous model attained five stars in Euro-NCAP crash testing. The new model takes safety to a new level with features such as an automatic City emergency braking function and, on Comfortline models and above, a standard fatigue detection function.
As a component of the optional automatic ACC adaptive cruise control system, in worst case scenarios the emergency braking function reacts independently at speeds below 30km/h. So, it can help prevent frontal collisions. The fatigue detection system, which Volkswagen is introducing for the first time in this class, is continually active; it detects reduced driver concentration and warns the driver with an acoustic signal; a visual message also appears in the instrument cluster recommending that the driver should take a break from driving.
Another new feature is the continually active masked main beam headlights known as Dynamic Light Assist; this is the same system as the one first introduced on the new Touareg. Dynamic Light Assist - an option offered in conjunction with bi-xenon headlights - enables continual use of the main beam headlights while driving. Via a camera, the system detects oncoming traffic and cars driving ahead and automatically masks only those lighting areas relevant to glare. The Passat is the first car in its class to have this system.
For vehicles with conventional halogen headlights, a simpler version of automatic main beam control is available: Light Assist. A camera is also used here to detect oncoming traffic. But the system switches over completely between main beam and dipped beam. As soon as there is no more oncoming traffic, the main beam is reactivated.
The XDS electronic transverse differential lock - first introduced on the Golf GTI - improves traction in bends. Along with Lane Assist (lane keeping assistant), which was also available in the previous model, there will now also be a Side Assist function, which uses flashing LEDs in the door mirrors to call the driver's attention to vehicles located laterally to the rear or next to the Passat, or a vehicle approaching quickly from the rear.
Other new assistance systems are convenience oriented, and they simplify everyday driving. They include Easy Open: If the new Passat sedan is equipped with Keyless Access (automatic locking and engine starting system), a specific foot motion behind the vehicle is sufficient to cause the trunk lid to open. Anyone who has stood next to a car with both hands full knows know helpful a function like Easy Open can be. Naturally, the trunk lid only opens for someone who is carrying the proper RF identification key for the Passat. The human-machine interface here is a sensor located in the bumper area.
Also new in the Passat: The rear seat can be unlatched from the trunk, a towbar that can be made to swivel out at the press of a button, and side windows with noise-dampening compound safety glass.
As in the new Sharan, Park Assist II will now also be offered on the Passat; this system not only can steer into parking spaces parallel to the carriageway; it can also find its way into parking spaces perpendicular to it.
Last but not least, the Passat's RNS 510 navigation system detects speed limit signs by camera and sends them to the touchscreen in the centre console.