VW's New Mid-size Sedan (NMS), which will be called the Passat in the US, has been unveiled on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show.
Built in the new factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, it has been designed specifically for the North American market and will not be offered in Europe.
It's hoped the new Passat will set benchmarks in efficiency, comfort and value when it goes on sale later this year with an estimated starting price of $20,000.
Despite the familiar name, the new Passat differs significantly from its European counterpart. Every external panel is new, with a look drawing on the styling of the seventh generation Passat, yet featuring subtle changes to the window line, rear lights, trunk lid and bumper, as well as restyled doors and front fenders.
At 110", the Passat's wheelbase has been extended by 3.6", while overall length grows to 192" (a gain of 3.9") and the width is increased by 0.5" to total72" when compared to the European version.
The result is a car that aims to offer class-leading interior space with generous rear legroom and a larger trunk. It will also be well equipped with an insulating acoustic film applied to the windscreen to reduce road and wind noise, air conditioning, cruise control, a CD system and Bluetooth all being fitted as standard.
In addition, Electronic Stabilization Program, ABS with Brake Assist and a tire pressure monitoring system will be fitted to every Passat.
Powering the new Passat sedan will be a choice of one diesel and two petrol engines. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder TDI Clean Diesel engine is fitted with an oxidation catalytic converter, a particulate filter and an SCR catalytic converter to allow it to adhere to emissions standards across all 50 US states, and making it one of the cleanest and most efficient diesel engines in the world. This engine can be specified with either a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox.
Predicted to be fitted to two thirds of all Passats sold in North America, the 2.5-liter, five-cylinder gasoline engine produces 170hp, allowing the car to accelerate to 60mph in 8.2 seconds. Paired with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, this engine can also be specified with a six-speed automatic (torque converter) gearbox.
The range-topping engine will be a 3.6-liter V6 petrol unit developing 280hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, with a six-speed DSG gearbox fitted as standard.
The new Passat will be launched in North America in August.