Passat Estate Mk VII

The seventh generation Passat was revealed to the public at the Paris Motor Show in September 2010, 37 years after the first Passat went on sale in 1973.  Since then, over 15 million examples have been sold in more than 100 markets worldwide – denoting this vehicle among those Volkswagens which, like the Golf, have stood the test of time.

The Passat’s continuing popularity can be attributed to a number of factors, one of which is undoubtedly the car’s achievement of setting new benchmarks in quality and innovation with the evolution of each new generation.  The Passat’s features and overall quality and refinement continue to push the boundaries of the so-called upper medium class, edging it closer at every stage to the premium segment and beyond.

The latest generation is no exception to this rule.  The new car takes on not only a fresh appearance both inside and out with every panel and glass surface apart from the roof being new, but also adopts the latest technologies and efficiency measures to make it among the most advanced and economical cars in its class. 

In addition, the new Passat promises to be the quietest and most refined iteration yet.  Thicker glass is fitted to the side windows while the windscreen features a thin plastic film sandwiched between two layers of the glass to help reduce noise transmission.  The front bulkhead incorporates increased sound deadening which, combined with the latest generation of common rail diesel and TSI petrol engines, significantly reduces the engine noise entering the interior of the new Passat.

Every diesel engine is now badged as a BlueMotion Technology product and is equipped with battery regeneration and Stop/Start systems as standard.  The result is that the entry-level 1.6-litre TDI 105 PS is capable of exceeding the economy of the outgoing BlueMotion model with a combined economy of 65.7 mpg and CO2 emissions of 114 g/km.  In turn, the new BlueMotion model, due to go on sale in June, is predicted to return 68.8 mpg and emit 109 g/km of CO2.

Three trim levels are available: S, SE and Sport.  Additional equipment added to the new Passat over the outgoing model includes an iPod interface and leather multifunction steering wheel for the S model.  The SE trim level gains an eight-speaker digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity and the new driver fatigue detection system; while at the top of the range the new Sport model gains RNS 315 touchscreen satellite navigation.

All Passats are fitted with six airbags, ABS (anti-lock braking system), ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) and WOKS (whiplash-optimised head restraints) as standard.  What’s more, an automatic fatigue detection system monitors the driver’s inputs and emits an audible and visual warning when fatigue is detected.  It is standard on the majority of new Passats.  A new City Emergency Braking function which automatically applies the brakes at speeds below 18 mph should an unavoidable collision be sensed by the vehicle is also offered as an option.

The best-selling version of the new Passat is forecast to be the SE 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS model.  For the first time, the Estate is expected to out-sell the saloon – accounting for around 53 per cent of total volume.  In 2011, Volkswagen UK will sell just under 10,000 Passat saloons and just over 11,000 Estates.  Almost 80 per cent of Passats will be purchased by fleet buyers.

SUMMARY

  • New Passat is seventh generation of the model; first launched in 1973, since then over 15 million examples have been sold in more than 100 markets
  • Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September 2010, European sales began in October; UK Retailers began taking orders for new Passat in October, ready for first customer deliveries on 4 January 2011
  • Overall length grows by 4 mm to 4,769 mm (Estate 4,771 mm); width (1,820 mm) and height (1,470 mm saloon, 1,516 mm Estate) remain unchanged
  • Features all-new look with clean lines and pronounced new grille element with chrome horizontal fins framed by a pair of angular headlight units; new Passat marks an evolution of the Volkswagen design language
  • At the rear, distinctive tail lights are joined by chrome highlights that extend down the side of the car; every body panel apart from roof is new as well as every glass surface
  • Fresh look continues inside.  Revised dashboard with new dials, trim finishes and an analogue clock are joined by subtle chrome highlights plus new seats.  Centre console is updated with revisions to minor controls as well as new door trims
  • Thicker glass is used with the windscreen benefiting from an acoustic film sandwiched between layers of the glass resulting is less road and wind noise
  • Engine noise has also been reduced through the use of new sound deadening material mounted on the front bulkhead, wheelarches and in the dashboard leading to the new Passat being one of the quietest and most refined cars in its class
  • Range of advanced and highly efficient petrol and new second generation diesel engines power the new Passat.  Petrol line-up comprises 1.4-litre 122 PS TSI; 1.8-litre 160 PS TSI; and 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS engines
  • Diesel engines benefit from a series of modifications to make them more efficient while reducing noise and vibration.  All are designated BlueMotion Technology and feature Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems
  • Entry-level engine is the most efficient: a 1.6-litre TDI unit producing 105 PS.  In BlueMotion form (due June) with this engine, the new Passat is expected to achieve a combined fuel figure of 68.8 mpg while emitting 109 g/km of CO2.  Two further diesel units – a 2.0-litre TDI with 140 or 170 PS – are also available
  • Engines can be specified with a choice of manual or DSG gearboxes
  • New Passat is available with the option of new safety and comfort technologies usually reserved for luxury vehicles.  These include a City Emergency Braking function which automatically applies the brakes at speeds below 18 mph should an unavoidable collision be sensed by the vehicle
  • An automatic fatigue detection system monitors the driver’s inputs and emits an audible and visual warning when fatigue is detected.  It is standard on the majority of new Passats
  • Three trim levels are available: S, SE and Sport
  • Projected UK sales volumes for 2011: 9,987 saloons / 11,175 Estates.  Nearly 80 per cent of fleet buyers.  Overall best-selling model will be the SE 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS, accounting for around a quarter of total sales
  • Built at Volkswagen’s Emden plant in Germany

Market information
The Passat competes in both the family car and executive saloon markets, a rival to the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia, and also the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volvo S60. 

Volkswagen UK sold 21,263 Passats in 2009: 11,753 saloon and 9,510 Estate.  Passat CC models amounted to 4,562 units. Projected UK sales volumes for 2011: 9,987 saloons / 11,175 Estates.  Nearly 80 per cent of all buyers will be from the company car market.  The overall best-selling model will be the SE 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS, accounting for around a quarter of total sales.

Volkswagen has established a strong reputation among business and private buyers for the performance, durability and economy of its TDI diesel engines and these account for around 80 per cent of UK Passat sales. 

Production
The Passat and Passat Estate are produced at the Emden plant in Northern Germany alongside the Passat CC.  Employing around 7,900 staff, the car production site at Emden measures 4.1 million square metres, 1.6 million sq m of which is occupied by buildings.  The plant location is convenient, being in the immediate vicinity of the Emden port from which Passat models are delivered across the world.  Around one million new vehicles are imported and exported annually through Emden, with almost daily crossings to the UK. 

The plant itself is among the most advanced and sustainable in the world, with, for example, on-site wind generators which produce 4.5 megawatts of electrical power.  The site also has its own test track. 

The Emden factory was built in 1964, specialising in the production of the original Beetle, primarily for the North American market.  A total of 2,360,591 cars were produced in Emden until the model was discontinued in 1978.  The Passat has been built in Emden since 1977 and in November 2007, the 15 millionth Passat rolled off the production line. 

DESIGN

Exterior
For the seventh generation, the Passat was given a fresh new look, bringing it into line with Volkswagen’s Phaeton and adopting the now customary ‘Volkswagen design DNA’.  Most distinctive is the radiator grille with four crossmembers and defined by horizontal lines.  Like the Phaeton, new Polo, Golf and Sharan among other models, the Passat was designed by a team led by Volkswagen Group Head of Design, Walter de Silva, and Volkswagen Brand design chief, Klaus Bischoff.

The new front-end design gives the Passat – which is now 1,820 mm wide and 4,769 (Estate: 4,771) mm long – an even more dominant look.  Although the car has not grown in width, it has a greater presence and more visual dynamism.  The heights of the two body versions also remain as before (saloon: 1,470 mm; Estate: 1,516 mm).  The Passat’s imposing appearance is reinforced by new headlights with optional bi-xenon and LED daytime running lights.  Each daytime running light consists of 15 LEDs. Beneath the lines formed by the headlights and grille is the body-coloured bumper section.  Below that is another air intake framed by chrome-plated fins.  The very low profile fog lights are integrated here.  Chrome trim adds class on SE models and above, featuring on the front splitter and window surrounds.  All Passats have chrome louvres on the radiator grille, regardless of trim level.

The Passat’s front end blends into the side profile via the side contour of the V-shaped bonnet – similar to the design of the Phaeton – and the car’s distinctive wing panel lines.  Two crisper so-called character lines give structure to the height of the Passat, making it appear lower and more defined.  In one clean line, the upper character line joins the highest point of the headlights with the window line up to the C-pillar.  Beneath this is the second character line, which joins the side sections of the headlights and rear lights which extend into the side profile.  In the sill area, a black (S) or chrome (SE and Sport) side bump strip defines the lateral surfaces between the flared wheel housings.  The side profile, with its new door mirror design, is also characterised by a very fluid sweep from the roof section to the rear.

At the rear the latest generation Passat is noticeably less wedge-like in appearance, instead sporting a much lighter and more elegant appearance.  This makes the rear of the saloon appear lower, and the end surfaces of both body versions are wider.  The new rear lights are distinctive, wrapping around into the rear wings of the car.  Beneath the lights on all models is a chrome strip which, on the saloon is split by the licence plate and on the Estate runs round the whole rear section of the vehicle.

Structure and refinement
When examining the design of the new Passat it would be a mistake to concentrate on the aesthetics and ignore the construction techniques which are applied under the surface.

Like the previous generation, the latest Passat is one of the safest and highest quality vehicles on sale, with a class-leading static torsional rigidity value of 32,400 Nm/°.  This figure would not have been feasible without the specific application of high-strength steel, a material which accounts for 74 per cent of the Passat’s body structure.  Highly innovative form-hardened steels make up 16 per cent of the Passat – and these are employed in zones which are critical to safety performance.  In these areas strength-optimised joining technology targets the use of high-tech materials with engineers supplementing laser and spot welding with the addition of structural adhesive bonds.

Such methods enhance not only safety, but also refinement by reducing vibration.  Further efforts were also put into cutting engine vibration, for example the introduction of an elaborate three-point swivel bearing, which results in optimal isolation of the engine and body.  Engine noise is also reduced through the use of new sound deadening material mounted on the front bulkhead, wheelarches and in the dashboard. 

In addition, the Passat benefits from the use of a new type of windscreen glass which features an acoustic film sandwiched between layers of the glass resulting is less road, wind and engine noise entering the cabin.  It consists of five layers and has a total thickness of 4.46 mm.  Moving from the outside glass layer (2.1 mm) there is a first safety film (0.33 mm), then the acoustic film (0.1 mm), another safety film (0.33 mm) and then the inside glass layer (1.6 mm).  In the 1.4-litre 122 PS model, internal noise levels at around 60 mph were reduced by approximately two decibels.

Interior
Inside the Passat, new seats, door trim, accent materials, a redesigned centre console and further upgraded dashboard combine with new equipment features such as the front safety head restraints and optional climate seat with active ventilation once again to elevate the status of the Passat away from the standard upper medium saloon or estate class to the premium segment.

Carried over from the previous generation is the Passat’s radio controlled starting and locking system.  There is no longer an ignition key in the conventional sense, but the majority of the transmitter components for the central locking system are located in a slot retainer to the right of the steering wheel.  The engine is then started by simply pressing the transmitter into the slot.  If the Passat is equipped with the optional keyless entry, start and exit system, the vehicle is started by pressing a button.

Modified in many aspects for the latest model is the dashboard.  In its upper section, where the air vents are integrated, a new surface texture is applied, while chrome accents upgrade the bezels of the vent screens.  The decorative strips in the instruments also have new and higher-end material composition; they visually separate the upper and lower areas and are now designed with a slight curve.

The centre console was redesigned to ensure all controls and features were intuitively laid out and ergonomic for ease of use.  On the upper level is a new analogue clock, reminiscent of that used in the Phaeton.  Underneath are the infotainment systems, which have been adopted largely unchanged from the previous model.  Further down are the controls for the air conditioning or, if specified, an alternative climate control system.

The area surrounding the gear lever was completely redesigned. The gearshift lever itself – for both manual and DSG automatic transmissions – feels more sporty to touch, while the switch for the Passat’s electronic parking brake was moved from its position next to the steering wheel to the gear shift panel.  Then there are also buttons for the auto hold function, ESP and – in versions with Keyless Access – the start button for the engine here.  Integrated on the right side of the gear lever is a control key panel for activating the optional rear sun shade, ACC adaptive chassis control, Stop/Start system, tyre pressure monitoring, the parking sensors and Park Assist.

The styling and covers for the seats were also modified with function and design depending on the trim level.  On SE and Sport models, the driver’s seat now comes with standard electric six-way adjustment including lumbar support, while the front passenger seat offers height and lumbar adjustment.  Also aiding safety (on SE and Sport) is a newly designed headrest which can not only be adjusted vertically and to tilt, but also horizontally, ensuring the headrest is close enough to the head to offer optimal protection and thereby further reducing the risk of whiplash injury. 

For the first time the Passat can be specified with the option of perforated ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery with climate seats which can cool or warm depending on the conditions – another option borrowed from the Phaeton.

In the rear, the Passat impresses with three ergonomically contoured seat positions, as well as ample headroom and legroom.  The standard rear bench seat splits and folds (60:40) while SE and Sport models also have a load-through provision allowing long loads to be carried.

Loadspace
As an example to attention to detail, the Passat’s rear seats (in saloon and Estate body forms) can now be lowered from the boot as well as the rear seat area.  This is particularly useful when loading items into the boot as with one easy movement the seat can be dropped, saving the need to stop half way through loading to adjust the seat position. 

Furthermore in the Estate, the load cover now automatically retracts in a two stage process.  A simple push or nudge in the centre causes the cover to retract half way; a second nudge and it retracts completely.  A new optional feature for the Passat Estate is a sliding boot floor.  Covering approximately half the depth of the loadspace is a sliding panel.  For easy loading, simply slide it to the front of the boot (next to the tailgate), place the load on it and slide it back to position it at the rear of the loadspace.  This sliding panel can be easily removed when not needed. 

The Passat saloon is also available with Keyless Entry, comprising an automatic opening tailgate.  A simple movement of the foot under the licence plate area opens the boot, allowing hands-free, and hence convenient, loading.  Naturally all aspects of safety have been considered when designing this function.  The boot will only open when the person approaching the boot has the key with them, for example in a pocket or bag.

Bootspace capacity in the Passat saloon is 485 litres.  Chrome load-lashing points allow for the secure stowage of luggage, while bag hooks help to organise loads after shopping.  One detail to note are the boot hinges which are integrated outside of the bootspace to avoid any intrusion or limiting of luggage capacity.  The boot can be unlocked and fully opened by pressing a button inside the car, meanwhile the bootlid trim houses the warning triangle so that it is quickly accessible even when the bootspace is fully loaded.

The Estate of course takes load lugging to a new level with a capacity of 523 litres up to the height of the window edge.  When the entire bootspace is utilised, including the 80 litre spare wheel recess, cargo capacity increases to 1,731 litres – in this case, the Passat is filled to the roofliner and up to the backs of the front seats.  A net partition can be installed behind the first or second seat row, so that no unwanted cargo shifts into the passenger compartment.

The space is not only large, but also practical.  The Estate’s tailgate opens up to 2.03 metres high while the load sill is only 0.62 metre high.  The maximum bootspace width is 1.3 m; minimum length is 1.13 m.  The cargo floor of the Estate increases to 1.96 m when the rear seats are folded.

ENGINES

The Passat and Passat Estate are available with a choice of three direct injection petrol and diesel engines, ranging in power from 105 to 170 PS.  All meet the appropriate emissions standards and all diesels have a standard particulate filter.

The petrol line-up comprises a 1.4-litre 122 PS; a 1.8-litre 160 PS; and a 2.0-litre 210 PS.  The three common rail diesels are a 1.6-litre with 105 PS and a 2.0-litre TDI available with 140 or 170 PS.

Petrol engines

TSI technology
The TSI name represents all of Volkswagen’s pioneering forced-induction petrol engines which are available in the Passat.  These engines produce high levels of power with low emissions from a relatively small capacity.

1.4-litre 1390 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 122 PS BlueMotion Technology
This turbocharged unit produces peak power of 122 PS at 5,000 rpm from its 1.4-litre cubic capacity and maximum torque of 200 Nm (148 lbs ft) from 1,500 rpm.  It is available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearbox.  Zero to 62 mph takes just 10.3 seconds and top speed is 127 mph.  Yet despite this performance and thanks in part to its small capacity as well as its BlueMotion Technology modifications (see separate section for details) it returns a healthy combined economy of 47.9 mpg (47.1 DSG) and CO2emissions are 138 g/km.  

In Estate form, standstill to 62 mph takes 10.6 seconds with a top speed of 126 mph.  Combined economy is 46.3 mpg while carbon dioxide emissions are 140 g/km (142 for DSG).

The turbocharger in this engine is designed to be compact and lightweight, giving good performance with low consumption and emissions.  It is thanks to the very quick response of the turbocharger and the low-profile design of intake and exhaust cams together with variable inlet valve timing, that 80 per cent of the maximum torque is already available at 1,250 rpm.

Another notable aspect of the 122 PS TSI is its water-cooled intercooler located directly in the induction pipe.  It is part of a low-temperature coolant loop that is independent of the engine coolant system.  The advantage of this is that the inlet system can have a smaller volume than where a conventional air-to-air intercooler is used, and this in turn considerably shortens the time required to reach a charge pressure of 1,800 millibar in the induction system.  As a result this engine suffers little so-called ‘turbo lag’.

1.8-litre 1798 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 160 PS 
This engine was a popular choice on the previous generation Passat and has been carried over to the new model.  Yet not without modifications to improve it.  The development team enhanced fuel consumption by seven per cent from 38.2 to 40.9 mpg on the new model.  This engine is also available with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic gearboxes.

What is unchanged is the powerplant’s lively performance and refinement thanks in part to maximum torque of 250 Nm (185 lbs ft) from just 1,500 rpm and maximum power of 160 PS at 5,000 rpm.

The 0 to 62 mph sprint takes 8.5 seconds and top speed for this Passat is 137 mph.  This engine has a combined fuel economy figure of 40.9 mpg (40.4 DSG) and CO2 emissions of 160 g/km (162 DSG). 

In Estate bodystyle, these figures change to zero to 62 mph in 8.7 seconds (8.5 DSG) and top speed of 137 mph.  This car has a combined fuel economy figure of 40.9 mpg (39.8 DSG) and CO2 emissions of 160 g/km (165 DSG). 

2.0-litre TSI, 1984 cc, 16-valve 4-cyl, 210 PS
This engine made its debut in the Volkswagen Golf GTI where it combines flexible performance with low emissions and impressive economy.  It is available with a standard six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG transmission.

It has a power output of 210 PS delivered at 5,300 rpm, which allows the vehicle to accelerate from standstill to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds.  Maximum torque – 280 Nm (207 lbs ft ) – is delivered between 1,700 and 5,200 rpm, an exceptionally wide range to provide excellent in-gear performance and keen throttle response.  Top speed is 148 mph (147 DSG).  Carbon dioxide emissions are 169 g/km (180 DSG) and economy is measured at a combined figure of 39.2 mpg (36.7 DSG).

In Estate bodystyle, acceleration to 62 mph takes 7.7 seconds with a top speed of 146 mpg.  Fuel economy is 39.2 mpg (35.8 DSG) on the combined cycle with carbon dioxide emissions of 169 g/km (183 DSG).

Diesel engines
All the Passat’s diesel engines used common rail technology, comply with Euro5 emissions legislation and are fitted with a standard Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) which reduces particulate emissions to below five mg/km.  All are refined, economical and clean as well as good to drive.

Using a common rail system, the diesel is sprayed directly into the combustion chamber at pressures up to 1,600 bar.  Piezo actuators control multiple injections with highly precise fuel quantities and timing.  In an effort to reduce internal engine friction, crankshaft, valve and oil pump drives were optimised, while a square bore/stroke ratio minimises friction losses at the cylinder liners.  Losses were also reduced in oil and coolant circuits as well as the air induction system. 

Playing their part in making the seventh generation Passat the quietest yet, all the new TDI engines distinguish themselves with good low-noise properties.  In engines with 140 PS or more, two balancer shafts help put an end to undesirable vibrations, while on all models a newly designed engine mounting system ensures that the powerplants are better isolated from the body.  Also aiding acoustics is the maintenance-free toothed-belt camshaft drive.

1.6-litre TDI, 1598 cc, 8-valve 4-cyl, 105 PS BlueMotion Technology
This entry-level 1.6-litre TDI produces 105 PS at 4,400 rpm and also impressive amounts of torque: 250 Nm (185 lbs ft) from 1,500 to 2,500 rpm. 

For the first time this engine is combined with a six-speed instead of a five-speed manual transmission.

Top speed is 121 mph and the zero to 62 mph sprint time is 12.2 seconds.  Combined economy is 65.7 mpg while carbon dioxide emissions are just 114 g/km.  In Estate form the Passat returns 64.2 mpg and 116 g/km, with performance figures of 12.5 seconds and a top speed of 121 mph.

This 1.6-litre unit will also form the basis of the Passat BlueMotion model when it goes on sale later in 2011, promising a predicted combined economy figure of 68.8 mpg and carbon dioxide emissions as low as 109 g/km (114 Estate).

2.0-litre, 1968 cc TDI CR, 16-valve 4-cyl, 140 PS BlueMotion Technology
The predicted best-seller in the Passat range, this 2.0-litre common rail diesel engine produces 140 PS at 4,200 rpm and 320 Nm (236 lbs ft) of torque from 1,750 to 2,500 rpm.  It is available with a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox. 

In saloon form this means a 0 to 62 mph time of 9.8 seconds and a top speed of 132 mph (131 DSG).  Fuel consumption remains frugal with a combined figure of 61.4 mpg (54.3 DSG) and CO2 emissions of 119 g/km (135 DSG). 

In the Estate model this Passat has a 0 to 62 mph time of 10.0 seconds and a top speed of 132 mph (131 DSG).  Fuel consumption remains competitive with a combined figure of 61.4 mpg (54.3 DSG) and CO2emissions of 120 g/km (135 DSG). 

2.0-litre, 1968 cc TDI CR, 16-valve 4-cyl, 170 PS BlueMotion Technology
At the top of the performance diesel range and using the same engine as the acclaimed Golf GTD is the 2.0-litre 170 PS model.  Powering this Passat is a refined 2.0-litre (1,968 cc) common rail TDI engine, producing 170 PS at 4,200 rpm and a substantial 350 Nm (258 lbs ft) of torque channelled via a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox. 

This translates to effortless performance with the ability to accelerate from rest to 62 mph in 8.8 seconds (8.6 DSG) and go on to a top speed of 139 mph (136 DSG).  Combined economy is 61.4 mpg (53.3 DSG), while carbon dioxide output is just 120 g/km (139 DSG).

Meanwhile the Passat Estate modelhas a 0 to 62 mph time of 8.6 seconds (8.8 DSG) and a top speed of 141 mph (139 DSG).  Fuel consumption remains competitive with a combined figure of 60.1 (53.3 DSG) and CO2emissions of 123 g/km (139 DSG).

BlueMotion Technology 
The 1.4-litre 122 PS petrol engine and all three diesel units carry the BlueMotion Technology label.  This name is applied to all vehicles developed by Volkswagen that strike a balance between the highly focussed BlueMotion vehicles and the conventional products on which they are based.  They combine efficiency with comfort and equipment to create vehicles that deliver greater economy and produce fewer emissions yet are practical as well as conventional to drive, service and maintain.

All these models feature alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tyres to enhance economy, as well as a multifunction computer which includes visual gear change recommendation for optimum fuel consumption.  In addition they have Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems.  

The Passat’s automatic Stop/Start system is operated through the clutch pedal.  When coming to a halt at traffic lights, for example, the driver depresses the clutch and selects neutral.  When the clutch is released, the engine shuts down and a ‘Start / Stop’ symbol illuminates on the multifunction display.  In order to move away, the driver simply depresses the clutch once again to select first gear and the engine restarts automatically.  The system can be deactivated through a switch, if necessary.  With the DSG gearbox, the Stop/Start system is activated through the brake pedal.

A battery regeneration system helps to utilise energy that would otherwise be lost during braking.  In deceleration and braking phases, the alternator’s voltage is boosted and used for bulk recharging of the car’s battery.  Thanks to alternator control, it is possible to lower alternator voltage, for example during deceleration or driving at a constant speed.  It is even possible to switch off the alternator entirely which reduces engine load and improves fuel consumption.

Gearboxes
All Passats come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox featuring a magnesium selector housing and cable operation with very short lever movements.  Three-cone synchromesh for the lower gears ensures a pleasant shift action.  Reduced-friction bearings further increase the efficiency of the unit and cut fuel consumption.  All are filled with lifetime oil and require no routine maintenance.  As an alternative, all except for the 1.6-litre TDI can be specified with the option of Volkswagen’s six- or seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.

DSG – Direct Shift Gearbox
First launched in 2005, Volkswagen’s Direct Shift Gearbox combines the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the responsiveness and economy of a manual unit.

The six-speed, transversely mounted DSG unit has two wet clutches with hydraulic pressure regulation.  One clutch controls the ‘odd’ gears plus reverse, while the other operates the ‘even’ gears.  Essentially it is two gearboxes in one.

With this clutch management system, the interruptions in power that are typical of even an automatic-shift manual gearbox no longer occur.  This is achieved by an intelligent hydraulic and electronic (mechatronic) gearbox control system, the two wet-type clutches and the two input and output shafts in each half of the gearbox.

This combination enables the next-higher gear ratio to remain engaged but on standby until it is actually selected.  In other words, if the car is being driven in third gear, fourth is selected but not yet activated.  As soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the clutch on the third-gear side opens, the other clutch closes and fourth gear engages under accurate electronic supervision.

Since the opening and closing actions of the two clutches overlap, a smooth gearshift results and the entire shift process is completed in less than four-hundredths of a second.  In addition to its fully automatic shift mode, DSG has a Tiptronic function to permit manual gear selection. 

Seven-speed DSG
The seven-speed DSG gearbox uses a pair of dry clutches (as opposed to the wet ones in the six-speed version) to improve fuel efficiency and performance.  The pair of dry, organic bonded friction linings do not require cooling, making the drivetrain more efficient through the extra gear ratio and the fact that less power is required for the gear selection and clutch servo system.  Measuring only 369 mm in length and weighing only 79 kg including the dual-mass flywheel the gearbox is remarkably compact. 

In adopting seven-speeds, Volkswagen engineers were able to lower first gear to improve acceleration from a standstill.  By contrast seventh gear has been raised to act as an overdrive function making it ideal for motorway driving with the additional effect of further improving economy and comfort levels.

The volume of oil contained within the gearbox has also been reduced by 75 per cent.  The lubrication circuits are divided into two to maintain the purity of the oil.  As with a conventional manual gearbox, one of the circuits is used for cooling and lubrication of the gear teeth, the second feeds oil to the gear actuators.  Since the clutch does not require cooling the quantity of oil has been reduced from seven litres in the six-speed DSG gearbox to only 1.7-litres in the new seven-speed system.

It should be noted that both DSG gearboxes are application specific.  The six-speed version can be paired with high torque engines (up to 350 Nm) while the seven-speed variant is more effective in combination with smaller engines with torque outputs of up to 250 Nm.  Engine and gearbox combinations are detailed in the individual engine.

Servicing
Volkswagen offers customers a choice of servicing regime for their Passat.  They can choose between Time and Distance and LongLife Servicing and the appropriate selection is entirely dependent on how the car is likely to be driven and its general use. 

The Time and Distance Service is recommended for vehicles that will cover less than 10,000 (approx) miles in 12 months and if the vehicle is likely to be used in the following way:

  • Predominantly city centre driving, short journeys with frequent cold starts
  • Activities regularly producing high engine loading, for example frequent hill climbs, driving with vehicle fully loaded and towing
  • Driving with high rpm, heavy acceleration and heavy braking

In this case, the vehicle will be serviced at regular intervals, at every 10,000 mi les or every 12 months. 

The LongLife Service is recommended for vehicles with a daily mileage of more than 25 miles, where the vehicle is driven regularly and on mainly longer distance journeys.  The vehicle should be mainly driven at a constant speed with minimum vehicle and engine loading, minimal towing and driven in an economical manner.  In this case, the on-board computer informs the driver via a dashboard display, when the vehicle needs a service.  A range of engine sensors electronically monitors the vehicle’s oil temperature, oil pressure, oil level and brake pad wear to establish when a service is needed.  With the LongLife system, it can be possible to drive for up to 18,000 mi les or 24 months without a major service. 

Customers can choose between Time and Distance or LongLife Servicing at PDI (pre-delivery inspection) and though it is possible to change from one to another during the vehicle’s life, it can only be done when a full inspection service is due. 

RUNNING GEAR

The basic structure of the Passat’s suspension system is carried over from the previous generation.  This means a lightweight strut-type suspension, with low-mounted wishbones and control arms at the front; and at the back a four-link rear suspension system which is acoustically isolated from the bodywork by a subframe.  Electro-mechanical power-assisted steering provides agility, comfort and safety of the highest standard. 

However, as in all areas which are carried from one generation to the next, the suspension has also been enhanced.

For the first time the Passat can now be ordered with Volkswagen’s ACC adaptive chassis control system which allows the driver to vary the behaviour of the suspension depending on the road and journey conditions according to choice; sports suspension (lowered by around 15 mm) is standard on the top of the range Sport models.

Front axle
The Passat’s front suspension is based on the MacPherson principle with lower trailing arms and struts.  This running gear is extremely lightweight, as is the axle.  In the area of the very rigid and crash-optimised chassis subframe alone, 4.5 kg of weight was pared compared to a conventional steel plate design.  Also especially light in weight are the forged aluminium transverse links.  Here, the weight advantage compared to steel plate is 4.2 kg.

Lightweight construction methods are especially beneficial when they are applied to unsprung masses, hence why Volkswagen engineers made the transverse links as well as the pivot bearings from aluminium.  The total weight advantage here compared to steel plate is 3.2 kg.  In total, the various lightweight construction methods on the front running gear yield a weight advantage of 13.3 kg, giving greater comfort, more dynamic performance and better fuel economy.

Rear axle
The four-link rear suspension of the Passat is also very lightweight and, thanks to the special layout of the links, enables separate tuning of longitudinal and transverse forces to guarantee the best combination of driving comfort, performance and stability.  

The four-link rear suspension consists of an isolated subframe, to which the steering knuckle is joined via the spring suspension arm, track rod and transverse link in an upward transverse direction.  Longitudinal links handle wheel location in the longitudinal direction.  Isolating the subframe gives maximum dynamic performance combined with comfort through improved acoustics, and is achieved through the use of four specially designed rubber-metal bearings.

ACC – adaptive chassis control system
Engineers have in the past been constrained to design a suspension system which is biased either towards comfort or sportiness, always resulting in some form of compromise.  The ideal, it was decided, would be to produce a chassis that could continually adapt to road conditions and the particular wishes of the driver or passengers, hence why an adaptive chassis control (ACC) system is offered as an option on the Passat.  Here not only can the suspension’s damping characteristics be controlled at the touch of a button, but the electro-mechanical power steering and accelerator response are also modified at the same time.

ACC functions via a set of four electrically adjustable dampers operated through pneumatic valves.  Each damper is fitted with characteristic map control, a gateway control module that serves as an interface with the CAN data networks in the Passat – these comprise three sensors for measuring wheel displacement, three sensors for measuring movements of the body structure and a control module for the damping.

These sensors constantly (up to 1,000 times per second) measure the vehicle’s behaviour – be it under braking, acceleration or cornering – and react almost instantaneously to ensure the optimum mix of chassis agility and comfort at all times.  The vehicle defaults to ‘Normal’ mode in which the system strikes a balance for general use.  Should the driver select ‘Sport’ mode the steering assistance is reduced, the damping is hardened and the throttle responses are sharpened as the mapping changes.  This is intended for either twisty roads or track driving.  In ‘Comfort’ the damping is softened and the steering assistance is increased to provide a smooth and controlled ride best suited to motorway driving.

Electro-mechanical power steering
An electro-mechanical power steering system is employed in the Passat.  Unlike some electro-mechanical steering systems, it is able to vary the feel of the steering wheel to suit the speed and driving situation: firm and direct when driving hard, effortless at parking speeds.  Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centring action, its ability to compensate for different driving hazards, like crosswinds and steep road cambers, and a beneficial effect on fuel economy, as it dispenses with the usual engine driven pump.

Braking system 
The Passat features a sophisticated braking system, with ABS and ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) standard across the range.  Ventilated discs are fitted at the front, with solid discs at the rear.  All Passats have an integrated ‘brake disc wiper’ as standard, where the linings are gently applied at intervals of five minutes.  This wipes off any water film that may have built up on wet roads and therefore shortens the braking distance.  The driver is oblivious to this procedure.

Electronic Stabilisation Programme – ESP
The latest-generation ESP system developed for the Passat has a range of features designed to have a direct and positive effect on active safety.  Essentially, ESP is a sophisticated system that automatically senses any tendency for the car to slide.  Should this situation occur, ESP reacts by applying the brakes to one, two, three or all four wheels and adjusts the engine’s power.  In this way, it is possible that a skid is corrected even before the driver is aware that one has started.  This can be useful if a tendency to understeer or oversteer develops in a bend.  In such circumstances ESP can help prevent the car skidding or spinning off the road and is particularly helpful in wet or icy conditions. 

The latest generation of ESP fitted to the Passat has a finer response, counter-steering recommendation and offers trailer stabilisation. This is standard when a factory towbar is specified, or can be activated by a Volkswagen Retailer when a Volkswagen-approved towbar is fitted.  This system extends the capability of the normal ESP purely through a software extension.  It does not require additional sensors. 

When the onset of yawing of a trailer is detected by the ESP control module the system automatically reduces or cuts engine power and applies the brakes to appropriate wheels dynamically in phase with the yawing to oppose the snaking motion and stabilise the vehicle/trailer combination.  When stability is achieved the brakes and engine power return to normal control.  During the automatic braking process the brake lights are turned on even though the driver may not be touching the brake pedal.

Brake Assist 
Working in conjunction with the other elements of the braking system, this latest form of Brake Assist recognises from the speed at which the brake pedal is depressed whether it is a ‘normal’ braking situation or an emergency stop.  In the event of an emergency stop, Brake Assist automatically increases braking pressure, activating ABS and ensuring the level of braking meets the needs of the conditions.  The application of brake assist makes it possible even for unskilled drivers to reduce braking distances by around 25 per cent.

Electronic parking brake 
The Passat was the first saloon in this class to have a push-button operated electro-mechanical parking brake as standard and this is carried over to the new generation.  New functions can be implemented because of the electronic control system and its ability to communicate with other control units.  These include a dynamic emergency braking function, dynamic driving assistant (for use on hills, for example) and an auto hold function (avoids frequent application of the brake pedal when, for example, crawling in traffic).

The electro-mechanical parking brake is operated using a small lever near the gear lever between the front seats.  A light in the button and on the dashboard indicates that the brake is applied.  A separate control unit is needed to actuate and monitor the electro-mechanical parking brake.  This is linked with the ESP control unit and is therefore a part of the Controller Area Network (CAN).  This is important, because it means that all the convenience and safety functions of the electro-mechanical parking brake can be perfectly controlled, offering noticeable advantages over a conventional handbrake. 

Dynamic emergency brake function
The law says that a car must be able to be stopped by the parking brake in the extremely unlikely event of main brake system failure.  In a worse case scenario, the electro-mechanical parking brake can do this much more efficiently than a normal handbrake lever, since braking is carried out on all four wheels by means of active brake pressure build-up.  Dynamic emergency braking is initiated by pulling and holding the parking brake lever.  The ABS and ESP functions are also integrated.  Emergency braking stops as soon as the button is released.

Dynamic starting assistant (DAA) of the electronic parking brake
The dynamic starting function provides jolt-free starting in almost any situation, so a Passat that is parked on a slope does not roll back when it starts off.  The DAA function becomes active as soon as the propulsion torque (when moving off) of the Passat is greater than the reversing torque (rolling back).  In other words, the parking brake releases smoothly and automatically when the driver moves off with manual as well as automatic transmission. 

EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS

Three trim levels are available in the Passat and Passat Estate model line-ups: S, SE and Sport.  Specification highlights for each model are shown below; for full details and pricing information, please see the latest price list.

S 1.4-litre TSI BlueMotion Technology 122 PS
S 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS
S 1.6-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 105 PS
S 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 140 PS

All the above models feature the following standard features:

  • ABS anti-lock brakes with BAS (Brake Assist System) and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)
  • ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (traction control)
  • electronic parking brake with auto hold function
  • driver and front passenger airbags with passenger’s airbag deactivation switch
  • curtain airbag system for front and rear passengers, including front side airbags
  • driver and front passenger’s WOKS (whiplash optimised head restraints)
  • Isofix child seat preparation for two outer rear seats
  • seatbelt unfastened warning system (audible and visual)
  • head restraints and three-point seatbelts for three rear passengers
  • ‘Climatic’ semi-automatic air conditioning system
  • press and drive key system, including electronic engine immobiliser and alarm with interior protection
  • remote control central locking
  • height and reach adjustable steering column; driver’s seat height adjustment
  • front centre armrest with storage compartment; rear centre armrest
  • cooled, illuminated and lockable glovebox
  • split/folding rear seat backrests (60:40) – unlocked from luggage compartment
  • 12V socket in rear of front centre armrest
  • leather trimmed three-spoke steering wheel and gear knob
  • matt chrome decorative inserts in dash, centre console and door panels
  • electric windows, front and rear
  • multifunction computer and steering wheel
  • RCD 310 radio / MP3 compatible CD player with eight speakers and AUX-in socket for connection to external multimedia source
  • MDI (Multi Device Interface) with USB and iPod connection cables
  • Stop/Start function (BlueMotion Technology only)
  • battery regeneration system
  • body-coloured bumpers (with black bump strips), door handles and mirrors with integrated indicators incorporating LED technology
  • black roof rails (Estate only)
  • 7J x 16 ‘Barcelona’ alloy wheels with 215/55 R16 low rolling resistance tyres and anti-theft wheel bolts
  • full size steel spare wheel

SE 1.4-litre TSI BlueMotion Technology 122 PS
SE 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS
SE 1.6-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 105 PS
SE 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 140 PS

Moving up the range, in addition to all the features from the S model, to the best-selling SE trim level gains:

  • chrome-plated side bump strips plus chrome front and rear bumper strips
  • chrome side window surrounds
  • 7½J x 17 ‘Fontana’ alloy wheels with 235/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts
  • full size alloy spare wheel
  • flat tyre indicator
  • front comfort seats
  • driver’s seat with electric six-way adjustment including lumbar support
  • front passenger’s seat height and lumbar adjustment
  • four way adjustable head restraints
  • rear centre armrest with storage compartment and two cup holders
  • storage pockets on front seat backrests
  • load-through provision
  • 12V socket in luggage compartment
  • Bluetooth telephone preparation for HFP (Hands Free Profile) enabled telephones
  • DAB digital radio receiver
  • cruise control with Fatigue Detection system
  • automatic coming/leaving home lighting function; automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror; rain sensor
  • electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors including automatic dimming function
  • brushed stainless steel decorative inserts in dash and centre console

Sport 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS 
Sport 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS
Sport 1.6-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 105 PS
Sport 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 140 PS
Sport 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 170 PS

At the top of the range, Sport models gain (on top of SE):

  • sports suspension, lowered by approx 15 mm
  • ACC adaptive chassis control (2.0-litre TSI 210 PS models only)
  • front sport seats
  • heat insulating tinted glass (65 per cent light absorbing) from B-pillar back
  • 2Zone electronic climate control
  • front fog lights with static cornering function
  • RNS 315 touchscreen navigation / radio system including dash-mounted MP3 compatible CD player with eight speakers, five-inch colour screen, SD card reader and AUX-in socket for connection to an external multimedia source (eg iPod and MP3 player)
  • electronic tyre pressure monitoring system
  • 7½J x 17 ‘Minneapolis’ alloy wheels with 235/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts
  • chrome roof rails (Estate only)

FACTORY-FIT OPTIONS

A number of factory- and retailer-fit options are available on the Passat saloon and Estate models, allowing buyers to customise further their vehicles.  Also explained in this section are innovations and technical features which are standard on some models and optional lower down the range.

These include a fatigue detection system, city emergency braking function, Lane Assist, Park Assist and rear-view camera, Keyless entry, air conditioning upgrades, a panoramic sunroof, bi-xenon headlights, satellite navigation, an electric rear sun blind, telephone preparation, leather upholstery and alloy wheel upgrades.

For full details of option availability and cost, please refer to the latest price list.

Lane Assist (optional on SE and Sport)
This new warning system prevents drivers from drifting unintentionally out of their chosen lane.  Research shows approximately 14 per cent of accidents involving injuries are caused by a vehicle leaving its lane. 

To function, road markings are monitored via a camera located in the rear-view mirror or rain sensor, and if at speeds above around 40 mph the system detects that the vehicle is leaving the lane, it helps it to stay in place by alerting the driver with audible and visible warning signals.  The system is switched off as soon as the indicators are switched on and the driver can override the system at any time.

Fatigue detection system (optional on S, standard on SE and Sport)
It is estimated that a quarter of motorway accidents are caused by driver tiredness.  For this reason Volkswagen has introduced an innovative fatigue detection system, which is particularly valuable for company car drivers who may cover long distances without a scheduled break.  

The Passat’s fatigue detection system does not work in the same way as those from other manufacturers which monitor eye movements.  Instead, for the first 15 minutes of a journey the system analyses the driver’s characteristic steering and driving behaviour.  Further into the journey the system continually evaluates signals such as steering angle, use of pedals and transverse acceleration.  If the monitored parameters indicate a deviation from the initial behaviour recorded at the beginning of the trip, then waning concentration is assumed and warnings issued.

The system warns the driver with an acoustic signal lasting five seconds, while a visual message also appears in the instrument cluster recommending a break.  If the driver does not take a break within the next 15 minutes, the warning is repeated.  

This assistance system can not detect so-called ‘microsleep’ but instead focuses on detecting early phases of lapses in concentration.  This means it is much less costly than an eye movement monitoring based system – and also still functions when the driver is wearing sunglasses or driving in the dark.

Bluetooth preparation (optional on S, standard on SE and Sport)
The Passat is available with the option of preparation for Bluetooth HFP (Hands Free Profile) enabled telephones.  Here, the driver’s mobile phone is integrated into the vehicle’s systems without it being removed from a jacket pocket, for example.  The actual mobile phone functions in the car are dealt with by a fixed telephone installation that obtains the necessary data from the SIM card of the mobile phone.  The telephone is controlled using a separate keyboard, the optional multifunction steering wheel or by voice command. 

Automatic Distance Control (incorporating City emergency braking function) 
All Passats are offered with the option of Automatic Distance Control (ADC), a radar sensor controlled distance monitoring system. 

In basic terms, it uses radars in the front bumper to monitor the distance to other vehicles in traffic ahead of the car.  If it gets too close to the vehicle in front (ie less than the minimum stopping distance), ADC warns the driver in two stages.  First there is a visual signal on the dashboard along with an audible warning.  Second, there is a brief braking pulse to increase the distance between the two vehicles.  At the same time, the Passat is prepared for possible hard braking by the driver – should the traffic ahead have slowed considerably for example.  In extreme cases, ADC can slow the Passat to a complete standstill.

Also integrated into the system for the first time on the Passat is a city emergency braking function.  Active at speeds below 30 km/h, it reacts not only to slow moving traffic to avoid shunts but also to stationary vehicles.  If required it can initiate braking to prevent a collision – or if this is impossible, at least slow the vehicle substantially in order to minimise the subsequent damage.

2Zone air conditioning system
As well as the standard Climatic system, Volkswagen offers a 2Zone electronic climate control system (standard on Sport).  This two-zone device allows driver and front-seat passenger to adjust their own climates individually and independently.  Temperatures within the two zones are maintained to an accuracy of a degree, with no readjustment necessary whatever the outside conditions.  The intelligent control system even takes into account the amount of sunlight penetration into the cabin, and makes separate calculations to compensate for it on both the driver and passenger sides. 

As an example of further attention to detail, the system switches automatically to recirculating-air mode when reversing and when the windscreen washer sprays are used; the fresh air supply is momentarily cut to prevent smells – of exhaust and windscreen wash – from entering.

Keyless entry and easy boot opening 
After the Phaeton and the Touareg, the Passat was the third Volkswagen model to feature a keyless entry, start and exit system.  When one of the new design door handles is touched, a signal is transmitted from an aerial integrated in the handle. 
The system then searches for a valid ID transmitter, from which it detects access authorisation.  The antenna relays the code sent by the transmitter to the relevant control unit in the Passat.  If the code is recognised, the system then unlocks the doors, deactivates the immobiliser and the anti-theft alarm system, and allows the vehicle to be started at the push of a button.  Other antennae check whether the ID transmitter is in the car.  To protect children, for example, the Passat cannot be started if the ID transmitter is too far away from the vehicle.  Neither is it possible, for example, to put the transmitter on the roof, get in the car and drive off.

If no door is opened within 30 seconds, the doors lock again.  From inside the vehicle, it is unlocked by pressing a button in the door handle.  The Passat can also be unlocked and locked by remote control.

New for the latest generation is the added feature of automatic boot opening for the Passat saloon.  In this case, a simple movement of the foot, or kick, under the licence plate area opens the boot, allowing hands-free, and hence convenient, loading.  Naturally all aspects of safety have been considered when designing this function.  The boot will only open when the person approaching the boot is within one metre of the car and has the key with them, for example in a pocket or bag.

Panoramic tilt/slide sunroof for the Passat Estate
The Passat Estate is available with the option of a panoramic tilt/slide sunroof which is 300 per cent larger than a conventional sunroof.  The front section of the two-part roof extends beyond the B-pillars and can be electrically tilted or opened completely.  The thermally insulating glass absorbs 99 per cent of the sun’s UV radiation.  In addition, the roof is equipped with an electrically powered sunshade.

Dynaudio sound system 
A 600 watt premium entertainment system from Danish hi-fi specialist Dynaudio provides exceptional sound quality, especially compared with other systems in the Passat’s market sector.  The ten-channel system delivering up to a true 600 watts RMS without generating unwanted vibrations in the vehicle structure sets a new standard in this class.  A Volkswagen sound system with an output of 250 watts is also available. 

Gas discharge bi-xenon headlights
Ultra-efficient gas discharge (bi-Xenon) headlights are offered on all Passats.  These provide a well focused, blue-white light approximately two and a half times more powerful than standard lights, and come with directional headlights.  This option includes a self-levelling mechanism and high pressure headlight wash.  

Integrated child seats
As an option on all models, integrated child seats offer a practical, neat and cost-effective solution for customers who regularly carry children in the car.  These act as a raised booster seat and are suitable for children weighing between 15 and 36 kgs, up to 12 years of age.  They come as a pair and incorporated into the two rear outer seats.

Touchscreen navigation / radio systems:

RNS 315 (optional on S and SE, standard on Sport)
All Passats can be specified with Volkswagen’s RNS 315 satellite navigation system.  The installation uses a five-inch touchscreen for fast, intuitive operation of the entertainment and navigation menus and displaying of information.  Key features include a CD drive for navigation disc or audio CDs, playback with title display for MP3 files and an integrated SD memory card reader from which files can be retrieved.

The navigation function offers a moving map in the colour display panel, integrated direction symbols as well as spoken instructions. 

For the navigation to function, rear ABS wheel sensors are used to determine the distance the car has covered and to provide information when the car is turning.  Further system components include a solid state magnetic compass concealed under the roof and a three-way roof aerial for radio and GPS (Global Positioning System).  The aerial receives signals from the satellites in orbit from which the system is able to calculate the position of the car on the surface of the earth.

RNS 510
Opitonal on all Passats is an upgrade to the RNS 510 satellite navigation system.  This features a six and a half inch colour screen plus integrated voice control system which responds to spoken voice commands for navigation, CD and radio functions.

As well as playing CDs in the usual manner, favourite tracks can also be stored onto the internal, 30 GB hard-drive via an SD card slot in the front of the unit.  The hard-drive can also be used to store navigation mapping.  In addition routes can be recorded while driving and then re-traced by following guidance provided by the stored waypoints.  

Park Assist
Park Assist is an automated steering assistance system for parallel parking and reverse parking into spaces at 90 degrees to the road.  Using a series of sensors mounted on the front, rear and side of the Passat, the system plots the ideal manoeuvring path into a parallel space measuring less than one metre more than the car, either to the right or left of the vehicle. 

When driving at speeds of under around 18 mph and within an appropriate parking environment, an ultrasonic sensor system detects spaces.  A control unit then notifies the driver an appropriate space has been found and calculates the ideal parking path.  Once in the recommended ‘start’ position, the driver engages reverse gear.  During the parking process the driver has no steering input – he or she simply accelerates and brakes as appropriate.  Once reverse gear is engaged, the whole operation generally takes no more than 15 seconds. 

This system also incorporates audible parking sensors with volume reduction when activated and optical parking display via the vehicle’s audio system. 

In addition, it can also be specified to include a rear-view camera which transmits a real-time, distortion-free image of what is behind the car to the screen in the central display.  This allows the driver to see and recognise obstacles behind the car, and manoeuvre into the tightest parking spaces.  While moving, the screen marks out the car’s steering movements with coloured orientation lines.  This facility can also be extremely useful when hooking up to a tow hitch.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

The previous generation Passat scored a maximum five stars for occupant protection in the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) tests.  Naturally the latest model retains the safety credentials of its predecessor, plus benefits from the addition of items such as the fatigue detection system, city emergency braking function, integrated child seats and new whiplash-optimised head restraints which move horizontally to maximise effectiveness. 

All Passats have two-stage inflating front airbags, safety-optimised and therefore also horizontally adjustable front head restraints, crash-optimised foot pedals and side airbags (front) and side curtain airbags (front and rear). Also available for the rear seating area are side airbags and a belt status indicator.

In addition, the Passat is one of the most torsionally rigid cars in its class and produced using innovative construction techniques and high-strength steels in crash-relevant areas.

As a car which is sold on all five continents, the Passat of course fulfils all international crash standards.

Line-up with insurance groups
Thanks to its extensive security and safety features, the Passat and Passat Estate have secured the following insurance group ratings from the ABI (Association of British Insurers):

S 
1.4-litre TSI BMT* 122 PS           17E
1.8-litre TSI 160 PS                    23E
1.6-litre TDI BMT 105 PS            16E
2.0-litre TDI BMT 140 PS            21E

SE 
1.4-litre TSI BMT 122 PS            17E
1.8-litre TSI 160 PS                    23E
1.6-litre TDI BMT 105 PS            16E
2.0-litre TDI BMT 140 PS            21E

Sport 
1.8-litre TSI 160 PS                    23E
2.0-litre TSI 210 PS                    26E
1.6-litre TDI BMT 105 PS            16E
2.0-litre TDI BMT 140 PS            21E
2.0-litre TDI BMT 170 PS            24E

*denotes BlueMotion Technology

In December 2009, the insurance industry switched from a 1-20 rating system to a 1-50 system.  New ratings are shown here.  The ‘E’ denotes that the vehicle exceeded the co-called Thatcham (ABI) requirements.

WARRANTIES

The Passat and Passat Estate have a three year (first and second year manufacturer operated, third year retailer operated) mechanical warranty.  In addition, they come with a class-leading 12 year body protection guarantee, three year paint warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Assistance which includes European breakdown cover.  The latter can be extended at minimal cost to the customer. 

CHRONOLOGY

Passat Mk I (1973 – 1980)
1973     Launch of first Passat, a modern saloon with front-wheel drive and a front-mounted inline water-cooled engine.  Choice of three petrol engines
1974     First full year of sales, 133,000 units sold
1976     One million units sold
1977     Facelifted version launched
1978     1.5-litre diesel engine with 50 PS available in Passat
1980     2.6 million units sold by November when new generation launched

Passat Mk II (1980 – 1988)
1980     Second generation launched in November; featuring new, innovative compound-arm rear axle.  From introduction Passat available with its first five-cylinder petrol engine with 115 PS
1982     First turbo diesel engine available in Passat with 70 PS
Debut of Santana – a four door version of Passat
1985     Second generation facelift
            Three million Passats sold
1987     Four million sales reached by March

Passat Mk III (1988 – 1993)
1988     Third generation of Passat launched featuring a considerably longer wheelbase, and transverse engines
1990     Five million Passats have been produced
1991     2.8-litre VR6 174 PS introduced

Passat Mk IV (1993 – 1996)                                                     
1993      Launch of fourth generation Passat with classic radiator grille, driver and front passenger airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and ABS

Passat Mk V (1996 – 2005) 
1996     Fifth generation Passat launched featuring galvanised bodywork with highly rigid body, four-arm front axle and standard side airbags.  Sets new standards in its class for quality and desirability
1999     Arrival of TDI PD (Pumpe Düse) high-pressure diesel engines
2001      The model is facelifted, now offering option of curtain airbags
12 millionth Passat produced at the Volkswagen plant in Emden

Passat Mk VI (2005 – 2010) 
2005     The new sixth generation Passat unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show
            Launch of Passat in Germany, March 2005 
            UK launch date June 2005
            November sees launch of Estate model
2008     The Passat R36 saloon and estate models are launched in May
2009     Range streamlined to include S, R Line and Highline

Passat Mk VII (2010 – now) 
2010     Seventh generation unveiled at Paris Motor Show, September
            On sale in Europe from October
            UK Retailers open for order in October
2011     First deliveries from 4 January

(ends)

NewPassat 1210/KT/af/sw

SP/13051

The seventh generation Passat was revealed to the public at the Paris Motor Show in September 2010, 37 years after the first Passat went on sale in 1973.  Since then, over 15 million examples have been sold in more than 100 markets worldwide – denoting this vehicle among those Volkswagens which, like the Golf, have stood the test of time.

The Passat’s continuing popularity can be attributed to a number of factors, one of which is undoubtedly the car’s achievement of setting new benchmarks in quality and innovation with the evolution of each new generation.  The Passat’s features and overall quality and refinement continue to push the boundaries of the so-called upper medium class, edging it closer at every stage to the premium segment and beyond.

The latest generation is no exception to this rule.  The new car takes on not only a fresh appearance both inside and out with every panel and glass surface apart from the roof being new, but also adopts the latest technologies and efficiency measures to make it among the most advanced and economical cars in its class. 

In addition, the new Passat promises to be the quietest and most refined iteration yet.  Thicker glass is fitted to the side windows while the windscreen features a thin plastic film sandwiched between two layers of the glass to help reduce noise transmission.  The front bulkhead incorporates increased sound deadening which, combined with the latest generation of common rail diesel and TSI petrol engines, significantly reduces the engine noise entering the interior of the new Passat.

Every diesel engine is now badged as a BlueMotion Technology product and is equipped with battery regeneration and Stop/Start systems as standard.  The result is that the entry-level 1.6-litre TDI 105 PS is capable of exceeding the economy of the outgoing BlueMotion model with a combined economy of 65.7 mpg and CO2 emissions of 114 g/km.  In turn, the new BlueMotion model, due to go on sale in June, is predicted to return 68.8 mpg and emit 109 g/km of CO2.

Three trim levels are available: S, SE and Sport.  Additional equipment added to the new Passat over the outgoing model includes an iPod interface and leather multifunction steering wheel for the S model.  The SE trim level gains an eight-speaker digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity and the new driver fatigue detection system; while at the top of the range the new Sport model gains RNS 315 touchscreen satellite navigation.

All Passats are fitted with six airbags, ABS (anti-lock braking system), ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) and WOKS (whiplash-optimised head restraints) as standard.  What’s more, an automatic fatigue detection system monitors the driver’s inputs and emits an audible and visual warning when fatigue is detected.  It is standard on the majority of new Passats.  A new City Emergency Braking function which automatically applies the brakes at speeds below 18 mph should an unavoidable collision be sensed by the vehicle is also offered as an option.

The best-selling version of the new Passat is forecast to be the SE 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS model.  For the first time, the Estate is expected to out-sell the saloon – accounting for around 53 per cent of total volume.  In 2011, Volkswagen UK will sell just under 10,000 Passat saloons and just over 11,000 Estates.  Almost 80 per cent of Passats will be purchased by fleet buyers.

SUMMARY

  • New Passat is seventh generation of the model; first launched in 1973, since then over 15 million examples have been sold in more than 100 markets
  • Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September 2010, European sales began in October; UK Retailers began taking orders for new Passat in October, ready for first customer deliveries on 4 January 2011
  • Overall length grows by 4 mm to 4,769 mm (Estate 4,771 mm); width (1,820 mm) and height (1,470 mm saloon, 1,516 mm Estate) remain unchanged
  • Features all-new look with clean lines and pronounced new grille element with chrome horizontal fins framed by a pair of angular headlight units; new Passat marks an evolution of the Volkswagen design language
  • At the rear, distinctive tail lights are joined by chrome highlights that extend down the side of the car; every body panel apart from roof is new as well as every glass surface
  • Fresh look continues inside.  Revised dashboard with new dials, trim finishes and an analogue clock are joined by subtle chrome highlights plus new seats.  Centre console is updated with revisions to minor controls as well as new door trims
  • Thicker glass is used with the windscreen benefiting from an acoustic film sandwiched between layers of the glass resulting is less road and wind noise
  • Engine noise has also been reduced through the use of new sound deadening material mounted on the front bulkhead, wheelarches and in the dashboard leading to the new Passat being one of the quietest and most refined cars in its class
  • Range of advanced and highly efficient petrol and new second generation diesel engines power the new Passat.  Petrol line-up comprises 1.4-litre 122 PS TSI; 1.8-litre 160 PS TSI; and 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS engines
  • Diesel engines benefit from a series of modifications to make them more efficient while reducing noise and vibration.  All are designated BlueMotion Technology and feature Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems
  • Entry-level engine is the most efficient: a 1.6-litre TDI unit producing 105 PS.  In BlueMotion form (due June) with this engine, the new Passat is expected to achieve a combined fuel figure of 68.8 mpg while emitting 109 g/km of CO2.  Two further diesel units – a 2.0-litre TDI with 140 or 170 PS – are also available
  • Engines can be specified with a choice of manual or DSG gearboxes
  • New Passat is available with the option of new safety and comfort technologies usually reserved for luxury vehicles.  These include a City Emergency Braking function which automatically applies the brakes at speeds below 18 mph should an unavoidable collision be sensed by the vehicle
  • An automatic fatigue detection system monitors the driver’s inputs and emits an audible and visual warning when fatigue is detected.  It is standard on the majority of new Passats
  • Three trim levels are available: S, SE and Sport
  • Projected UK sales volumes for 2011: 9,987 saloons / 11,175 Estates.  Nearly 80 per cent of fleet buyers.  Overall best-selling model will be the SE 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS, accounting for around a quarter of total sales
  • Built at Volkswagen’s Emden plant in Germany

Market information
The Passat competes in both the family car and executive saloon markets, a rival to the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia, and also the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volvo S60. 

Volkswagen UK sold 21,263 Passats in 2009: 11,753 saloon and 9,510 Estate.  Passat CC models amounted to 4,562 units. Projected UK sales volumes for 2011: 9,987 saloons / 11,175 Estates.  Nearly 80 per cent of all buyers will be from the company car market.  The overall best-selling model will be the SE 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS, accounting for around a quarter of total sales.

Volkswagen has established a strong reputation among business and private buyers for the performance, durability and economy of its TDI diesel engines and these account for around 80 per cent of UK Passat sales. 

Production
The Passat and Passat Estate are produced at the Emden plant in Northern Germany alongside the Passat CC.  Employing around 7,900 staff, the car production site at Emden measures 4.1 million square metres, 1.6 million sq m of which is occupied by buildings.  The plant location is convenient, being in the immediate vicinity of the Emden port from which Passat models are delivered across the world.  Around one million new vehicles are imported and exported annually through Emden, with almost daily crossings to the UK. 

The plant itself is among the most advanced and sustainable in the world, with, for example, on-site wind generators which produce 4.5 megawatts of electrical power.  The site also has its own test track. 

The Emden factory was built in 1964, specialising in the production of the original Beetle, primarily for the North American market.  A total of 2,360,591 cars were produced in Emden until the model was discontinued in 1978.  The Passat has been built in Emden since 1977 and in November 2007, the 15 millionth Passat rolled off the production line. 

DESIGN

Exterior
For the seventh generation, the Passat was given a fresh new look, bringing it into line with Volkswagen’s Phaeton and adopting the now customary ‘Volkswagen design DNA’.  Most distinctive is the radiator grille with four crossmembers and defined by horizontal lines.  Like the Phaeton, new Polo, Golf and Sharan among other models, the Passat was designed by a team led by Volkswagen Group Head of Design, Walter de Silva, and Volkswagen Brand design chief, Klaus Bischoff.

The new front-end design gives the Passat – which is now 1,820 mm wide and 4,769 (Estate: 4,771) mm long – an even more dominant look.  Although the car has not grown in width, it has a greater presence and more visual dynamism.  The heights of the two body versions also remain as before (saloon: 1,470 mm; Estate: 1,516 mm).  The Passat’s imposing appearance is reinforced by new headlights with optional bi-xenon and LED daytime running lights.  Each daytime running light consists of 15 LEDs. Beneath the lines formed by the headlights and grille is the body-coloured bumper section.  Below that is another air intake framed by chrome-plated fins.  The very low profile fog lights are integrated here.  Chrome trim adds class on SE models and above, featuring on the front splitter and window surrounds.  All Passats have chrome louvres on the radiator grille, regardless of trim level.

The Passat’s front end blends into the side profile via the side contour of the V-shaped bonnet – similar to the design of the Phaeton – and the car’s distinctive wing panel lines.  Two crisper so-called character lines give structure to the height of the Passat, making it appear lower and more defined.  In one clean line, the upper character line joins the highest point of the headlights with the window line up to the C-pillar.  Beneath this is the second character line, which joins the side sections of the headlights and rear lights which extend into the side profile.  In the sill area, a black (S) or chrome (SE and Sport) side bump strip defines the lateral surfaces between the flared wheel housings.  The side profile, with its new door mirror design, is also characterised by a very fluid sweep from the roof section to the rear.

At the rear the latest generation Passat is noticeably less wedge-like in appearance, instead sporting a much lighter and more elegant appearance.  This makes the rear of the saloon appear lower, and the end surfaces of both body versions are wider.  The new rear lights are distinctive, wrapping around into the rear wings of the car.  Beneath the lights on all models is a chrome strip which, on the saloon is split by the licence plate and on the Estate runs round the whole rear section of the vehicle.

Structure and refinement
When examining the design of the new Passat it would be a mistake to concentrate on the aesthetics and ignore the construction techniques which are applied under the surface.

Like the previous generation, the latest Passat is one of the safest and highest quality vehicles on sale, with a class-leading static torsional rigidity value of 32,400 Nm/°.  This figure would not have been feasible without the specific application of high-strength steel, a material which accounts for 74 per cent of the Passat’s body structure.  Highly innovative form-hardened steels make up 16 per cent of the Passat – and these are employed in zones which are critical to safety performance.  In these areas strength-optimised joining technology targets the use of high-tech materials with engineers supplementing laser and spot welding with the addition of structural adhesive bonds.

Such methods enhance not only safety, but also refinement by reducing vibration.  Further efforts were also put into cutting engine vibration, for example the introduction of an elaborate three-point swivel bearing, which results in optimal isolation of the engine and body.  Engine noise is also reduced through the use of new sound deadening material mounted on the front bulkhead, wheelarches and in the dashboard. 

In addition, the Passat benefits from the use of a new type of windscreen glass which features an acoustic film sandwiched between layers of the glass resulting is less road, wind and engine noise entering the cabin.  It consists of five layers and has a total thickness of 4.46 mm.  Moving from the outside glass layer (2.1 mm) there is a first safety film (0.33 mm), then the acoustic film (0.1 mm), another safety film (0.33 mm) and then the inside glass layer (1.6 mm).  In the 1.4-litre 122 PS model, internal noise levels at around 60 mph were reduced by approximately two decibels.

Interior
Inside the Passat, new seats, door trim, accent materials, a redesigned centre console and further upgraded dashboard combine with new equipment features such as the front safety head restraints and optional climate seat with active ventilation once again to elevate the status of the Passat away from the standard upper medium saloon or estate class to the premium segment.

Carried over from the previous generation is the Passat’s radio controlled starting and locking system.  There is no longer an ignition key in the conventional sense, but the majority of the transmitter components for the central locking system are located in a slot retainer to the right of the steering wheel.  The engine is then started by simply pressing the transmitter into the slot.  If the Passat is equipped with the optional keyless entry, start and exit system, the vehicle is started by pressing a button.

Modified in many aspects for the latest model is the dashboard.  In its upper section, where the air vents are integrated, a new surface texture is applied, while chrome accents upgrade the bezels of the vent screens.  The decorative strips in the instruments also have new and higher-end material composition; they visually separate the upper and lower areas and are now designed with a slight curve.

The centre console was redesigned to ensure all controls and features were intuitively laid out and ergonomic for ease of use.  On the upper level is a new analogue clock, reminiscent of that used in the Phaeton.  Underneath are the infotainment systems, which have been adopted largely unchanged from the previous model.  Further down are the controls for the air conditioning or, if specified, an alternative climate control system.

The area surrounding the gear lever was completely redesigned. The gearshift lever itself – for both manual and DSG automatic transmissions – feels more sporty to touch, while the switch for the Passat’s electronic parking brake was moved from its position next to the steering wheel to the gear shift panel.  Then there are also buttons for the auto hold function, ESP and – in versions with Keyless Access – the start button for the engine here.  Integrated on the right side of the gear lever is a control key panel for activating the optional rear sun shade, ACC adaptive chassis control, Stop/Start system, tyre pressure monitoring, the parking sensors and Park Assist.

The styling and covers for the seats were also modified with function and design depending on the trim level.  On SE and Sport models, the driver’s seat now comes with standard electric six-way adjustment including lumbar support, while the front passenger seat offers height and lumbar adjustment.  Also aiding safety (on SE and Sport) is a newly designed headrest which can not only be adjusted vertically and to tilt, but also horizontally, ensuring the headrest is close enough to the head to offer optimal protection and thereby further reducing the risk of whiplash injury. 

For the first time the Passat can be specified with the option of perforated ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery with climate seats which can cool or warm depending on the conditions – another option borrowed from the Phaeton.

In the rear, the Passat impresses with three ergonomically contoured seat positions, as well as ample headroom and legroom.  The standard rear bench seat splits and folds (60:40) while SE and Sport models also have a load-through provision allowing long loads to be carried.

Loadspace
As an example to attention to detail, the Passat’s rear seats (in saloon and Estate body forms) can now be lowered from the boot as well as the rear seat area.  This is particularly useful when loading items into the boot as with one easy movement the seat can be dropped, saving the need to stop half way through loading to adjust the seat position. 

Furthermore in the Estate, the load cover now automatically retracts in a two stage process.  A simple push or nudge in the centre causes the cover to retract half way; a second nudge and it retracts completely.  A new optional feature for the Passat Estate is a sliding boot floor.  Covering approximately half the depth of the loadspace is a sliding panel.  For easy loading, simply slide it to the front of the boot (next to the tailgate), place the load on it and slide it back to position it at the rear of the loadspace.  This sliding panel can be easily removed when not needed. 

The Passat saloon is also available with Keyless Entry, comprising an automatic opening tailgate.  A simple movement of the foot under the licence plate area opens the boot, allowing hands-free, and hence convenient, loading.  Naturally all aspects of safety have been considered when designing this function.  The boot will only open when the person approaching the boot has the key with them, for example in a pocket or bag.

Bootspace capacity in the Passat saloon is 485 litres.  Chrome load-lashing points allow for the secure stowage of luggage, while bag hooks help to organise loads after shopping.  One detail to note are the boot hinges which are integrated outside of the bootspace to avoid any intrusion or limiting of luggage capacity.  The boot can be unlocked and fully opened by pressing a button inside the car, meanwhile the bootlid trim houses the warning triangle so that it is quickly accessible even when the bootspace is fully loaded.

The Estate of course takes load lugging to a new level with a capacity of 523 litres up to the height of the window edge.  When the entire bootspace is utilised, including the 80 litre spare wheel recess, cargo capacity increases to 1,731 litres – in this case, the Passat is filled to the roofliner and up to the backs of the front seats.  A net partition can be installed behind the first or second seat row, so that no unwanted cargo shifts into the passenger compartment.

The space is not only large, but also practical.  The Estate’s tailgate opens up to 2.03 metres high while the load sill is only 0.62 metre high.  The maximum bootspace width is 1.3 m; minimum length is 1.13 m.  The cargo floor of the Estate increases to 1.96 m when the rear seats are folded.

ENGINES

The Passat and Passat Estate are available with a choice of three direct injection petrol and diesel engines, ranging in power from 105 to 170 PS.  All meet the appropriate emissions standards and all diesels have a standard particulate filter.

The petrol line-up comprises a 1.4-litre 122 PS; a 1.8-litre 160 PS; and a 2.0-litre 210 PS.  The three common rail diesels are a 1.6-litre with 105 PS and a 2.0-litre TDI available with 140 or 170 PS.

Petrol engines

TSI technology
The TSI name represents all of Volkswagen’s pioneering forced-induction petrol engines which are available in the Passat.  These engines produce high levels of power with low emissions from a relatively small capacity.

1.4-litre 1390 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 122 PS BlueMotion Technology
This turbocharged unit produces peak power of 122 PS at 5,000 rpm from its 1.4-litre cubic capacity and maximum torque of 200 Nm (148 lbs ft) from 1,500 rpm.  It is available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearbox.  Zero to 62 mph takes just 10.3 seconds and top speed is 127 mph.  Yet despite this performance and thanks in part to its small capacity as well as its BlueMotion Technology modifications (see separate section for details) it returns a healthy combined economy of 47.9 mpg (47.1 DSG) and CO2emissions are 138 g/km.  

In Estate form, standstill to 62 mph takes 10.6 seconds with a top speed of 126 mph.  Combined economy is 46.3 mpg while carbon dioxide emissions are 140 g/km (142 for DSG).

The turbocharger in this engine is designed to be compact and lightweight, giving good performance with low consumption and emissions.  It is thanks to the very quick response of the turbocharger and the low-profile design of intake and exhaust cams together with variable inlet valve timing, that 80 per cent of the maximum torque is already available at 1,250 rpm.

Another notable aspect of the 122 PS TSI is its water-cooled intercooler located directly in the induction pipe.  It is part of a low-temperature coolant loop that is independent of the engine coolant system.  The advantage of this is that the inlet system can have a smaller volume than where a conventional air-to-air intercooler is used, and this in turn considerably shortens the time required to reach a charge pressure of 1,800 millibar in the induction system.  As a result this engine suffers little so-called ‘turbo lag’.

1.8-litre 1798 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 160 PS 
This engine was a popular choice on the previous generation Passat and has been carried over to the new model.  Yet not without modifications to improve it.  The development team enhanced fuel consumption by seven per cent from 38.2 to 40.9 mpg on the new model.  This engine is also available with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic gearboxes.

What is unchanged is the powerplant’s lively performance and refinement thanks in part to maximum torque of 250 Nm (185 lbs ft) from just 1,500 rpm and maximum power of 160 PS at 5,000 rpm.

The 0 to 62 mph sprint takes 8.5 seconds and top speed for this Passat is 137 mph.  This engine has a combined fuel economy figure of 40.9 mpg (40.4 DSG) and CO2 emissions of 160 g/km (162 DSG). 

In Estate bodystyle, these figures change to zero to 62 mph in 8.7 seconds (8.5 DSG) and top speed of 137 mph.  This car has a combined fuel economy figure of 40.9 mpg (39.8 DSG) and CO2 emissions of 160 g/km (165 DSG). 

2.0-litre TSI, 1984 cc, 16-valve 4-cyl, 210 PS
This engine made its debut in the Volkswagen Golf GTI where it combines flexible performance with low emissions and impressive economy.  It is available with a standard six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG transmission.

It has a power output of 210 PS delivered at 5,300 rpm, which allows the vehicle to accelerate from standstill to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds.  Maximum torque – 280 Nm (207 lbs ft ) – is delivered between 1,700 and 5,200 rpm, an exceptionally wide range to provide excellent in-gear performance and keen throttle response.  Top speed is 148 mph (147 DSG).  Carbon dioxide emissions are 169 g/km (180 DSG) and economy is measured at a combined figure of 39.2 mpg (36.7 DSG).

In Estate bodystyle, acceleration to 62 mph takes 7.7 seconds with a top speed of 146 mpg.  Fuel economy is 39.2 mpg (35.8 DSG) on the combined cycle with carbon dioxide emissions of 169 g/km (183 DSG).

Diesel engines
All the Passat’s diesel engines used common rail technology, comply with Euro5 emissions legislation and are fitted with a standard Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) which reduces particulate emissions to below five mg/km.  All are refined, economical and clean as well as good to drive.

Using a common rail system, the diesel is sprayed directly into the combustion chamber at pressures up to 1,600 bar.  Piezo actuators control multiple injections with highly precise fuel quantities and timing.  In an effort to reduce internal engine friction, crankshaft, valve and oil pump drives were optimised, while a square bore/stroke ratio minimises friction losses at the cylinder liners.  Losses were also reduced in oil and coolant circuits as well as the air induction system. 

Playing their part in making the seventh generation Passat the quietest yet, all the new TDI engines distinguish themselves with good low-noise properties.  In engines with 140 PS or more, two balancer shafts help put an end to undesirable vibrations, while on all models a newly designed engine mounting system ensures that the powerplants are better isolated from the body.  Also aiding acoustics is the maintenance-free toothed-belt camshaft drive.

1.6-litre TDI, 1598 cc, 8-valve 4-cyl, 105 PS BlueMotion Technology
This entry-level 1.6-litre TDI produces 105 PS at 4,400 rpm and also impressive amounts of torque: 250 Nm (185 lbs ft) from 1,500 to 2,500 rpm. 

For the first time this engine is combined with a six-speed instead of a five-speed manual transmission.

Top speed is 121 mph and the zero to 62 mph sprint time is 12.2 seconds.  Combined economy is 65.7 mpg while carbon dioxide emissions are just 114 g/km.  In Estate form the Passat returns 64.2 mpg and 116 g/km, with performance figures of 12.5 seconds and a top speed of 121 mph.

This 1.6-litre unit will also form the basis of the Passat BlueMotion model when it goes on sale later in 2011, promising a predicted combined economy figure of 68.8 mpg and carbon dioxide emissions as low as 109 g/km (114 Estate).

2.0-litre, 1968 cc TDI CR, 16-valve 4-cyl, 140 PS BlueMotion Technology
The predicted best-seller in the Passat range, this 2.0-litre common rail diesel engine produces 140 PS at 4,200 rpm and 320 Nm (236 lbs ft) of torque from 1,750 to 2,500 rpm.  It is available with a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox. 

In saloon form this means a 0 to 62 mph time of 9.8 seconds and a top speed of 132 mph (131 DSG).  Fuel consumption remains frugal with a combined figure of 61.4 mpg (54.3 DSG) and CO2 emissions of 119 g/km (135 DSG). 

In the Estate model this Passat has a 0 to 62 mph time of 10.0 seconds and a top speed of 132 mph (131 DSG).  Fuel consumption remains competitive with a combined figure of 61.4 mpg (54.3 DSG) and CO2emissions of 120 g/km (135 DSG). 

2.0-litre, 1968 cc TDI CR, 16-valve 4-cyl, 170 PS BlueMotion Technology
At the top of the performance diesel range and using the same engine as the acclaimed Golf GTD is the 2.0-litre 170 PS model.  Powering this Passat is a refined 2.0-litre (1,968 cc) common rail TDI engine, producing 170 PS at 4,200 rpm and a substantial 350 Nm (258 lbs ft) of torque channelled via a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox. 

This translates to effortless performance with the ability to accelerate from rest to 62 mph in 8.8 seconds (8.6 DSG) and go on to a top speed of 139 mph (136 DSG).  Combined economy is 61.4 mpg (53.3 DSG), while carbon dioxide output is just 120 g/km (139 DSG).

Meanwhile the Passat Estate modelhas a 0 to 62 mph time of 8.6 seconds (8.8 DSG) and a top speed of 141 mph (139 DSG).  Fuel consumption remains competitive with a combined figure of 60.1 (53.3 DSG) and CO2emissions of 123 g/km (139 DSG).

BlueMotion Technology 
The 1.4-litre 122 PS petrol engine and all three diesel units carry the BlueMotion Technology label.  This name is applied to all vehicles developed by Volkswagen that strike a balance between the highly focussed BlueMotion vehicles and the conventional products on which they are based.  They combine efficiency with comfort and equipment to create vehicles that deliver greater economy and produce fewer emissions yet are practical as well as conventional to drive, service and maintain.

All these models feature alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tyres to enhance economy, as well as a multifunction computer which includes visual gear change recommendation for optimum fuel consumption.  In addition they have Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems.  

The Passat’s automatic Stop/Start system is operated through the clutch pedal.  When coming to a halt at traffic lights, for example, the driver depresses the clutch and selects neutral.  When the clutch is released, the engine shuts down and a ‘Start / Stop’ symbol illuminates on the multifunction display.  In order to move away, the driver simply depresses the clutch once again to select first gear and the engine restarts automatically.  The system can be deactivated through a switch, if necessary.  With the DSG gearbox, the Stop/Start system is activated through the brake pedal.

A battery regeneration system helps to utilise energy that would otherwise be lost during braking.  In deceleration and braking phases, the alternator’s voltage is boosted and used for bulk recharging of the car’s battery.  Thanks to alternator control, it is possible to lower alternator voltage, for example during deceleration or driving at a constant speed.  It is even possible to switch off the alternator entirely which reduces engine load and improves fuel consumption.

Gearboxes
All Passats come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox featuring a magnesium selector housing and cable operation with very short lever movements.  Three-cone synchromesh for the lower gears ensures a pleasant shift action.  Reduced-friction bearings further increase the efficiency of the unit and cut fuel consumption.  All are filled with lifetime oil and require no routine maintenance.  As an alternative, all except for the 1.6-litre TDI can be specified with the option of Volkswagen’s six- or seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.

DSG – Direct Shift Gearbox
First launched in 2005, Volkswagen’s Direct Shift Gearbox combines the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the responsiveness and economy of a manual unit.

The six-speed, transversely mounted DSG unit has two wet clutches with hydraulic pressure regulation.  One clutch controls the ‘odd’ gears plus reverse, while the other operates the ‘even’ gears.  Essentially it is two gearboxes in one.

With this clutch management system, the interruptions in power that are typical of even an automatic-shift manual gearbox no longer occur.  This is achieved by an intelligent hydraulic and electronic (mechatronic) gearbox control system, the two wet-type clutches and the two input and output shafts in each half of the gearbox.

This combination enables the next-higher gear ratio to remain engaged but on standby until it is actually selected.  In other words, if the car is being driven in third gear, fourth is selected but not yet activated.  As soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the clutch on the third-gear side opens, the other clutch closes and fourth gear engages under accurate electronic supervision.

Since the opening and closing actions of the two clutches overlap, a smooth gearshift results and the entire shift process is completed in less than four-hundredths of a second.  In addition to its fully automatic shift mode, DSG has a Tiptronic function to permit manual gear selection. 

Seven-speed DSG
The seven-speed DSG gearbox uses a pair of dry clutches (as opposed to the wet ones in the six-speed version) to improve fuel efficiency and performance.  The pair of dry, organic bonded friction linings do not require cooling, making the drivetrain more efficient through the extra gear ratio and the fact that less power is required for the gear selection and clutch servo system.  Measuring only 369 mm in length and weighing only 79 kg including the dual-mass flywheel the gearbox is remarkably compact. 

In adopting seven-speeds, Volkswagen engineers were able to lower first gear to improve acceleration from a standstill.  By contrast seventh gear has been raised to act as an overdrive function making it ideal for motorway driving with the additional effect of further improving economy and comfort levels.

The volume of oil contained within the gearbox has also been reduced by 75 per cent.  The lubrication circuits are divided into two to maintain the purity of the oil.  As with a conventional manual gearbox, one of the circuits is used for cooling and lubrication of the gear teeth, the second feeds oil to the gear actuators.  Since the clutch does not require cooling the quantity of oil has been reduced from seven litres in the six-speed DSG gearbox to only 1.7-litres in the new seven-speed system.

It should be noted that both DSG gearboxes are application specific.  The six-speed version can be paired with high torque engines (up to 350 Nm) while the seven-speed variant is more effective in combination with smaller engines with torque outputs of up to 250 Nm.  Engine and gearbox combinations are detailed in the individual engine.

Servicing
Volkswagen offers customers a choice of servicing regime for their Passat.  They can choose between Time and Distance and LongLife Servicing and the appropriate selection is entirely dependent on how the car is likely to be driven and its general use. 

The Time and Distance Service is recommended for vehicles that will cover less than 10,000 (approx) miles in 12 months and if the vehicle is likely to be used in the following way:

  • Predominantly city centre driving, short journeys with frequent cold starts
  • Activities regularly producing high engine loading, for example frequent hill climbs, driving with vehicle fully loaded and towing
  • Driving with high rpm, heavy acceleration and heavy braking

In this case, the vehicle will be serviced at regular intervals, at every 10,000 mi les or every 12 months. 

The LongLife Service is recommended for vehicles with a daily mileage of more than 25 miles, where the vehicle is driven regularly and on mainly longer distance journeys.  The vehicle should be mainly driven at a constant speed with minimum vehicle and engine loading, minimal towing and driven in an economical manner.  In this case, the on-board computer informs the driver via a dashboard display, when the vehicle needs a service.  A range of engine sensors electronically monitors the vehicle’s oil temperature, oil pressure, oil level and brake pad wear to establish when a service is needed.  With the LongLife system, it can be possible to drive for up to 18,000 mi les or 24 months without a major service. 

Customers can choose between Time and Distance or LongLife Servicing at PDI (pre-delivery inspection) and though it is possible to change from one to another during the vehicle’s life, it can only be done when a full inspection service is due. 

RUNNING GEAR

The basic structure of the Passat’s suspension system is carried over from the previous generation.  This means a lightweight strut-type suspension, with low-mounted wishbones and control arms at the front; and at the back a four-link rear suspension system which is acoustically isolated from the bodywork by a subframe.  Electro-mechanical power-assisted steering provides agility, comfort and safety of the highest standard. 

However, as in all areas which are carried from one generation to the next, the suspension has also been enhanced.

For the first time the Passat can now be ordered with Volkswagen’s ACC adaptive chassis control system which allows the driver to vary the behaviour of the suspension depending on the road and journey conditions according to choice; sports suspension (lowered by around 15 mm) is standard on the top of the range Sport models.

Front axle
The Passat’s front suspension is based on the MacPherson principle with lower trailing arms and struts.  This running gear is extremely lightweight, as is the axle.  In the area of the very rigid and crash-optimised chassis subframe alone, 4.5 kg of weight was pared compared to a conventional steel plate design.  Also especially light in weight are the forged aluminium transverse links.  Here, the weight advantage compared to steel plate is 4.2 kg.

Lightweight construction methods are especially beneficial when they are applied to unsprung masses, hence why Volkswagen engineers made the transverse links as well as the pivot bearings from aluminium.  The total weight advantage here compared to steel plate is 3.2 kg.  In total, the various lightweight construction methods on the front running gear yield a weight advantage of 13.3 kg, giving greater comfort, more dynamic performance and better fuel economy.

Rear axle
The four-link rear suspension of the Passat is also very lightweight and, thanks to the special layout of the links, enables separate tuning of longitudinal and transverse forces to guarantee the best combination of driving comfort, performance and stability.  

The four-link rear suspension consists of an isolated subframe, to which the steering knuckle is joined via the spring suspension arm, track rod and transverse link in an upward transverse direction.  Longitudinal links handle wheel location in the longitudinal direction.  Isolating the subframe gives maximum dynamic performance combined with comfort through improved acoustics, and is achieved through the use of four specially designed rubber-metal bearings.

ACC – adaptive chassis control system
Engineers have in the past been constrained to design a suspension system which is biased either towards comfort or sportiness, always resulting in some form of compromise.  The ideal, it was decided, would be to produce a chassis that could continually adapt to road conditions and the particular wishes of the driver or passengers, hence why an adaptive chassis control (ACC) system is offered as an option on the Passat.  Here not only can the suspension’s damping characteristics be controlled at the touch of a button, but the electro-mechanical power steering and accelerator response are also modified at the same time.

ACC functions via a set of four electrically adjustable dampers operated through pneumatic valves.  Each damper is fitted with characteristic map control, a gateway control module that serves as an interface with the CAN data networks in the Passat – these comprise three sensors for measuring wheel displacement, three sensors for measuring movements of the body structure and a control module for the damping.

These sensors constantly (up to 1,000 times per second) measure the vehicle’s behaviour – be it under braking, acceleration or cornering – and react almost instantaneously to ensure the optimum mix of chassis agility and comfort at all times.  The vehicle defaults to ‘Normal’ mode in which the system strikes a balance for general use.  Should the driver select ‘Sport’ mode the steering assistance is reduced, the damping is hardened and the throttle responses are sharpened as the mapping changes.  This is intended for either twisty roads or track driving.  In ‘Comfort’ the damping is softened and the steering assistance is increased to provide a smooth and controlled ride best suited to motorway driving.

Electro-mechanical power steering
An electro-mechanical power steering system is employed in the Passat.  Unlike some electro-mechanical steering systems, it is able to vary the feel of the steering wheel to suit the speed and driving situation: firm and direct when driving hard, effortless at parking speeds.  Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centring action, its ability to compensate for different driving hazards, like crosswinds and steep road cambers, and a beneficial effect on fuel economy, as it dispenses with the usual engine driven pump.

Braking system 
The Passat features a sophisticated braking system, with ABS and ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) standard across the range.  Ventilated discs are fitted at the front, with solid discs at the rear.  All Passats have an integrated ‘brake disc wiper’ as standard, where the linings are gently applied at intervals of five minutes.  This wipes off any water film that may have built up on wet roads and therefore shortens the braking distance.  The driver is oblivious to this procedure.

Electronic Stabilisation Programme – ESP
The latest-generation ESP system developed for the Passat has a range of features designed to have a direct and positive effect on active safety.  Essentially, ESP is a sophisticated system that automatically senses any tendency for the car to slide.  Should this situation occur, ESP reacts by applying the brakes to one, two, three or all four wheels and adjusts the engine’s power.  In this way, it is possible that a skid is corrected even before the driver is aware that one has started.  This can be useful if a tendency to understeer or oversteer develops in a bend.  In such circumstances ESP can help prevent the car skidding or spinning off the road and is particularly helpful in wet or icy conditions. 

The latest generation of ESP fitted to the Passat has a finer response, counter-steering recommendation and offers trailer stabilisation. This is standard when a factory towbar is specified, or can be activated by a Volkswagen Retailer when a Volkswagen-approved towbar is fitted.  This system extends the capability of the normal ESP purely through a software extension.  It does not require additional sensors. 

When the onset of yawing of a trailer is detected by the ESP control module the system automatically reduces or cuts engine power and applies the brakes to appropriate wheels dynamically in phase with the yawing to oppose the snaking motion and stabilise the vehicle/trailer combination.  When stability is achieved the brakes and engine power return to normal control.  During the automatic braking process the brake lights are turned on even though the driver may not be touching the brake pedal.

Brake Assist 
Working in conjunction with the other elements of the braking system, this latest form of Brake Assist recognises from the speed at which the brake pedal is depressed whether it is a ‘normal’ braking situation or an emergency stop.  In the event of an emergency stop, Brake Assist automatically increases braking pressure, activating ABS and ensuring the level of braking meets the needs of the conditions.  The application of brake assist makes it possible even for unskilled drivers to reduce braking distances by around 25 per cent.

Electronic parking brake 
The Passat was the first saloon in this class to have a push-button operated electro-mechanical parking brake as standard and this is carried over to the new generation.  New functions can be implemented because of the electronic control system and its ability to communicate with other control units.  These include a dynamic emergency braking function, dynamic driving assistant (for use on hills, for example) and an auto hold function (avoids frequent application of the brake pedal when, for example, crawling in traffic).

The electro-mechanical parking brake is operated using a small lever near the gear lever between the front seats.  A light in the button and on the dashboard indicates that the brake is applied.  A separate control unit is needed to actuate and monitor the electro-mechanical parking brake.  This is linked with the ESP control unit and is therefore a part of the Controller Area Network (CAN).  This is important, because it means that all the convenience and safety functions of the electro-mechanical parking brake can be perfectly controlled, offering noticeable advantages over a conventional handbrake. 

Dynamic emergency brake function
The law says that a car must be able to be stopped by the parking brake in the extremely unlikely event of main brake system failure.  In a worse case scenario, the electro-mechanical parking brake can do this much more efficiently than a normal handbrake lever, since braking is carried out on all four wheels by means of active brake pressure build-up.  Dynamic emergency braking is initiated by pulling and holding the parking brake lever.  The ABS and ESP functions are also integrated.  Emergency braking stops as soon as the button is released.

Dynamic starting assistant (DAA) of the electronic parking brake
The dynamic starting function provides jolt-free starting in almost any situation, so a Passat that is parked on a slope does not roll back when it starts off.  The DAA function becomes active as soon as the propulsion torque (when moving off) of the Passat is greater than the reversing torque (rolling back).  In other words, the parking brake releases smoothly and automatically when the driver moves off with manual as well as automatic transmission. 

EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS

Three trim levels are available in the Passat and Passat Estate model line-ups: S, SE and Sport.  Specification highlights for each model are shown below; for full details and pricing information, please see the latest price list.

S 1.4-litre TSI BlueMotion Technology 122 PS
S 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS
S 1.6-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 105 PS
S 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 140 PS

All the above models feature the following standard features:

  • ABS anti-lock brakes with BAS (Brake Assist System) and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)
  • ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (traction control)
  • electronic parking brake with auto hold function
  • driver and front passenger airbags with passenger’s airbag deactivation switch
  • curtain airbag system for front and rear passengers, including front side airbags
  • driver and front passenger’s WOKS (whiplash optimised head restraints)
  • Isofix child seat preparation for two outer rear seats
  • seatbelt unfastened warning system (audible and visual)
  • head restraints and three-point seatbelts for three rear passengers
  • ‘Climatic’ semi-automatic air conditioning system
  • press and drive key system, including electronic engine immobiliser and alarm with interior protection
  • remote control central locking
  • height and reach adjustable steering column; driver’s seat height adjustment
  • front centre armrest with storage compartment; rear centre armrest
  • cooled, illuminated and lockable glovebox
  • split/folding rear seat backrests (60:40) – unlocked from luggage compartment
  • 12V socket in rear of front centre armrest
  • leather trimmed three-spoke steering wheel and gear knob
  • matt chrome decorative inserts in dash, centre console and door panels
  • electric windows, front and rear
  • multifunction computer and steering wheel
  • RCD 310 radio / MP3 compatible CD player with eight speakers and AUX-in socket for connection to external multimedia source
  • MDI (Multi Device Interface) with USB and iPod connection cables
  • Stop/Start function (BlueMotion Technology only)
  • battery regeneration system
  • body-coloured bumpers (with black bump strips), door handles and mirrors with integrated indicators incorporating LED technology
  • black roof rails (Estate only)
  • 7J x 16 ‘Barcelona’ alloy wheels with 215/55 R16 low rolling resistance tyres and anti-theft wheel bolts
  • full size steel spare wheel

SE 1.4-litre TSI BlueMotion Technology 122 PS
SE 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS
SE 1.6-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 105 PS
SE 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 140 PS

Moving up the range, in addition to all the features from the S model, to the best-selling SE trim level gains:

  • chrome-plated side bump strips plus chrome front and rear bumper strips
  • chrome side window surrounds
  • 7½J x 17 ‘Fontana’ alloy wheels with 235/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts
  • full size alloy spare wheel
  • flat tyre indicator
  • front comfort seats
  • driver’s seat with electric six-way adjustment including lumbar support
  • front passenger’s seat height and lumbar adjustment
  • four way adjustable head restraints
  • rear centre armrest with storage compartment and two cup holders
  • storage pockets on front seat backrests
  • load-through provision
  • 12V socket in luggage compartment
  • Bluetooth telephone preparation for HFP (Hands Free Profile) enabled telephones
  • DAB digital radio receiver
  • cruise control with Fatigue Detection system
  • automatic coming/leaving home lighting function; automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror; rain sensor
  • electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors including automatic dimming function
  • brushed stainless steel decorative inserts in dash and centre console

Sport 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS 
Sport 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS
Sport 1.6-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 105 PS
Sport 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 140 PS
Sport 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology 170 PS

At the top of the range, Sport models gain (on top of SE):

  • sports suspension, lowered by approx 15 mm
  • ACC adaptive chassis control (2.0-litre TSI 210 PS models only)
  • front sport seats
  • heat insulating tinted glass (65 per cent light absorbing) from B-pillar back
  • 2Zone electronic climate control
  • front fog lights with static cornering function
  • RNS 315 touchscreen navigation / radio system including dash-mounted MP3 compatible CD player with eight speakers, five-inch colour screen, SD card reader and AUX-in socket for connection to an external multimedia source (eg iPod and MP3 player)
  • electronic tyre pressure monitoring system
  • 7½J x 17 ‘Minneapolis’ alloy wheels with 235/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts
  • chrome roof rails (Estate only)

FACTORY-FIT OPTIONS

A number of factory- and retailer-fit options are available on the Passat saloon and Estate models, allowing buyers to customise further their vehicles.  Also explained in this section are innovations and technical features which are standard on some models and optional lower down the range.

These include a fatigue detection system, city emergency braking function, Lane Assist, Park Assist and rear-view camera, Keyless entry, air conditioning upgrades, a panoramic sunroof, bi-xenon headlights, satellite navigation, an electric rear sun blind, telephone preparation, leather upholstery and alloy wheel upgrades.

For full details of option availability and cost, please refer to the latest price list.

Lane Assist (optional on SE and Sport)
This new warning system prevents drivers from drifting unintentionally out of their chosen lane.  Research shows approximately 14 per cent of accidents involving injuries are caused by a vehicle leaving its lane. 

To function, road markings are monitored via a camera located in the rear-view mirror or rain sensor, and if at speeds above around 40 mph the system detects that the vehicle is leaving the lane, it helps it to stay in place by alerting the driver with audible and visible warning signals.  The system is switched off as soon as the indicators are switched on and the driver can override the system at any time.

Fatigue detection system (optional on S, standard on SE and Sport)
It is estimated that a quarter of motorway accidents are caused by driver tiredness.  For this reason Volkswagen has introduced an innovative fatigue detection system, which is particularly valuable for company car drivers who may cover long distances without a scheduled break.  

The Passat’s fatigue detection system does not work in the same way as those from other manufacturers which monitor eye movements.  Instead, for the first 15 minutes of a journey the system analyses the driver’s characteristic steering and driving behaviour.  Further into the journey the system continually evaluates signals such as steering angle, use of pedals and transverse acceleration.  If the monitored parameters indicate a deviation from the initial behaviour recorded at the beginning of the trip, then waning concentration is assumed and warnings issued.

The system warns the driver with an acoustic signal lasting five seconds, while a visual message also appears in the instrument cluster recommending a break.  If the driver does not take a break within the next 15 minutes, the warning is repeated.  

This assistance system can not detect so-called ‘microsleep’ but instead focuses on detecting early phases of lapses in concentration.  This means it is much less costly than an eye movement monitoring based system – and also still functions when the driver is wearing sunglasses or driving in the dark.

Bluetooth preparation (optional on S, standard on SE and Sport)
The Passat is available with the option of preparation for Bluetooth HFP (Hands Free Profile) enabled telephones.  Here, the driver’s mobile phone is integrated into the vehicle’s systems without it being removed from a jacket pocket, for example.  The actual mobile phone functions in the car are dealt with by a fixed telephone installation that obtains the necessary data from the SIM card of the mobile phone.  The telephone is controlled using a separate keyboard, the optional multifunction steering wheel or by voice command. 

Automatic Distance Control (incorporating City emergency braking function) 
All Passats are offered with the option of Automatic Distance Control (ADC), a radar sensor controlled distance monitoring system. 

In basic terms, it uses radars in the front bumper to monitor the distance to other vehicles in traffic ahead of the car.  If it gets too close to the vehicle in front (ie less than the minimum stopping distance), ADC warns the driver in two stages.  First there is a visual signal on the dashboard along with an audible warning.  Second, there is a brief braking pulse to increase the distance between the two vehicles.  At the same time, the Passat is prepared for possible hard braking by the driver – should the traffic ahead have slowed considerably for example.  In extreme cases, ADC can slow the Passat to a complete standstill.

Also integrated into the system for the first time on the Passat is a city emergency braking function.  Active at speeds below 30 km/h, it reacts not only to slow moving traffic to avoid shunts but also to stationary vehicles.  If required it can initiate braking to prevent a collision – or if this is impossible, at least slow the vehicle substantially in order to minimise the subsequent damage.

2Zone air conditioning system
As well as the standard Climatic system, Volkswagen offers a 2Zone electronic climate control system (standard on Sport).  This two-zone device allows driver and front-seat passenger to adjust their own climates individually and independently.  Temperatures within the two zones are maintained to an accuracy of a degree, with no readjustment necessary whatever the outside conditions.  The intelligent control system even takes into account the amount of sunlight penetration into the cabin, and makes separate calculations to compensate for it on both the driver and passenger sides. 

As an example of further attention to detail, the system switches automatically to recirculating-air mode when reversing and when the windscreen washer sprays are used; the fresh air supply is momentarily cut to prevent smells – of exhaust and windscreen wash – from entering.

Keyless entry and easy boot opening 
After the Phaeton and the Touareg, the Passat was the third Volkswagen model to feature a keyless entry, start and exit system.  When one of the new design door handles is touched, a signal is transmitted from an aerial integrated in the handle. 
The system then searches for a valid ID transmitter, from which it detects access authorisation.  The antenna relays the code sent by the transmitter to the relevant control unit in the Passat.  If the code is recognised, the system then unlocks the doors, deactivates the immobiliser and the anti-theft alarm system, and allows the vehicle to be started at the push of a button.  Other antennae check whether the ID transmitter is in the car.  To protect children, for example, the Passat cannot be started if the ID transmitter is too far away from the vehicle.  Neither is it possible, for example, to put the transmitter on the roof, get in the car and drive off.

If no door is opened within 30 seconds, the doors lock again.  From inside the vehicle, it is unlocked by pressing a button in the door handle.  The Passat can also be unlocked and locked by remote control.

New for the latest generation is the added feature of automatic boot opening for the Passat saloon.  In this case, a simple movement of the foot, or kick, under the licence plate area opens the boot, allowing hands-free, and hence convenient, loading.  Naturally all aspects of safety have been considered when designing this function.  The boot will only open when the person approaching the boot is within one metre of the car and has the key with them, for example in a pocket or bag.

Panoramic tilt/slide sunroof for the Passat Estate
The Passat Estate is available with the option of a panoramic tilt/slide sunroof which is 300 per cent larger than a conventional sunroof.  The front section of the two-part roof extends beyond the B-pillars and can be electrically tilted or opened completely.  The thermally insulating glass absorbs 99 per cent of the sun’s UV radiation.  In addition, the roof is equipped with an electrically powered sunshade.

Dynaudio sound system 
A 600 watt premium entertainment system from Danish hi-fi specialist Dynaudio provides exceptional sound quality, especially compared with other systems in the Passat’s market sector.  The ten-channel system delivering up to a true 600 watts RMS without generating unwanted vibrations in the vehicle structure sets a new standard in this class.  A Volkswagen sound system with an output of 250 watts is also available. 

Gas discharge bi-xenon headlights
Ultra-efficient gas discharge (bi-Xenon) headlights are offered on all Passats.  These provide a well focused, blue-white light approximately two and a half times more powerful than standard lights, and come with directional headlights.  This option includes a self-levelling mechanism and high pressure headlight wash.  

Integrated child seats
As an option on all models, integrated child seats offer a practical, neat and cost-effective solution for customers who regularly carry children in the car.  These act as a raised booster seat and are suitable for children weighing between 15 and 36 kgs, up to 12 years of age.  They come as a pair and incorporated into the two rear outer seats.

Touchscreen navigation / radio systems:

RNS 315 (optional on S and SE, standard on Sport)
All Passats can be specified with Volkswagen’s RNS 315 satellite navigation system.  The installation uses a five-inch touchscreen for fast, intuitive operation of the entertainment and navigation menus and displaying of information.  Key features include a CD drive for navigation disc or audio CDs, playback with title display for MP3 files and an integrated SD memory card reader from which files can be retrieved.

The navigation function offers a moving map in the colour display panel, integrated direction symbols as well as spoken instructions. 

For the navigation to function, rear ABS wheel sensors are used to determine the distance the car has covered and to provide information when the car is turning.  Further system components include a solid state magnetic compass concealed under the roof and a three-way roof aerial for radio and GPS (Global Positioning System).  The aerial receives signals from the satellites in orbit from which the system is able to calculate the position of the car on the surface of the earth.

RNS 510
Opitonal on all Passats is an upgrade to the RNS 510 satellite navigation system.  This features a six and a half inch colour screen plus integrated voice control system which responds to spoken voice commands for navigation, CD and radio functions.

As well as playing CDs in the usual manner, favourite tracks can also be stored onto the internal, 30 GB hard-drive via an SD card slot in the front of the unit.  The hard-drive can also be used to store navigation mapping.  In addition routes can be recorded while driving and then re-traced by following guidance provided by the stored waypoints.  

Park Assist
Park Assist is an automated steering assistance system for parallel parking and reverse parking into spaces at 90 degrees to the road.  Using a series of sensors mounted on the front, rear and side of the Passat, the system plots the ideal manoeuvring path into a parallel space measuring less than one metre more than the car, either to the right or left of the vehicle. 

When driving at speeds of under around 18 mph and within an appropriate parking environment, an ultrasonic sensor system detects spaces.  A control unit then notifies the driver an appropriate space has been found and calculates the ideal parking path.  Once in the recommended ‘start’ position, the driver engages reverse gear.  During the parking process the driver has no steering input – he or she simply accelerates and brakes as appropriate.  Once reverse gear is engaged, the whole operation generally takes no more than 15 seconds. 

This system also incorporates audible parking sensors with volume reduction when activated and optical parking display via the vehicle’s audio system. 

In addition, it can also be specified to include a rear-view camera which transmits a real-time, distortion-free image of what is behind the car to the screen in the central display.  This allows the driver to see and recognise obstacles behind the car, and manoeuvre into the tightest parking spaces.  While moving, the screen marks out the car’s steering movements with coloured orientation lines.  This facility can also be extremely useful when hooking up to a tow hitch.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

The previous generation Passat scored a maximum five stars for occupant protection in the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) tests.  Naturally the latest model retains the safety credentials of its predecessor, plus benefits from the addition of items such as the fatigue detection system, city emergency braking function, integrated child seats and new whiplash-optimised head restraints which move horizontally to maximise effectiveness. 

All Passats have two-stage inflating front airbags, safety-optimised and therefore also horizontally adjustable front head restraints, crash-optimised foot pedals and side airbags (front) and side curtain airbags (front and rear). Also available for the rear seating area are side airbags and a belt status indicator.

In addition, the Passat is one of the most torsionally rigid cars in its class and produced using innovative construction techniques and high-strength steels in crash-relevant areas.

As a car which is sold on all five continents, the Passat of course fulfils all international crash standards.

Line-up with insurance groups
Thanks to its extensive security and safety features, the Passat and Passat Estate have secured the following insurance group ratings from the ABI (Association of British Insurers):

S 
1.4-litre TSI BMT* 122 PS           17E
1.8-litre TSI 160 PS                    23E
1.6-litre TDI BMT 105 PS            16E
2.0-litre TDI BMT 140 PS            21E

SE 
1.4-litre TSI BMT 122 PS            17E
1.8-litre TSI 160 PS                    23E
1.6-litre TDI BMT 105 PS            16E
2.0-litre TDI BMT 140 PS            21E

Sport 
1.8-litre TSI 160 PS                    23E
2.0-litre TSI 210 PS                    26E
1.6-litre TDI BMT 105 PS            16E
2.0-litre TDI BMT 140 PS            21E
2.0-litre TDI BMT 170 PS            24E

*denotes BlueMotion Technology

In December 2009, the insurance industry switched from a 1-20 rating system to a 1-50 system.  New ratings are shown here.  The ‘E’ denotes that the vehicle exceeded the co-called Thatcham (ABI) requirements.

WARRANTIES

The Passat and Passat Estate have a three year (first and second year manufacturer operated, third year retailer operated) mechanical warranty.  In addition, they come with a class-leading 12 year body protection guarantee, three year paint warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Assistance which includes European breakdown cover.  The latter can be extended at minimal cost to the customer. 

CHRONOLOGY

Passat Mk I (1973 – 1980)
1973     Launch of first Passat, a modern saloon with front-wheel drive and a front-mounted inline water-cooled engine.  Choice of three petrol engines
1974     First full year of sales, 133,000 units sold
1976     One million units sold
1977     Facelifted version launched
1978     1.5-litre diesel engine with 50 PS available in Passat
1980     2.6 million units sold by November when new generation launched

Passat Mk II (1980 – 1988)
1980     Second generation launched in November; featuring new, innovative compound-arm rear axle.  From introduction Passat available with its first five-cylinder petrol engine with 115 PS
1982     First turbo diesel engine available in Passat with 70 PS
Debut of Santana – a four door version of Passat
1985     Second generation facelift
            Three million Passats sold
1987     Four million sales reached by March

Passat Mk III (1988 – 1993)
1988     Third generation of Passat launched featuring a considerably longer wheelbase, and transverse engines
1990     Five million Passats have been produced
1991     2.8-litre VR6 174 PS introduced

Passat Mk IV (1993 – 1996)                                                     
1993      Launch of fourth generation Passat with classic radiator grille, driver and front passenger airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and ABS

Passat Mk V (1996 – 2005) 
1996     Fifth generation Passat launched featuring galvanised bodywork with highly rigid body, four-arm front axle and standard side airbags.  Sets new standards in its class for quality and desirability
1999     Arrival of TDI PD (Pumpe Düse) high-pressure diesel engines
2001      The model is facelifted, now offering option of curtain airbags
12 millionth Passat produced at the Volkswagen plant in Emden

Passat Mk VI (2005 – 2010) 
2005     The new sixth generation Passat unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show
            Launch of Passat in Germany, March 2005 
            UK launch date June 2005
            November sees launch of Estate model
2008     The Passat R36 saloon and estate models are launched in May
2009     Range streamlined to include S, R Line and Highline

Passat Mk VII (2010 – now) 
2010     Seventh generation unveiled at Paris Motor Show, September
            On sale in Europe from October
            UK Retailers open for order in October
2011     First deliveries from 4 January

(ends)

NewPassat 1210/KT/af/sw

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