A completely new look styled by Klaus Bischoff (head of design, Volkswagen) and Walter de Silva (head of design, Volkswagen Group) establishes a fresh direction for the Passat saloon and Estate with clean surfaces and an elegant yet imposing stance. The front of the car, dominated by a new grille element with prominent horizontal chrome fins, features striking heavily contoured headlight units, set into which are LED running lights. At the rear a set of distinctive tail lights is joined by subtle chrome highlights that extend down the side of the car. Every body panel apart from the roof is new.
The fresh look continues inside the seventh generation Passat with new seats that can be specified to both heat and cool their occupants and even feature a massage function for the driver and front seat passenger. A revised dashboard with new dials, trim finishes and an analogue clock are joined by subtle chrome inserts and the option of ambience lighting similar to that found in the Phaeton. The centre console has also been uprated with revisions to the minor controls as well as new door trims.
Powering the new Passat is a range of petrol and diesel engines. The petrol line-up comprises a 1.4-litre TSI engine developing 122 PS, a 1.8-litre TSI unit with 160 PS, a 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS engine and a range-topping 3.6-litre V6 producing 300 PS.
The diesel range starts with the most efficient engine, the 1.6-litre TDI unit producing 105 PS. Equipped with this engine and the BlueMotion package of changes including aerodynamic modifications, Stop/Start and battery regeneration, the new Passat can achieve a combined 68.8 mpg while emitting just 109 g/km of CO2. This equates to a theoretical range of over 1,000 miles on a single tank of diesel. Joining the 1.6-litre TDI is a 2.0-litre TDI engine available in two power outputs (140 PS and 170 PS). Each of the engine ranges can be specified with a choice of manual or DSG gearboxes.
The optional new City emergency braking function, a part of the Automatic Distance Control (ADC) system, automatically engages the brakes at speeds below 18 mph should an unavoidable collision be sensed by the vehicle. The system is also able to accelerate the vehicle automatically should it detect an imminent rear end collision providing the vehicle sees a clear space ahead.
In addition, the new Passat can be fitted with an automatic fatigue detection system that monitors the driver's inputs and automatically emits an audible and visual warning to recommend a break if required.
Both the saloon and Estate models are due to go on sale in the UK around the middle of October at which time pricing and specification details will be announced. First customer deliveries will take place in early January 2011.