Making their debut as part of Volkswagen's fuel-efficient BlueMotion assault on Frankfurt are the midsize Passat and Passat Variant (wagon in the United States.) Like the other BlueMotion cars, Volkswagen started with the Passat TDI and tweaked it to improve fuel economy.
The gearing in the car was changed, lengthening the gears to keep engine revolutions lower. Thanks to a computer upgrade, the engine even spins slower while idling. Volkswagen also improved the aerodynamics of the Passat, by modifying the fenders and underbody of the car. Air resistance was lowered 12.2 percent for the sedan and 12.5 percent for the wagon.
A side effect of these modifications is an improved top speed. The Passat BlueMotion sedan will reach 120 miles per hour, which is 5 mph faster than the TDI version.
More impressive, however, is the fuel economy: 46 miles per gallon in the sedan and 45 mpg in the wagon, about a ten percent increase over the TDI cars. Considering that the Passat is one of the largest cars in its segment, those numbers represent quite an achievement.
The Passat BlueMotion is a practical car that manages to sip fuel without the help of expensive hybrid technology. It's too bad that Volkswagen has no plans to sell the BlueMotion cars in the U.S. - they would surely ensure that the diesel resurgence is here to stay.