2011: First Look: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

By Evan McCausland - November 29, 2011
2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Front Three Quarter
The third-generation Audi A6 Allroad Quattro may still be under development, but its fraternal twin - the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack - has already been unveiled to the world.
Based off the new Passat Estate, the Passat Alltrack abides by many of the same principles Audi established for its Allroad series. All-wheel-drive? Check. Raised stance? Check. Macho dress-up kit? Check.
2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Side
Though it does without the adaptive air suspension used on the A6 Allroad, the Passat's ride height has been raised. As a result, ground clearance is increased from 5.3 inches to 6.5 inches, while approach and departure angles have increased to 13.6 and 12.8 degrees, respectively.
VW says the stainless-look front and rear skidplates serve as protective armor for underpinnings, but they - along with flared rocker sills trimmed in a similar finish - will likely serve mostly as cosmetic garnishes. Other exterior revisions, including flared wheel arches, large "snowflake" wheels, pronounced roof rails, and chunky lower bumper trim, try to lend the Passat some visual heft.
2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wheels
Predictably, the Alltrack employs Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. In most situations, 90 percent of the engine's power is sent to the front wheels, but a Haldex clutch pack can send all of that power to the rear axle. A new off-road mode not only triggers a brake-based hill descent control, but modifies the ABS programming for off-road use and adjusts the threshold of the electronic differential locks.
Whether owners will actively use the car off-road or not remains to be seen. Less uncertain are the Alltrack's chances of heading stateside. Seeing as the base Passat wagon, let alone the European-market Passat, isn't sold in North America, it seems quite unlikely this will ever reach our shores.
2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Cockpit
2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Front View

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