2007 Volkswagen Passat R36 Sedan and Wagon

2007 Volkswagen Passat R36 Sedan and Wagon

The fact that Volkswagen is presenting the new Passat R36 at the Essen Motor Show tells us one thing - it isn't planned for the U.S. market. That's a shame, because this is the quickest Volkswagen ever, accelerating to 62 mph in 5.6 seconds, according to its maker. We like quick.

The Passat R36 will be available as a sedan or wagon, and naturally we'd order the ultra-cool wagon, even if it is 0.2 seconds slower to 62. Either has a 300-horsepower version of the 3.6-liter narrow-angle six-cylinder, which is twenty more than it makes in the standard Passat 3.6. The R36 comes standard with VW's exclusive DSG twin-clutch transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive, and is available in the same Deep Blue Pearl paint that made its debut on the GTI-based R32.

The R36 receives an exterior makeover with R-specific bumpers, darkened LED taillights, bi-xenon headlights, a rear spoiler, matte-chrome exclusive front grille, chrome side accents, and body-colored side skirts and fender flares. R36-exclusive eighteen-inch "Omanyt" wheels carry 235/40-18 tires, and the rear end is punctuated with twin chrome exhaust tips.

Inside, the instrument cluster, now lit in white instead of blue and red, is visible through an R steering wheel, the shift lever is alumized, and the "Engine Spin" R logo is repeated on the aluminum pedals and front door thresholds. Heated sports seats are fitted all-around, with the fronts 12-way electrically adjustable.

With no mention of any suspension or brake upgrades, the R36 is more of an appearance package than anything. This comes as a bit of a surprise, since the R32 was such a thoroughly integrated package built upon the GTI.

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