Sneak Peek: 2015 Volkswagen Passat Convertible

#VW, #Passat

If you're not crazy about the Volkswagen Eos, you're not alone. The convertible was signed off by VW's old management, and according to the company's new leaders, it combines the worst of all worlds -- a retractable hard top along with the old family face sporting a chrome grille and teardrop headlamps. For 2011, the Eos gets an overdue makeover featuring restyled head- and taillights, a new grille, revised bumpers, and a more upmarket interior. The VR6 engine option bit the dust for 2009 (the vast majority of buyers preferred the base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder), but VW will soon add a frugal TDI edition powered by its 140-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four in combination with a dual-clutch automatic transmission.

But even this revamped Eos will not live long. By 2014, the Eos is due to be replaced by the 2015 Passat convertible (a.k.a. Cabriolet) -- the only variant of the next generation that will make it to the United States. VW has decided to nix the venerable sedan from its U.S. lineup and will instead field a revamped CC and the aforementioned Cabriolet (illustrated above based on what our spies tell us) -- both minus the Passat badge -- together with next-generation 2014 Phaeton. To close the gap between the CC and the Phaeton, both models will be repositioned. While the luxury sedan moves down half a notch, the CC and the Cabriolet move up one rung.

The Passat convertible will borrow several tricks from the new Audi A5 convertible, including a power-operated soft top with a heated rear window, a pop-up rear roll bar, front seats with integrated belts, optional neck warmers, and a more efficient wind deflector. According to those in the know, the fun-in-the-sun Passat is a proper four-seater with a luggage compartment to match. It's safe to expect a brand-new exterior design and a more upmarket cockpit offering additional driver-assistance systems, improved connectivity, and more intuitive ergonomics with a one-touch controller. The current car's suspension will likely carry over in modified form. Last but not least, there will be more powerful engines, including a turbocharged four-cylinder good for about 250 hp and a twin-turbo 2.0-liter diesel rated at 220 hp, both in combination with four-wheel drive. Since the Passat is tipped to be delayed by at least months from summer 2013 to spring 2014, the droptop might be pushed back to early 2015.

Other new convertibles under preparation by VW include a softtop version of the redesigned 2011 Beetle (which we discussed at length last February) and the 2013 Golf Cabriolet. There might also be an open-air Polo built by Karmann starting in 2012, but it won't reach the U.S. market.

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