The new Volkswagen Passat sedan has broken cover, but it’s not likely to show up on our shores anytime soon, as this redesign is for the European-spec model which has little to do with the U.S.-spec Passat produced at the company’s plant in Chattanooga, TN.
With the introduction of the seventh-generation Volkswagen Passat in the U.S. in 2012, Volkswagen differentiated the European and North American versions of the company’s midsize sedan by creating a new, larger sedan meant to appeal to “American tastes” in a bid to increase sales. As opposed to that American Passat which rides on a platform called NMS (New Midsize Sedan), this new European Volkswagen Passat rides on the new Volkswagen MQB platform that also underpins the new Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3. Volkswagen says the American Passat will eventually migrate over to this architecture for the next generation, but we’re still waiting for a mid-cycle refresh of the current Passat so the next generation isn’t likely to debut until 2016 at the earliest.
Thanks to its new platform, the European Volkswagen Passat sheds weight compared with its predecessor, making for better fuel economy regardless of engine choice. And there are a lot of choices—Volkswagen offers 10 powertrains covering a range of gasoline, diesel, and plug-in hybrid versions. This Passat plug-in combines a turbocharged gasoline engine with an 85-kilowatt electric motor and a high-capacity battery pack to make for a possible electric driving range of approximately 31 miles. There are also new diesel engines, including the 2.0-liter EA288 four-cylinder, and a more powerful, twin-turbo version of the same engine that makes 236 hp and comes equipped with 4Motion all-wheel drive.
Available in sedan and wagon bodystyles like before, the new European Volkswagen Passat doesn’t make a radical change looks-wise, but does move more upscale than before with its clean lines and more athletic proportions. Volkswagen is also touting the many new tech features now offered on the Passat, from a heads up display to a new infotainment system to active safety features like city emergency braking.
The new European Volkswagen Passat goes on sale this week in Europe, so check out the gallery below to see what we Americans are missing out on.