To accompany next year’s sleek, Passat-based, four-door “coupe”, Volkswagen will add a low-roofed wagon model in 2009. Neither will wear the Passat name, however, as VW will attempt to position them one rung above their more mundane donor car.
The wagon takes the packaging and the design theme of the Dodge Magnum–a reflection of former VW product guru Wolfgang Bernhard’s time at the Chrysler Group. Compared with the standard Passat wagon, the premium model has a lower roofline, a wider stance, and a less upright tailgate. In addition, the seating height is lower and the buckets will offer heating, ventilation, and massage functions, along with inflatable g-force-compensating cushions. The center console extends all the way through the cabin. Despite a low roofline, the wagon’s cargo bay accommodates 21 cubic feet of stuff.
Engine choices will include a 200-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four and a high-performance version of the 3.6-liter VR6, which will develop nearly 300 hp, paired with either a six-speed manual or an improved, seven-speed twin-clutch DSG. Prices have not yet been determined, but one insider claims that the Magnum-esque VW will cost only about $2000 more than a comparable Passat wagon.