Caught in the Rain: Next-Generation Volkswagen Passat Spied Testing

We here in the U.S. are slated to get what Volkswagen is calling its “New Midsize Sedan,” but other markets will receive a different Passat successor. That appears to be what Motor Trend’s spy photographers recently caught testing.

The photos of this VW were captured somewhere in the Alps, where the car was undergoing foul weather testing. We’re pretty sure it’s the Passat and not the NMS, as the prototype closely follows the profile of the current car. Early rumors suggested that the next Passat would be a facelift rather than an all-new car (similar to the tactic VW employed when revamping its Golf range in 2010), and the test mule shown here seems to confirm that idea.

What can’t be seen underneath all the camouflage is the new VW corporate grille, like that used on the Golf, Scirocco, Touareg, and the revamped Phaeton. LEDs aren’t visible to the eye in these photos, but we expect them to be used within the headlamps and taillights — as is the case on the Phaeton.

VW is reportedly planning a whole slew of engine offerings, but in the name of fuel economy, all will likely be four-cylinder designs. The top engine may be an upgraded version of VW’s venerable turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, and may possibly return VR6-like performance if engineers are able to put the new Passat on a diet. VW’s 2.0-liter turbo-diesel TDI I-4 will also return, as will a number of smaller diesel and gasoline offerings designed expressly for European markets. A hybrid model may be in the works, but won’t likely appear until an all-new Passat emerges in 2015.

The next-gen Passat should launch this October at the Paris motor show. We won’t likely see it on this side of the Atlantic, however, as VW is preparing its NMS, which may launch early next year, possibly at the Detroit auto show.

Source: Motor Trend