28 November 2016

The Passat from Volkswagen is the Group’s most successful model.
Text/Photos : Volkswagen Group Singapore
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The eighth generation Passat marks the debut of the latest version of a global bestseller. When all derivatives are included, nearly 23 million units have been built. In 2014 alone, around one million people chose to buy a model from this series. The Passat from Volkswagen is the Group’s most successful model.

Positioning and design

The new Passat’s design combines stylish clarity with a high degree of power. A design that is not simply fashionable but is contemporary. A design that is not whimsical but is expressive. A design in which every line has a purpose. A design that will leave a mark on its era.

The new Passat was created based on the modular transverse matrix – thanks to this platform, its proportions were made to be significantly more dynamic (including lower body, longer wheelbase and larger wheels) and its overall package was improved.

While preserving all of its functional virtues, the Passat has gained noticeably in presence, exclusivity and dynamism. Even at night the Passat has an unmistakable look due to its newly developed LED headlights and standard LED rear lights. In the new Passat, Volkswagen has created a sedan that crosses over into a higher class. As the most successful European business car, the Passat represents a new type of business class – a transition car between the mid- and premium classes and between the B and C segments.

Analogous to the expressive exterior is an interior that has been developed with the aesthetics, clarity and high value to match the sophisticated overall concept of the eighth-generation Passat. Based on numerous new design solutions, the interior has a more avant-garde and exclusive appearance than ever.

New assistance, infotainment and convenience systems make individual mobility more sustainable, interconnected and communicative; they also play an active role in the driving process and make it even safer.

New drivetrains

The new Passat is available with two direct injection turbocharged TSI engines. All of the drive systems are new aboard the Passat. The engines’ fuel consumption levels, and therefore their CO2 emissions as well, have been reduced by as much as 17 percent. Both the 180 PS and 220 PS models are equipped with a stop-start system and a regenerative braking mode.

Versions and equipment

At launch, four different versions of the Passat will be offered to customers in Singapore. The Passat 1.8 TSI Comfortline and 1.8 TSI Highline are both powered by the 180 PS TSI engine, with the Highline model gaining additional features including a panoramic sunroof, reversing camera and the ‘Discover Pro’ 8-inch touchscreen navigation system.

Buyers looking for an ever higher level of performance can opt for the Passat 2.0 TSI Exclusiveline, which has the 220 PS TSI engine under its bonnet. This model also gains extra equipment such as ventilated front seats, a Dynaudio sound system, Park Assist and Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC).

The most sporty Passat model available is the Passat 2.0 TSI R-Line, which has R-Line bumpers in a striking, sporty look, a distinctive front grille with R-Line logo, chrome-plated trapezoid tail pipe trim panels, side sill extensions and a black gloss diffuser. The Passat R-Line also has steering wheel paddle shifters as standard.

IN DETAIL – The exterior

Passat shows more presence, exclusivity and dynamism than ever

Volkswagen has been perfecting the Passat for over four decades. Internally, the now eight generations carry the designations B1 through B8. At Volkswagen, the B stands for the B-segment to which the Passat belongs (mid-class cars), and the number indicates the car’s generation. In retrospect, the car’s styling was primarily influenced by the B1, the original model of 1973, and all of the generations from the B5 (1996) onward.

Volkswagen introduced a paradigm shift in the Passat B5. While all previous Passat generations were balanced multi-talented cars that offered a high level of comfort, very good everyday features and above average space, with this generation the quality and design made a leap forward, positioning the Passat in the top league of its class and making it the most successful business car. This path was consistently and successfully followed up by the B6 (from 2005) and the B7 (from 2010).

In light of this history of success, Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen Head of Design, and his team asked themselves the following question as they began to work on the B8: “What do we need to do to make a global best-seller even more visually attractive?” The answer was clear: “Breathtaking proportions.” And it was precisely this that the team succeeded in achieving more systematically than ever, as an entirely new design platform was made available for the Passat for the first time: the modular transverse matrix (MQB).

Although it is almost exactly as long as the previous model, the car’s wheelbase grew by a considerable 79 mm; the front and rear wheels were made larger and are now positioned further out to the sides, making it possible to shorten the body overhangs significantly. At the same time, the Passat was made lower and wider. Because of the optimised engine orientation, it was possible to significantly lower the bonnet and shift the windscreen towards the rear. This ‘cab backward design’ with mature saloon proportions resulted in a very long bonnet look with the impression of a premium-class model.

Dimensions and design details

The Passat is 4,767 mm long and therefore 2 mm shorter than the previous model. At the same time, its wheelbase has been lengthened by the aforementioned 79 mm to 2,791 mm. The result: shorter body overhangs (67 mm less at front, 13 mm less at rear). At the same time, the car is 14 mm lower (1,456 mm) and 12 mm wider (1,832 mm). These dimensions enabled a ratio of proportions that provided ideal conditions for creating a design that was as powerful as it was exclusive.

Those encountering the new Passat for the first time will notice that the car is not a typical mid-class car based on its design; the style would also be appropriate for a car in the upper mid-class or premium class. The exclusive image of the new Passat was achieved in part by a wide variety of extremely precisely drawn edges and creases which develop individual light-reflecting surfaces. Especially distinctive in side profile is the area between the window sill (beneath the side windows) and what is known as the character line (at the height of the door handles). Here, the creases and edges in the upper area of the side panels merge to form a horizontal surface from which – viewed from front to back – the distinctive and athletic shoulder section of the Passat develops.

The new Passat is being launched with all-LED rear lights as standard. The functionality of these LED rear lights can be seen during braking: the horizontal light signature then switches to the vertically oriented brake light signature which is produced by three vertical lines. The visual effect is of a flip-flop from the horizontal tail lights to the vertical brake light signature. The visual signal change makes the brake lights more perceptible, and this increases traffic safety.

Weight reduction

The new Passat was created based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB). It exploits synergies across vehicle segments such as progress in weight reduction measures. The result: the eighth generation Passat weighs up to 85 kg less than the previous model. In the search for every possible reduction in weight, the development team left no stone unturned. The 85 kg weight reduction comes together from individual measures in five areas: chassis, power units, electrics, vehicle body and trim.

The weight of the chassis was reduced by such measures as the use of lightweight metals. The rear axle, for example, weighs 4.7 kg less and the steering system 2.2 kg less. Overall, the chassis was made up to 9 kg lighter. The engines used in the Passat weigh appreciably less than in the previous model. Total weight savings here are up to 40 kg. Aluminium makes the electrical components, electronics and thereby the overall electrical system lighter. For the first time in a Passat, aluminium was also used in the body structure. Advanced materials and a new air conditioner  lead to weight savings in the equipment area as well.

Despite the weight reduction, improvements were made in body rigidity (a gain of 2,000 Nm/degree to 30,000 Nm/degree). It is also a fact that around half of a vehicle’s fuel consumption is used to overcome sources of driving resistance – weight, air drag, rolling resistance. That makes the progress made in lowering the weight of the Passat by up to 85 kg all the more significant.

IN DETAIL – The interior

More room on an almost identical vehicle footprint

Analogous to the elaborately designed exterior, the interior designers developed an cabin with levels of aesthetics, clarity and quality matching the sophisticated overall concept of the eighth generation Passat. Due to numerous new design solutions, precisely executed details and innovative technologies, the interior is more avant-garde, distinctive and multifaceted than ever.

Dimensions, operation, design details

Although the new Passat is 2 mm shorter than the previous model, interior length has grown by 33 mm. Cargo capacity has also increased, by 21 litres to 586 litres.

The goal defined of creating a feeling of lightness and generous space in the interior was realised by the designers with a lean dashboard with a consistent horizontal structure, and the front door panels are stylistically incorporated into this design. The central design element of the dashboard is an innovative air vent that extends across the entire width of the interior like a band and is designed as a functional decorative element. So there are no separately placed air nozzles in the new Passat, rather one continuous element that is only interrupted by the instruments and the analogue clock in the middle of the dashboard – it consistently unifies form and function. The dimensions of the air vent not only affect the design of the dashboard; they also have a positive effect on climate control performance and ventilation acoustics.

The designers placed special value on a driver-oriented design and a very spacious feeling for the front interior area. Therefore, starting from the driver’s seating position, the dashboard builds upwards in the space to the two sides of the instruments, inclined slightly towards the windscreen. This creates a spacious feeling as well as an ideal ergonomic environment. Front electric seats are standard, with the 14-way adjustable ergoComfort driver’s seat providing excellent support even on very long journeys.

The centre console has an extremely clean layout, is well organised, and the controls are easy to access. The infotainment system is integrated high on the console and is easy to see. Since the console between the driver and front passenger has a sporty incline up towards the infotainment system, the gear shift gate is up high, and the gear lever falls perfectly to hand.

Infotainment systems

The new Passat is launching with the latest generation of Volkswagen infotainment systems. It facilitates an extremely high degree of connectivity in order to link up external devices. Its diverse interfaces include interfacing to smart phones and their apps via MirrorLink. In addition, the systems have been given much faster processors (optimised booting, quicker route calculation, smoother touchscreen performance, perfected language dialogues) and new higher resolution displays.

For the first time in the Passat, MirrorLink is available – it comes as standard on the 8-inch ‘Discover Pro’ navigation system. MirrorLink makes it possible to integrate numerous Android smartphone apps or functions into the infotainment system. Related apps are offered directly from Volkswagen and from third party suppliers. The system also has Wi-Fi hotspot functionality built-in, so a single internet connection can be shared by all occupants.

As a further innovation in the Passat, the ‘rubber band’ function is used in the new ‘Discover Pro’ navigation system. Just like on a tablet, the displayed route can be scrolled and varied by touching a point on the route by hand. Also as a standard feature is the ability to use speech commands to input the navigation destination, allowing the driver to keep his or her hands on the steering wheel at all times.

IN DETAIL – Running gear

EU6-compliant engines are up to 17 percent more fuel efficient

The Passat’s two TSI engines with 180 PS and 220 PS are from the EA888 engine family. They are compact, lightweight and strikingly fuel efficient, with up to 17 percent lower consumption compared to the Passat’s already efficient predecessor.

With the 180 PS TSI engine, the Passat accelerates from 0-100 km/h in only 7.9 seconds, yet consumes just 5.9 litres of petrol per 100 km in the combined driving cycle. The 220 PS model is even faster with a 0-100 km/h time of 6.7 seconds, and its consumption figure is only 6.5 L/100km.

Available for the first time on the Passat is the driving profile selector. In conjunction with DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control), a total of five programmes are available: Eco, Sport, Normal, Individual and Comfort. In the Eco driving profile, the engine controller, air conditioning and other auxiliary units are controlled for optimal fuel economy.

When the driving profile selector is set to Eco, a coasting function further reduces consumption: if the driver releases the accelerator – for example, when drawing up to traffic lights or on downhill stretches – the DSG disengages and the engine idles. This enables optimal utilisation of the Passat’s kinetic energy. The driving profile selector and DCC are fitted as standard on the Passat models with 220 PS.

The dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) on the Passat has either six or seven speeds. Besides the number of forward gears, other technical aspects differentiating the DSG versions include the clutch type. While in the seven-speed DSG two dry clutches are used, in the six-speed DSG the dual clutches run wet in an oil bath.

Chassis layout

The new Passat is equipped at the front with the latest generation McPherson-type suspension; the coil springs are integrated here with telescopic shock absorbers as a unit within the spring strut. The wheels are suspended via the spring struts and the lower wishbones with a track stabilising scrub radius.

At the rear, enhanced performance suspension – a four-link axle with independent wheel suspension – provides a high level of comfort and agile, secure handling. At both front and rear stabilisers are used. The car is equipped with a very robust brake system, including Brake Assist, ESC and an electronic parking brake; the front brake discs are internally ventilated.

Second-generation Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) is used in the new Passat. Compared to the normal chassis the vehicle body sits 10 mm lower with the DCC version. The system offers three driving modes: ‘Comfort’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’. In the ‘Sport’ mode, a very agile style of driving is implemented, while the ‘Comfort’ mode makes riding in the Passat exceptionally comfortable. Via the driver profile selector it is also possible in the ‘Individual’ profile to assign any other driving profile properties to the DCC mode.

The system adaptively controls the damper valves via an enhanced and refined Volkswagen control algorithm and thereby sets the damper characteristic. DCC utilises the input signals from wheel displacement sensors and accelerometers as well as vehicle information from the Chassis-CAN bus; in cycles of one millisecond, it uses these values to compute and adaptively adjust the optimal damping force for every driving situation. Furthermore, the damping forces selectively applied to the four wheels are individually regulated.

Park Assist

The third generation of Park Assist enables semi-automatic parking in parking spaces parallel or perpendicular to the road. It adds the new feature of semi-automatic forward parking into spaces perpendicular to the road. The wide variety of functions of Park Assist 3 provides the driver with optimum assistance in difficult traffic situations, because it makes parking faster and, for less experienced drivers, simpler.

After pressing the Park Assist button, the driver only needs to activate the accelerator pedal and brake, as Park Assist automatically steers the Passat into the parking space. The system independently detects the type of parking space and initiates the necessary manoeuvre; at the same time, the driver is informed of the operation and given instructions via the multifunction display. The driver can also make a manual selection of the desired parking space from the parking spaces that the system has automatically detected.

The basic functions of Park Assist have been further improved by the use of what is known as a surroundings map. The system has sensors in all four wheels that detect turning direction; this enables precise locating of the Passat so that it can be parked more precisely than ever.