Surprise! Volkswagen’s “NMS” teaser is really the next generation Passat, unveiled today at the Detroit Auto Show. Like the smaller Jetta, the new Passat has been designed for America by Volkswagen in Germany. It’s the biggest Passat ever built (which says something about the EU’s perception of Americans), and it will be manufactured in VW’s new Chattanooga, TN, plant. Also like the Jetta, the new Passat is designed to have an “affordable” entry level price point; VW promises more details closer to launch, but tells us to expect a starting price around $20,000.
The new Passat will come in three trim levels (S, SE and SEL) and will offer three drivetrain options. On the entry-level side, there’s the same 2.5 liter inline five that’s used in the VW Jetta, which will be available with either a five speed manual or a six speed automatic gearbox. Oil burner fans will be happy to hear that VW is offering a TDI option for the new Passat, and VW is quick to point out that the diesel will return an estimated 43 MPG while producing power comparable to a gasoline fueled V6. The TDI will be offered with either a manual transmission or VW’s outstanding DSG dual-clutch automatic. Finally, VW hasn’t forgotten about driving enthusiasts: their 280 horsepower, 3.6 liter VR6 engine will also be available, but comes only mated to the DSG gearbox.
The exterior carries over the same design themes used in the new Jetta, but that’s a good thing. I like the car’s conservative styling and clean lines, and even the interior looks like a place I’d want to spend time. The Passat will come with VW’s new premium audio system, developed in conjunction with guitar maker Fender, which promises to bring the “raw emotion of live music to the driving experience”. Those are VW’s words, not mine, but I’m still curious to hear what an audio system tuned by the makers of the Stratocaster sounds like.
Source: Volkswagen of America