The next-generation Volkswagen Passat, in a long wheelbase guise, has been spotted in China. The test mule was completely void of camouflage and seems identical to the one recently spotted testing in Europe, except for the extra 100mm of wheelbase. Internally called B8, the next-generation Passat will share much of its technology with the Golf, including the flexible MQB (Modular Transverse Matrix) architecture.
The new Passat doesn’t carry any significant cosmetic changes, though the body is now more streamlined to reduce air drag and improve efficiency. The car retains the conservative Volkswagen design language and the trademark chrome garnished grille and headlamps, which now integrate LED DRL strips. The side profile shows off flared wheel arches and a strong shoulder line with a sharp crease running across the car. The rear houses redesigned tail lamps, a bootlid spoiler and twin tailpipes integrated into the bumper.
The redesigned interiors have a premium touch and incorporate a large touch screen in the centre console and chrome accents in the dashboard. A host of driver assists will also be provided in the new Passat. The car will retain its engine lineup, though a new plug-in hybrid version, like the eGolf, might be added to the portfolio.
The 2015 Passat is most likely to be unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October and the long wheelbase version will be manufactured exclusively for the Chinese market by the FAW-VW joint venture. In India, we are likely to get the European version of the car, a few months after its international launch.
The Passat was Volkswagen’s first built-in-India model, though the sales of the car never really took off due to the high price tag and the abundant competition. With a Rs 22 lakh to 27 lakh price range, the Passat goes up against a wide range of cars right from the segment leader- the Skoda Superb to SUVs like the Audi Q3. Volkswagen will have to adopt a better marketing strategy and revise the pricing of the Passat, in order to improve its sales figures.