BY: IOL Motoring Staff
Wolfsburg - Volkswagen has revealed the first technical details of the all-new Passat Sedan and Estate; further details and the first official pictures will be released early in July, ahead of the car's public unveiling at the Paris Motor Show in October.
Sales in Europe will start before the end of the year, with first deliveries expected in early 2015; Volkswagen SA says the new Passat will be released in South Africa during the second half of the year.
The eighth-generation Passat, VW says, is up to 85kg lighter than its predecessor, thanks to the use of advanced materials, including high-strength, hot-formed steel and aluminium in certain areas; despite exterior dimensions that are actually marginally smaller than those of the previous Passat, interior space is improved, with more leg- and head-room, as well as increased luggage space.
Leading a new range of engines is a four-cylinder, two-litre, bi-turbo diesel delivering 177kW and a muscular 500Nm from 1750rpm. This engine will be available only with a new seven-speed DSG gearbox and 4Motion all-wheel drive.
There will also be a plug-in hybrid Passat with potential to travel 50km on battery power alone, and with a potential maximum range of about 960km - although we're unlikely to find out whether these two 'halo' models will be offered in South Africa until after the Paris show.
What will be featured in SA-market Passats however, is the Active Info Display, which replaces the instrument cluster with a fully configurable interactive, 12.3” liquid-crystal display. Also on offer will be a head-up display, a new modular infotainment system that includes the Car-Net remote app, an improved all-round area-view function and the latest generation of park assist.
This now includes the option for the car to park itself forwards into perpendicular spaces - useful, for example, in supermarket car parks, where access to the boot is important. It also includes what Wolfsburg claims as the world's first trailer assist, which provides assistance when reversing a vehicle with a trailer attached - without the need for any modification to the trailer.
Headlights are either halogen or LED, with LED tail lights across the range; one of the two LED headlight options automatically adjusts the beam for maximum illumination of the road without dazzling oncoming traffic.
More safety technology includes side assist with rear traffic alert, traffic-jam assist to make stop-go driving more comfortable, emergency assist, which can potentially bring the car to a dead stop if the driver is incapacitated - and the latest front assist system with emergency braking, which combines radar and camera sensors to aid pedestrian detection.