Volkswagen's Passat GT Concept Is Headed to Dealerships for 2018
The concept becomes reality for Volkswagen's luxury full-size sports sedan.
Despite Volkswagen putting gobs of research into electric cars, not all is lost in its gasoline-powered Passat division. According to a Digital Trends, a Volkswagen spokesperson has confirmed the existence of a new trim to one of its long standing models. Welcome the Passat GT.
Inspired by a 2016 concept (pictured above), the GT is the younger, more athletic brother of the Passat. Its body lines are mostly the same, but it wears flashier trim, brighter badging, and has an overall edgier appearance than its sibling. The car will be heavily Americanized, something which VW has been known to do from time to time with its lineup. A quick glance of the concept looks like one smacked a Golf R's aggressive styling with the affordable comfort of Volkswagen's luxury offering, creating this mesh-hybrid of a full-size sports sedan.
"The Passat GT is an early example of how the new Volkswagen North American Region will meet the needs and desires of American customers going forward," said Chief Engineering Officer of VW's North American Region Dr. Matthias Erb.
Prospective owners can expect the same narrow-angle 3.6-liter VR6 from the existing lineup to be included in the GT. From the factory, this power plant produces 280 ponies and 258 pound-feet of torque—no word on if the VR6 will undergo performance tuning, or if the majority of the Passat's mods will be cosmetic in nature. It was noted that no all-wheel-drive option will be made available, sticking the power to the front wheels only. With a designation like GT, one might hope for a bit more oomph under the hood than the stock variant - but any such option is unclear at this time. The vehicle will offered with Volkswagen's dual-clutch automatic gearbox (DSG), but we still hold hope for a six speed manual transmission.
The Passat GT will be equipped with a lower, stiffer sport suspension which drops the ride height of the car a bit over half an inch—similar to how Volkswagen has offered the GTI a more tuned suspension over the Rabbit or Golf. Since word from the spokesperson was that the car would closely resemble the concept, the aggressive lines on the front and rear bumpers, as well as the Golf R-like fog grilles may remain. It's possible that we see an interior with more bolstered sports seats as well, as Volkswagen has historically favored tight-hugging Recaros in past models.
Volkswagen tried this once before in 1977—though the concept never made it to full-scale production. The Passat GTI was fitted with the same 110 horsepower 1.6-liter inline-four that made the GTI so popular. Its lower suspension, bigger brakes, and sporty body made for an honorary addition to the "GTI" lineup. Unfortunately, that model didn't join the ranks of the Fox GTI and fizzled by the wayside.
It's not clear when Volkswagen will officiate the announcement, though with a 2018 model year release, it can't be too far away. Though somewhat disappointing without an upgrade to power or a traditional three-pedal gearbox, we can still appreciate VW's anticipation to bring forward its full-size sedan into a sportier package. Now if only we could figure out who Volkswagen plans to sell it to—especially since it feels Tesla is coming for its market space.