|The new Volkswagen Passat. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen unveiled the eight-generation Passat (earlier post) at the Volkswagen Design Centre in Potsdam. The new Passat made its global debut with new engines, less weight and with the latest assistance, Infotainment and convenience systems. The new Passat delivers improved fuel efficiency (up to 20%); diesel and gasoline powertrains; up to 85 kg less weight, and a plug-in hybrid option. At 1.1 million units a year (2013) Passat is the Volkswagen Group’s model series with the highest volume sold world-wide.
The new Passat will be available with 10 direct injection turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines—all new to the model range—covering a power range from 88 kW / 120 PS (118 hp) to 206 kW / 280 PS (276 hp). The engines all meet Euro 6 emission standards and both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions were lowered by up to 20%. All versions are equipped with a stop-start system and a regenerative braking mode. A dual clutch gearbox (DSG) is available as an option for all engine versions, and it is standard with the top engine.
For the first time, the Passat will also be offered with a plug-in hybrid drive: 115 kW (154 hp) TSI gasoline engine plus 80 kW electric motor and externally chargeable battery). With a system power output of 155 kW / 211 PS (208 hp) it will be Volkswagen’s most powerful plug-in hybrid and features an all-electric range of 50 km (31 miles). Its hybrid fuel consumption and emission figures are similar to the figures achieved by the plug-in hybrid Golf GTE (Golf GTE: 1.5 l/100 in the NEDC and 35 g CO2/km). (Earlier post.)
The TSI gasoline engines begin at a power output of 92 kW / 125 PS (123 hp). At the next power level, there is a 110 kW / 150 PS (148 hp) TSI with active cylinder management; the turbocharged 1.4-liter direct injection engine has a fuel consumption figure of 4.9 l/100 km (48 mpg US) equating to 115 g/km CO2—1.3 l/100 less than the comparable previous model.
Other power output levels are: 132 kW / 180 PS (177 hp); 162 kW / 220 PS (217 hp); and 206 kW / 280 PS (276 hp). All of the TSI engines can be ordered with a dual clutch gearbox. DSG is standard in models with 220 PS, 280 PS and in the Passat with a plug-in hybrid drive.
A technical highlight in the diesel range is the most powerful four-cylinder turbodiesel direct injection engine (TDI) ever offered by Volkswagen: a new 2.0-liter bi-turbo engine with 176 kW / 240 PS (236 hp), which consumes 5.3 l/100 (44.4 mpg US) equating to 139 g/km CO2. With this engine, the sedan reaches a top speed of 240 km/h (149 mph); in the wagon it is 238 km/h (148 mph). Due to its high maximum torque of 500 N·m (398 lb-ft), the 240 PS Passat will be equipped with a 4MOTION all-wheel drive system and a 7-speed DSG.
Assistance and convenience systems. New assistance, infotainment and convenience systems make individual mobility more sustainable, networked and communicative; they also play an active role in the driving process and make it even safer. Technologies include—along with the Active Info Display and Head-Up display—systems such as an app-based Rear Seat Entertainment system for table computers; Front Assist plus City Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring and three new global innovations: Emergency Assist (stops vehicle in emergency); Trailer Assist (assisted maneuvering with a trailer); and Traffic Assist.
Area View. The camera-based Area View, which gives the driver a view of the car’s surroundings, made its premiere in the Touareg in 2010. The system was developed to enable a 360-degree overview of the near surroundings and the traffic situation. The system was significantly advanced for the new Passat. Volkswagen is implementing the new generation of Area View for the first time in the Passat. The system is distinguished by extended functional features, higher camera resolution, obstacle detection and new 3D bird's eye view perspectives.
Park Assist. Park Assist enables semi-automatic parking in parking spaces parallel or perpendicular to the road. It can also back the car out of parallel parking spaces. With perpendicular parking spaces, the system not only assists in parking the car in reverse; it can also semi-automatically park in a forward direction.
Trailer Assist. Driving in reverse with a trailer is a challenge even for drivers who are experienced in this. Volkswagen is the first carmaker to market an assistance system that makes maneuvering a trailer easier: Trailer Assist. To back a trailer into an entryway from the street, all the driver needs to do is stop at a suitable spot and engage reverse gear. The system is activated by pushing a button. Then the current driving angle and possible driving angles are displayed in the instrument cluster. This is done by processing data from the rear view camera via image processing algorithms that evaluate the observed pivot angle of the trailer.
In this assistant, the mirror adjustment switch serves as a sort of joystick, and the driver can use it to adjust the desired driving direction of the car-trailer combination. The Passat follows the steering commands given by the driver via the mirror adjustment switch, and the driver only needs to operate the accelerator pedal and the brakes. The driving direction of the Passat is set by automatic control of the electromechanical servo steering system. It is always possible to make a correction via the mirror adjustment control.
Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert. This system can make a contribution towards avoiding serious accidents, in two situations in particular. First, on the highway, it detects quickly overtaking vehicles and slow vehicles in the blind spot, warns the driver and thereby makes overtaking safer. If the camera-based Lane Assist is installed in addition to Side Assist, the system responds to a steering movement towards the hazardous side with a warning stage (even of the turn indicator is not set), and the vehicle actively countersteers when a lane change is initiated.
Rear Traffic Alert also aids backing out of parking spaces perpendicular to the roadway in reverse. The radar-based sensor module detects vehicles that are approaching from the side. In case of an imminent collision, Rear Traffic Alert first outputs a visual warning then an acoustic warning. If the driver ignores the hazard, and there is high risk of collision, Rear Traffic Alert automatically initiates a brake intervention.
Traffic Assist. Volkswagen developed its Traffic Assist based on Lane Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). The system makes driving in traffic jams or stop-and-go traffic much more comfortable. The foundation for the system is an adaptive lane tracking function at speeds below 60 km/h (37 mph). The system not only makes countersteering corrections when the car is leaving the lane; rather, Lane Assist continually keeps the Passat in the center of the lane by means of adaptive lane tracking.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is another assistance system that is integrated in Traffic Assist. When ACC is active it automatically handles braking and accelerator pedal including at stop-and-go traffic speeds. ACC and Lane Assist merge to form Traffic Assist: The system enables assisted transverse and longitudinal tracking. The car automatically steers, accelerates and brakes, but under the condition that drivers keep their hands on the steering wheel and participate in steering, so that they can intervene at any time.
Emergency Assist. Another system in which Lane Assist and ACC merge to create a new assistance system is Emergency Assist: as soon as the sensors detect that the driver is not exhibiting any steering, braking or acceleration activities, the system initiates various escalation stages of arousing the driver awake, and if the driver is still inactive it initiates an emergency stop. The hazard lights unit is automatically activated, and the Passat executes a slight steering maneuver to make surrounding traffic aware of the hazardous situation.
ACC prevents the vehicle from colliding with traffic ahead. Emergency Assist from Volkswagen is the first system of its kind. Moreover, in any Passat with an integrated mobile phone interface, the “Euro emergency phone number 112” can be called via “SOS emergency call” over the infotainment system, to place a call to an emergency response dispatcher in case of an emergency. This requires a phone coupled to the infotainment system via Bluetooth or an active SIM card in the “Premium” mobile phone interface.
Front Assist with City Emergency Braking. Front Assist is a system for warning and automatic braking in case of an imminent collision. One system component of Front Assist is City Emergency Braking. While Front Assist warns of insufficient space to vehicles ahead in traffic and frontal collision hazards at higher speeds and automatically brakes the vehicle if necessary, the City Emergency Braking function performs this role in urban traffic. Until now, the Emergency Braking system could only detect vehicles. In the new Passat, the more advanced system also recognizes pedestrians for the first time. Front Assist with City Emergency Braking is another example of democratization of driver assistance systems, because Volkswagen already offers this technology as standard from the Passat Comfortline.
Progressive steering. Progressive steering lets the Passat driver steer with smaller steering wheel inputs and fewer turns of the steering wheel to achieve a desired bend radius in turning. This means that the driver does not have to reach over the steering wheel as much in tight turns. In the new Passat, progressive steering is being offered in combination with a sport chassis or dynamic chassis control (DCC).
With progressive steering, it takes 2.1 turns of the steering wheel to reach the end position; without the optional system it is 2.75 turns. Progressive steering enables more precise and relaxed driving in the middle steering angles up to high speeds. On country roads with lots of bends, and when making turns, the driver experiences a plus in dynamics due to the more direct layout. At slow speeds, such as in the city or in parking, the Passat offers significantly easier handling thanks to the small steering inputs that are required.
Easy Close. Easy Open—the counterpart of Easy Close—was introduced in the seventh-generation Passat Estate in 2010. If the car is equipped with Keyless Access (automatic locking and engine starting system), a purposeful movement of the foot at the back of the vehicle is all that is needed to open the trunk. The human-machine interface here is a proximity sensor near the bumper, which detects the virtual kick movement.
In the eighth-generation Passat Estate this automatic boot lid opening function is now being supplemented by the Easy Close closing function. The trunk lid does not close until the person with the Passat key moves away from the back of the car; this gives the person an opportunity to conveniently remove luggage or shopping goods. The vehicle is also locked automatically. The closing function is activated by a double button in the boot lid.
Advance sales in Europe for the new Passat begin on Thursday, 10 July. Prices start from €25,875 (US$35,216).