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Paris show: Tech-laden VW Passat sheds the kilos

Weight loss: More widespread use of lightweight materials such as aluminium means the 2015 Volkswagen Passat will be up to 85kg lighter than the current generation.

Lighter, more efficient eighth-gen VW Passat adds powerful new diesel engine

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Volkswagen logo27 May 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

VOLKSWAGEN'S all-important eight-generation Passat mid-sizer will be up to 85kg lighter and about 20 per cent more fuel efficient when it makes its debut at the Paris motor show in October.

The German automotive giant released technical details for its new Mazda6 competitor overnight, continuing the drip-feed of information that started with a series of sketches of the sedan and wagon range released last week that revealed VW's design direction.

Volkswagen says the weight loss is due to the use of ultra-high strength and hot-formed steels used in the Passat’s body, as well as the wider use of aluminium.

The weight of the current-generation Passat ranges from 1482kg for the 1.8-litre TSI sedan all the way up to 1738kg for the 3.6-litre V6 FSI wagon.

Advanced materials used some of the Passat's equipment, including the new air conditioner, have also contributed to overall weight loss.

Despite the reduced mass, Volkswagen says it has improved body rigidity, while the maximum towing rate for some models should increase by up to 400kg, meaning it could move as high as 1900kg.

This potentially eclipses many of the Passat's rivals, including the Mazda6 (1500kg), Subaru Outback diesel (1700kg), Ford Mondeo diesel (1600kg) and the Peugeot 508 2.2-litre diesel (1875kg).

Volkswagen has managed to reduce the exterior dimensions when compared with the current Passat, while increasing some interior dimensions including head- and legroom, as well as cargo capacity.

While the full suite of powertrains is yet to be released, Volkswagen has confirmed it will introduce its most powerful four-cylinder diesel engine which could end up under the bonnet of Australian-spec Passats when it launches here in the second half of next year.

The new bi-turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit produces 176kW and 500Nm from 1750rpm and will be matched with a standard seven-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system to handle the extra torque.

The new engine is 47kW/120Nm more powerful than the 130kW/380Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine offered in the current Passat, and outnumbers rivals including the diesel Outback (110kW/350Nm), Ford Mondeo (120kW/340Nm), Mazda6 (129kW/420Nm) and the Peugeot 508 GT HDi (150kW/450Nm).

Despite its high output, Volkswagen claims the all-new engine will use just over 5.0L/100km.

Another new powertrain for the Passat range is a plug-in hybrid consisting of a 115kW turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine combined with an 80kW electric motor and a lithium-ion battery.

Official fuel figures are yet to be released, but they are expected to be in the vicinity of the European-market Golf GTE, which sips just 1.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. The plug-in hybrid Passat will have an electric-only range of about 50km and an overall range of 1000km.

As reported by GoAuto, the new Passat will feature a configurable 12.3-inch interactive display screen which will replace the instrument cluster.

Other tech features include a head-up display, the latest generation of the Modular Infotainment System with the Car-Net remote app that piggybacks the sat-nav system off a smartphone, an improved 360-degree camera and an upgraded park assist system that can nose the vehicle into perpendicular spaces.

Volkswagen is claiming a world first for a function that helps a driver reverse a trailer in a straight line.

The eighth-generation Passat will be packed with active safety features such as a rear traffic alert, emergency braking that can stop the vehicle if the driver is incapacitated, a new version of its automated emergency braking that now uses cameras and radars to detect pedestrians, and Traffic Jam Assist with automatic braking and acceleration for stop-start city traffic.

Each Passat variant will have LED tail-lights, while the headlights will be either LED or halogen, depending on specification. The new headlights will feature an anti-dazzle function that adjusts the brightness for oncoming traffic.

Sketches released last week suggest that the new Passat will get a more exciting design than the current model that went on sale in Australia in April 2011, drawing design cues from the T-Roc concept car revealed earlier this year.

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