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W8 wait: If you want a $100,000 Passat you'll have to wait until May 2003.

Volkswagen announces some unusual engine choices for its revised Passat range

24 Oct 2002

VOLKSWAGEN has announced a significant revsion to the lineup of its mid-sized prestige Passat lineup, as well as confirming the arrival timing of the W8-engined luxury variant.

The W8, which is starring on VW's Sydney motor show stand at the moment, will be here in May 2003, with pricing around $100,000. Standard equipment includes the first Volkswagen eight-cylinder engine, in this case laid out in a W formation.

The unusual engine - essentially two narrow angle V4s mated together - drives via a five-speed tiptronic transmission and VW's 4Motion AWD system. The engine produces 202kW at 6000rpm and 370Nm at 2750rpm, propelling the W8 to 100km/h in 7.8 seconds.

Other more conventional equipment includes alloy wheels, Bi-Xenon headlights, a plethora of airbags, satellite navigation, cruise control and a booming sound system.

Volkswagen Group Australia hopes to sell 100 W8s per annum. It sees the model as a stepping stone to the new luxury Phaeton limousine which arrives here in 2004. Before then the Touareg off-roader and the Beetle Cabrio are expected in July and August 2003 respectively.

The company is hoping for bigger sales from the rest of the range, which now includes another unusual engine arrangement - a 2.3-litre V5 engine to replace the 1.8 turbo unit - and two specification levels rather than one - S and SE, reflecting the structure of the Polo and Golf ranges.

The 2.3 V5 which is already seen in Australia in the Bora produces 125kW at 6200rpm and 220Nm at 3200rpm. The other engine in the range continues to be the 140kW 2.8 V6, available in either front-wheel drive or 4Motion.

Equipment additions include side curtain airbags, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise control buttons, a net partition for wagon models and an in-dash CD changer for V6 models.

SE is distinguished from S by the addition of 17-inch alloy wheels, electric glass sunroof and leather seats.

The V5 S kicks off the range at $49,990, then progresses through the V5 SE ($55,130), the V6 S at $55,800, the V6 SE at $60,940, the V6 4Motion S at $59,800 and the 4Motion SE for $64,940.

The only transmission choice across the range is a five-speed tiptronic auto, while the wagon is only available as a V6 S and SE. Pricing is $57,800 for the former and $62,940 for the latter.

The new pricing compares to $48,000 for the old 1.8T auto (manual was $45,900), $57,400 for the old 2.8 V6 and the 4Motion at $68,300. The old V6 wagon was $57,400.

VGA is also displaying a new 150kW 2.8-litre V6 version of the eight-seater Caravelle in Sydney, which goes on sale from November 30 with a starting price under $60,000.

The V6 model launch marks the start of a VW commercial vehicle offensive in Australia, which will include the all-new T5 Transporter range in 2004.

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