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Volkswagen Passat

B6 Passat

1 Mar 2006

VW abandoned Audi’s A4 platform for its fifth-generation German family car.

Stylistically it’s all-change. Gone is the sedan’s harmonious geometric form, that’s been such a hallmark of the existing B5, for a larger (and perhaps more faddish) crisp-edged visage.

The B6 Passat’s base is a substantially reworked variation of the Golf V platform, dubbed PQ46 for this application.

The resulting east-west engine installation instead of the B5 car’s longitudinal layout has given VW a new impetus for improving packaging, since it’s a more compact arrangement. The cab-forward shape also contributes.

Combined with an upsize in every direction, it liberates space for passengers, while the boot’s boundaries have burst by 90 litres to 565 litres.

Taking the transverse engine route also means that a very different drivetrain package is now presented for new Passat punters.

Unlike the current Passat, the B6 ditches Audi’s ‘quattro’ Torsen differential all-wheel drive system for the Haldex multi-plate clutch set-up.

Also barred in the B6 are the old car’s Audi-derived longitudinal 2.3 V5, 2.8 V6 and (unseen locally) 3.0 TDI V6 torque monster, for four Golf-derived petrol units and three diesels.

Of interest locally is the 110kW 2.0 FSI (VW-speak for direct petrol injection) four-cylinder and its 147kW turbocharged TFSI sibling.

A 3.2-litre narrow-angle FSI V6 engine will also be announced shortly, and is thought to offer 188kW of power and 330Nm of torque.

There are two automatic gearboxes available depending on which engine is chosen – a regular torque converter six-speed Tiptronic and the twin-clutch DSG gearbox (a bonus of the transverse drivetrain) for diesels and the V6.

Like its accomplished Golf sibling, the B6 brings a new rear axle with multi-link wishbone rear suspension to the party. Aluminium components for the McPherson front axle result in a 13.3kg weight drop there.

A variation of the electro-mechanical speed-dependent Servotronic rack and pinion steering (which on some models work with the improved headlights to help them swivel 15 degrees for a wider arc of vision)VOLKSWAGEN introduced an upgraded TDI turbo-diesel engine for its Passat sedan and wagon range in mid-2007, as part of an overall model realignment.

Pricing starts from $44,990 – an increase of $2000 for the sedan - and the revised direct injection turbo-diesel engine produces 125kW of power and 360Nm of torque (up 23kW and 40Nm respectively).

Performance gains are the result of computer re-mapping on the 2.0-litre TDI engine and, with redesigned alloy wheels and one additional colour, the updated Passat TDI will be available from the third-quarter of this year.

endsIn July 2008 the R36 arrived, becoming VW’s fastest car in Australia.

It features a narrow-angle (10.6 degree V-bank) 3.6-litre VR6 petrol engine that delivers 220kW of power at 6600rpm and 350Nm of torque between 2400 and 5300rpm.

Mated exclusively to VW’ DSG Direct Shift Gearbox dual-clutch transmission, the R36 sedan sprints to 100km/h from zero in 5.6 seconds (wagon: 5.8s), and is electronically speed limited to 250km/h.

On the flipside, it emits 254g/km of carbon dioxide, while returning 10.7 litres per 100km in the combined average cycle.

As with the closely related Golf V R32, this is essentially a front-wheel drive vehicle until slippage of all sorts is detected, in which case torque is redirected to all four wheels via a Swedish Haldex part-time system. VW dubs its AWD cars 4-MOTION.

The R32 is some 25mm lower to the ground than its regular Passat counterparts, and features a ‘sports’ suspension package with firmer dampers, revised springs, and 18-inch wide wheels and tyres of a unique design.

Brakes are via ventilated discs all round, with the fronts measuring 345mm in diameter up front and 310mm in the rear.

To recap, the Passat’s extended Golf V platform features MacPherson struts up front, a multi-link rear axle, and an electro-mechanical speed-dependent Servotronic rack and pinion steering set-up.

Stylistic modifications include a specially designed ‘R’ bumper with slatted vent louvers, a matt chrome finish for the grille, colour-coded wheel arch extensions and bi Xenon high intensity discharge headlights with cornering technology.

A new rear spoiler, side sill extensions, chromed dual exhaust pipes, smoked tail-lights, and a redesigned rear bumper complete the R36’s exterior makeover.

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