The wraps have come off the ninth-generation Volkswagen Passat ahead of its global debut at next week's IAA Munich motor show and the shocking news is not that VW's D-segment family car will only be available as an estate this time around, but that Volkswagen Ireland does not plan to offer the car for sale on the Irish market at all. The rise in demand for electric cars - and no doubt the lack of demand for estate cars - lead to the decision to focus instead on the forthcoming Volkswagen ID.7. The ID.7 will be available as a saloon and a 'shooting brake' estate, while the Volkswagen Arteon will be an alternative for those not yet ready to go fully electric.
What are we missing out on?
With an exterior design inspired by that of the ID.7 - and in impressively low coefficient of drag of just 0.25 - the new Volkswagen Passat has grown in every direction over the car it replaces, so it promises to be even more spacious inside. Among the increases is a 50mm longer wheelbase, to the benefit of rear-seat accommodation, while the new Passat Estate's boot holds 690 litres under the luggage cover - 40 litres more than before.
Volkswagen promises a move upmarket for the Passat along with its increased dimensions and though some measures - such as acoustic glass and sound deadening - will not be visible, the new car will feature a high level of standard equipment and plenty of options usually reserved for luxury models too - such as a new generation of 'ergoActive' seats featuring electric adjustment, massaging and air conditioning.
The Passat will be packed with the latest technology, as well. Volkswagen's latest infotainment system will feature configurable 10.25-inch instrumentation in front of the driver and an angled freestanding central touchscreen measuring up to 15 inches across the diagonal. The heating and air conditioning controls are found at the base of this display, helping to streamline the design of the dashboard and centre console. That effect is furthered by the movement of the drive selector to the steering column, made possible by the lack of a manual gearbox for this generation of Passat.
Lots of powertrain options
Depending on market, the new Passat will be available with a wide range of powertrain options, including petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid power. A 48-volt mild-hybrid system is used in the 1.5-litre eTSI model making 150hp, while there's a 2.0-litre TSI option making up to 265hp when paired with 4Motion all-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is also possible with a 193hp variant of the venerable 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine, though 122- and 150hp front-wheel-drive versions are also available.
Two plug-in hybrid Passats will be made, a 204hp model and a 272hp option, both badged "eHybrid". They use a six-speed 'eDSG' transmission and a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine and send power to the front wheels only.