Volkswagen Passat Performance Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show

  • Looks like: A normal Passat with — really, just a normal Passat
  • Defining characteristics: 250-hp, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, 19-inch wheels, lowered suspension
  • Ridiculous features: Nothing at all
  • Chance of being mass-produced: Possible considering the Passat's popularity

The 2013 Volkswagen Passat is near and dear to us as comfy and spacious and even ultra-efficient in TDI diesel models. Fun to drive doesn’t exactly describe the current Passat, but it looks like Volkswagen is aiming to add a little high-performance flair to the midsize sedan with a Passat Performance Concept at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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Under the hood is a new 250-horsepower, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that’s not currently available in any U.S.-specific Passats. Volkswagen says the engine is already available — and popular — in the European and Asian markets. The concept’s engine pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission. Even though the current 3.6-liter V-6 makes more horsepower, a turbocharged engine often adds a fun-to-drive factor despite its less power.

Channeling the turbocharged power to the ground is a lowered sport suspension to enhance handling. The Passat Performance Concept also features a dual exhaust system, 19-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights with adaptive lighting and carbon-fiber-like highlights on the dashboard, side mirrors and seating surfaces.

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Road Test Editor Joe Bruzek covers’s short-and long-term fleet of test cars and drives a 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.  Email Joe