Competes with: Sportier models of the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Kia Optima, Mazda6 and Toyota Camry
Looks like: A mash-up of the Passat R-Line model with hints of a Golf GTI
Drivetrain: 280-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine mated to six-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters
Hits dealerships: Spring 2018
Volkswagen is adding a sportier version of its very good but sedate Passat mid-size sedan for 2018. The Passat GT combines V-6 power with some of the more aggressive styling the Passat R-Line trim level and a dash of cues from the Golf GTI.
Related: More 2018 Detroit Auto Show Coverage
Until now with the Passat, you had to choose either show or go. You could look sportier with the Passat R-Line trim level — an appearance package offered only with the base 174-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter — or you could have the 280-hp V-6, but only in the conservatively upscale SEL Premium top trim level.
The GT combines the sportier show and V-6 go — and splits the difference in sticker price to start at $29,940 (all prices include the destination charge). The Passat R-Line starts at $25,845 and the loaded V-6 SEL Premium starts at $35,500.
The production GT looks very close to the Passat GT Concept that VW displayed at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. It builds on the R-Line, picking up the more aggressive front bumper and adding a honeycomb grille and red accents a la VW's Golf GTI. The GT also gets a black roof, mirror caps, and window and door trim. The rear styling accents include a black spoiler, black bumper trim and a double exhaust.
LED headlights, optional on the R-Line are standard, and the GT has LED daytime running lights and blackened LED taillights. The standard wheels are 19-inch alloys, and the GT has red-painted brake calipers. The limited paint color choices are white, gray, silver and black.
The GT's interior has piano-black center-console and vent trim, carbon-fiber accents, a black headliner, aluminum GT-badged door sills and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The GT seats are black leatherette with gray inserts and contrast stitching. Standard interior features include an eight-way power driver's seat, heated front seats and dual-zone climate control.
The standard touchscreen is the Passat's larger 6.3-inch display with VW's Car-Net connectivity, smartphone integration and satellite radio capability. It has a USB port in the front and one for the rear seat.
Under the Hood
The new Passat GT will be powered by Volkswagen's 3.6-liter V-6, producing 280 hp and 258 pounds-feet of torque on regular gas. It's mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters. The V-6 Passat's EPA-rated fuel economy is 19/28/22 mpg city/highway/combined. The GT also gets a sportier suspension that's been tweaked slightly lower.
Like every 2018 Passat, the GT will come with Volkswagen's new six-year, 72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty that can be transferred to a subsequent buyer.
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