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Volkswagen aims to beat the ‘BBQ barrier’ with its new Passat

on June 4 2015 | in Highlights, Industry news, Latest news | by | with Comments Off

The new Volkswagen Passat range goes into a segment of the new car market in New Zealand that is getting smaller all the time, squeezed on all sides by segments in which Volkswagen itself has helped make bigger. The Passat sedan and wagon are mid-sized B-segment models. Sales demand for B-segment stuff is slowing. Sedans over the past three years fell 10 per cent; wagon variants fell 20 per cent. Last year, sedan sales slipped an average of 10 a week on 2012; same-segment wagons slumped by around 12 sales a week. Why? The B-segment has been affected mostly by the growth of smaller cars and the extraordinary growth of SUVs. Carmakers are building SUVs all over the place. Indeed VW itself will introduce six new crossover/SUVs over the next three years. Some of its small cars will morph into small crossover/SUVs, like the T-Roc pictured here.

VW T-Roc will land in NZ in 2018

VW T-Roc will land in NZ in 2018

Customers want SUVs. The VW Group’s premium arm Audi reckons roughly 50 per cent of its overall production by 2020 will be SUVs. The trend away from mid-sized sedans and wagons will continue, although the segment is expected to find a self-sustaining level. Keeping it breathing will be niche models like the Subaru Outback, the most popular B-segment wagon over the past three years. The fleet-friendly Mazda6 and Ford Mondeo will help shore up the segment, too. There is evidence already that premium offerings from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi are taking up the slack. So where to for the eighth-generation Passat variants? VW says it is going fishing in a bigger pond, throwing bait into the premium sector. It believes the new range offers all things to all people, that Passat is good enough to compete against loftier B-segment sedan models like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series and wagons like the Audi A4 Avant variants and 3-Series Touring. It reckons, also, that Passat might tempt long-time Holden and Ford owners away from whatever Holden and Ford ultimately dish up to replace Commodore and Falcon. Meantime, Ford’s Insignia is also on VW’s radar. So too the top-end Toyota Camry.
Volkswagen unveiled what it called the Golf R 400 at a motor show in China last year – now it is readying it for production . The most powerful Golf yet is pictured here undergoing final tests at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany. It is called the R 400 because its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine is good for around 400bhp, or 300kW. That’s roughly 80kW more than the Golf R delivers. The actual production model could produce even more. VW Group powertrain chief Heinz Jakob-Neusser has hinted that it could deliver around 420bhp, or 313kW, roughly 92kW more than the Golf R. That would make it the most power-dense 2.0-litre production engine on the planet. What Jakob-Neusser hasn’t hinted at is what gearbox the Golf R 400 will use to channel all that power to all four wheels. It is almost certain to be a seven-speed DSG unit rated to cope with a maximum 500Nm of torque – the seven-speed ‘box in the current Golf R is comfortable with 380Nm.

Volkswagen unveiled what it called the Golf R 400 at a motor show in China last year – now it is readying it for production. The most viagra vs cialis vs levitra

powerful Golf yet is pictured here undergoing final tests at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany. It rides lower than the Golf R and has a rear wing and larger wheels. It is called the R 400 because its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine is good for around 400bhp, or 300kW. That’s roughly 80kW more than the Golf R delivers. The actual production model could produce even more. VW Group powertrain chief Heinz http://cialis-canada-pharma.com/ed-treatment-with-cialis.html

Jakob-Neusser has hinted that it could deliver around 420bhp, or 313kW, roughly 92kW more than the Golf R. That would make it the most power-dense 2.0-litre production engine on the planet. What Jakob-Neusser hasn’t hinted at is what gearbox the Golf R 400 will use to channel all that power to all four wheels. It is almost certain to be a seven-speed DSG unit rated for a maximum 500Nm of torque – the seven-speed ‘box in the current Golf R is comfortable with 380Nm.

But first it has to continue to battle the “BBQ barrier.” It is a home-grown measure of sorts that says when Kiwi blokes get around a BBQ to talk cars, they don’t much talk about VW. Why? Because of a perception that VW parts and servicing costs too much. VW believes it’s a thing against Euro cars. So to effect a change in BBQ blokes’ choice of topics, VW general manager Tom Ruddenklau has launched on the VW website a six-year “transparent” service plan, a guide to what being a VW owner will cost. “It’s starting to hit home with hits,” he said. Once, a VW part was available only 40-50 per cent of the time. VW owners had to sit on their hands. These days, says Ruddenklau, “93 per cent of the time” the part will be in the warehouse near Auckland airport. Not that the new Passat should need parts anytime soon. The range comprises 14 models made up of seven sedans and seven wagons in four specification levels – Comfortline, Highline, R-Line, R-Line plus – and priced between $45,750 and $69,990. The first eight – four sedans, four wagons – are on sale now, six powered by a turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol engine delivering 132kW/250Nm to the front wheels via a seven-speed gearbox, and two by a twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel putting 176kW/500Nm through all four wheels via the same seven-speeder and VW’s 4Motion system. VW claims fuel use of 5.8 litres/100km (49mpg) for the Euro5-rated petrol engine and 5.4 litres/100km (52mpg) for the Euro6-rated diesel. Arriving in October are six more Passats, four using a turbocharged 2.0-litre 140kW/400Nm diesel and two a 2.0-litre 206kW petrol unit, the same turbocharged engine found in the 4Motion Golf R. Next January, the 140kW/400Nm oil-burning and higher-riding 4Motion Passat Alltrack wagon arrives. No word on price yet but VW will aim it squarely against the diesel 110kW/350Nm Subaru Outback. Price will be critical and Alltrack will have to be especially good to dent Outback sales. The new Passat is codenamed the B8; the model it replaces is the B7, VW’s best selling model worldwide in 2013, the year before the B8 came along in Europe. The B8 sits on VW’s flexible MQB platform, the base for many of the carmaker’s models. It is 5mm shorter overall than the outgoing B7, but its wheelbase is 79mm longer, a dimension that frees up more interior room, particularly in the rear where head room is up by 27mm and knee room by 40mm. The exterior look of the B8 Passat is more sculptured than the B7, with defining design cues up front and at the rear. But it isn’t as fussy on the inside, which is typically uncluttered and practical. Standard equipment includes Uncle Tom Cobbley and cialis online

all. Other stuff optional on Comfortline and Highline is standard on R-Line and R-Line plus.  

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About the Author:

Alastair Sloane has been a newspaper journalist for more than 40 years. He was the motoring editor of the New Zealand Herald for 16 years from 1996 until 2012. He owns a 1968 VW Beetle. Best days at the wheel include doing part of the Land Rover Camel Trophy route in Papua New Guinea, driving a Nissan Patrol over earthquake-hit roads in Guatemala, and a Ferrari Italia on Enzo’s old hill-climb road in Italy.

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