Volkswagen has taken the wraps off the new Passat (above) ahead of its official unveiling at the Paris motor show in October – and topping the list of its optional engines is the one expected to go into the updated Amarok ute.
It’s a boosted 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel that delivers 176kW and 500Nm of torque, or 44kW and 100Nm more than the 132kW/400Nm twin-turbo engine in the current double-cab Amarok in use in New Zealand.
Nothing official from VW yet but its New Zealand general manager Tom Ruddenklau says Amarok will more than likely get the new 2.0-litre unit rather than the heavier 180kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 from the mid-level Touareg SUV.
“I don’t know, I just have a gut feeling, but one thing is for sure: VW won’t want to saddle the Amarok with more weight than is necessary,” he said.
The new 2.0-litre diesel will be available in the Passat only with a new seven-speed gearbox and 4Motion all-wheel drive. What gearbox it will be mated to in the updated Amarok is not known. The current Amarok comes with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic.
The eighth-generation Passat will land in New Zealand around April/May next year with its range of engines said to be up to 20 per cent more fuel efficient than the current offerings. A plug-in hybrid version will be available for the first time, although it not known if it will be part of the line-up here.
Passat has been designed to go more upmarket, its sleeker profile and high-tech interior aimed at challenging the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, cars that have always sat above the Passat. Inside, VW has focused on improving comfort and technology, with emphasis on a new colour display system that replaces the instrument cluster.
The front end shows off Passat’s brand’s new identity, where the three-bar chrome grille merges with the swept-back headlights. At the back, two chrome exhaust pipes sit flush with the rear bumper. The car sits on a stretched version of the ubiquitous MQB platform and is 14mm lower, 12mm wider, and a teeny 2mm shorter than the current model.
The wheelbase is 79mm longer, allowing for shorter front and rear overhangs that add 33mm to the length of the cabin, where passengers sit lower to the ground for more headroom. The boot is also bigger, up by 21 litres to 586 litres. Boot space in the station wagon has been boosted even more, up 47 litres to 650 litres.
• Worldwide, VW has sold more than 23 million Passats in the 41 years it has been on the market.