Sunday, January 9, 2011

Born in the USA: 2012 VW Passat, Previously known as NMS, Revealed Ahead of Detroit Show


Volkswagen has finally lifted the covers of its New Midsize Sedan [NMS], and it's name is... Passat. In other words, the Wolfsburg-based carmaker chose to retain the Passat name for its new mid size sedan model, which has been specifically developed for the North American market and will be built at the firm's new US plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The four-door saloon model will be launched in the States in mid-August with an entry-level price in the US$20,000 range, according to the company. Final prices will be announced in March. "There is hardly any other saloon of this size (exactly 191.7 inches or 4,868 mm long) that offers such high technology and quality at a comparable price," said Volkswagen in a statement.

As previously mentioned, the new, U.S. market Passat has a length of 191.7 inches (4,868 mm). Its wheelbase is 110.4 inches (2,803 mm) and its width is 72.2 inches (1,835 mm), meaning its size has increased in all three dimensions compared to the previous model. This should translate to increased passenger space over the same-name model it replaces.

The sedan's exterior styling draws its inspiration from the recently launched Jetta, and not from the refreshed, European market, Passat - not that there's a huge difference... Not surprisingly, the interior also looks similar to the Jetta, albeit with more upscale trim.

According to the German automaker, the car’s technology and styling came from Germany, while Volkswagen of America provided the conceptual direction.

Talking about technology (or the lack it...), the entry-level Passat will be offered in the States with VW's familiar 2.5-liter five-cylinder motor producing 170-horsepower, while returning an estimated 31mpg on the highway.

Other engine options will include a more frugal Clean Diesel (TDI) with 140HP and a highway fuel economy of 43mpg, and a six-cylinder petrol engine, the 3.6-liter VR6 with 280-horsepower, which is paired with a standard dual clutch transmission (DSG), returning 28mpg on the highway and completing the 0-60mph sprint in 6.5 seconds.

Buyers in the U.S. will have a choice of three equipment lines: S, SE and SEL. The base version will come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, ESP, ABS with braking assistant, Hill Climb Assist (with manual transmission and DSG), and six airbags

Other standard features include electric windows all round, air conditioning, insulating glass, an analogue clock in the center of the instrument panel, cruise control, outside temperature display with frost warning, radio-CD system (MP3-capable, plus external audio input) and a Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone system (with voice activation).


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