By on January 12, 2018

VW Passat GT

We’re going to wager you don’t often think of the words “Passat” and “GT” together in the same sentence too often, unless your military buddy who works in General Technical rocks a VW sedan as his daily whip.

You will now, though, as Volkswagen plans to introduce a production model of a concept car it showed at the L.A. Auto Show. Under the hood? A VR6 engine, displacing 3.6 liters and making 280 horsepower.

Borne out of feedback from American customers and dealers, the Passat GT adds to the Passat lineup for model year 2018, which currently ranges from a $22,995 base model S up to a $31,650 Premium trim. The GT will be priced at $29,090 sans destination.

VW Passat GT

The Passat GT’s VR6 makes its 280 horsepower at 6,200 rpm while 258 lb-ft of torque comes on tap as early as 2,500 rpm. In a fit of practicality, VW says it achieves this numbers on regular fuel. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Shifting is handled by a six-speed dual-clutch automatic with steering wheel-mounted flappy paddle shifters.

The car is intended as a limited-run special model based off the R-Line trim. It will be available in any color you want so long as it’s on the greyscale — Pure White, Reflex Silver, Platinum Grey, and Deep Black will be offered. Up front, standard LED peepers will light the way, along with an R-Line honeycomb grille and red accent line recalling the GTI.

VW Passat GT

VW hits all Passat GTs with a dose of black paint on the roof, mirror caps, window tri, and spoiler. Natty red brake calipers peek out from behind two-tone rims measuring 19 inches in size. Sharp-eyed fans will also be able to pick out a GT in traffic by dint of its blacked-out LED tails and twin-tipped exhaust. An “acoustic package” is mentioned, which could mean either an exhaust tuned for more brap or a computer program tuned for more noise through the speakers. We hope it’s the former.

Customers of fancy-pants trims in the VW line will find a lot familiar inside the Passat GT, with a leather-wrapped wheel, heated front seats, and dual-zone climate control. The expected phalanx of infotainment options will be on tap, along with twin USB ports (one for rear seat passengers) which is worth noting since VW was a bit late to jump on the USB bandwagon.

VW Passat GT

Passat sales were off by double-digit amounts in 2017, to 60,722 cars sold last year. Still, it’s no slouch in the VW lineup, as that figure is only a few thousand off the number recorded by the entire Golf family in 2017. The Jetta sedan sold 115,807 units and the brand as a whole was up 5.2 percent compared to 2016.

Expect to see the Passat GT at next week’s NAIAS event in Detroit. It’ll pop up on dealer lots sometime in the second quarter of 2018.

[Images: Volkswagen of America]

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78 Comments on “VR6 Power: Volkswagen Unveils the Passat GT...”


  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    You can’t get a more plain Jane, vanilla car than this one. I don’t care how much HP you put under the hood, this car is B-O-R-I-N-G.

  • avatar

    Not sure how I feel about this one…

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    So it’s an appearance package? Like Toyota’s S trim?

    When I see red trim on the grill of VWs I think GTI and GLI and expect some enhancement of the steering and suspension over the base models.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Under the hood? A VR6 engine, displacing 3.6 liters and making 280 horsepower.”

    I approve.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Still waiting for the VR6-turbo Arteon.. That’s one I’d be interested in..

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    So, it’s an appearance kit on top of the normal VR6 driveline?

    Okay.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Platinum Grey with tinted windows would be a decent stealth ride for anyone who can’t drive the speed limit.

  • avatar

    “displacing 3.6 liters and making 280 horsepower”

    That’s it?!

  • avatar
    brettc

    Not bad. Perhaps this will help revive the sad recent sales numbers for the Passat.

  • avatar

    Why all the hubbub over the same powertrain combo you could’ve chosen since 2012…?

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      It will finally come with a chassis with more body control than a waterbed. Still, I can’t see why anyone would get this over a GLI if they are really serious about driving engagement.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    No colors, no clutch pedal, and red stripes that look like a high schooler got a hold of a paint pen for his non-GTI Golf.

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    yeah… Not the most powerful V6 out there and definitely not the most exciting car to plug it into but when was the last time you remember a company adding a V6 to a model that was exclusively equipped with 4 cylinder engines?.. This is a victory for all of us that consider adequate power just as or more important than just gas mileage figures. I want to buy one just to endorse the trend.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      The VR6 has been available in this generation of Passat since 2012.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “but when was the last time you remember a company adding a V6 to a model that was exclusively equipped with 4 cylinder engines?”

      That’s a nice thought, but they already sell the Passat with this VR6. It’s called the SEL Premium trim.

      This “GT” thing is simply a no-frills low-line trim (which they already offer) with the VR6 instead of the weak turbo 4.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Not bad…and this car is something of a sleeper with the V6 to begin with.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Apparently the genius who introduced the RS trim package at GM now works for Volkswagen. Is the VW logo in black?

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “Apparently the genius who introduced the RS trim package at GM now works for Volkswagen.”

      No, I think it was the guy who introduced the A-Spec package at Acura.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    No AWD? GTFO.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Nice, and you can’t beat the Passat for room, but this car really needs a more thorough refresh.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    VWAG, do the right thing and replace the 2.0T in the Golf R with this. Heck, while you’re at it, make this an option in the GTI too.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Rumor has it that the next Golf R will have a 3.0L turbo V6, presumably related to the ones in the Macan S/GTS.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      Absolutely not! Do NOT put this heavy, thirsty monster of a motor into a Golf of any kind.

      What’s wrong with the current R, anyway? 292hp and gobs of torque–PLUS the availability of great mpg numbers if you keep your foot out of it.

      Same with the GTI. 220 underrated hp (more like 250 actual) and great mpg if you drive it lightly.

      Tell me again why I would want a 19/24 mpg Golf of any kind, let alone one that’s MORE nose heavy??

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Because the MK4 R32 was awesome. And the MK5 R32 could have been awesome.

        I don’t think doing an R36 Golf would be the end of the world.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          I don’t think it’d be the end of the world, but the worldwide support for mods on the current TSI engine is what feeds the R crowd.

          As for me, it would be the end of the world. I do production driving, and gas mileage is important. I can get 33-36mpg out of my GTI depending on weather and my foot. Or I can drop the DSG into S and turn it into a completely different, 22mpg or less car. My choice. VR6? Not my choice. Thirsty all the time.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    One more (weak) sign that the sedan is the new coupe.

    Real guts would have been to throw a 6-speed manual into it. I think the fawning press that would get would probably be worth the cost of federalizing a new powertrain. As it is there’s only one choice if you want a practical sedan with a manual and some punch: the Accord 2.0T. And those are still very supply-constrained.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I really like this, and I would strongly consider leasing it.

    I drove a rental R-Line Passat to New Hampshire and back for a short vacation last summer. I didn’t want to like it because I still harbor hard feelings for VAG because of the Audi I owned. But darned if it wasn’t a fantastic car. The 1.8t in it felt way more powerful than it had any right to for as big as the car is. I thought it was very handsome and the interior, while all vinyl, was comfortable and high quality.

    It was a bit large for my needs and the interior seemed to be sized for someone with a much larger carriage than mine. That’s why I started looking at the Jetta GLI. I ended up with a Regal GS, but I definitely still look at Passats on the road with admiration.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    Boring is GOOD. I even like the black roof on the pictured car, but since I almost always get black cars, I almost always get a black roof.

    If I hadn’t cheaped-out last summer I would have gotten a Passat R Line, but the Jetta SE was $70/mo cheaper to lease and left more room in the garage for my lawn mowers.

    Does the GT get a sunroof? I don’t necessarily care one way or the other, just curious.

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

    So they’ve basically slapped some cosmetic bits from the R-Line onto a V6 Passat trim that already existed and called it a GT? What this car really needed was an improved suspension and handling. I test drove the SEL Premium V6 as a potential replacement for my Dieselgate car and the only big problem it had (IMO) was the suspension/handling. Power was fine, amenities were great, passenger space was amazing. It just rode like a couch cushion instead of something sportier.

    Guess we’ll be waiting for the Arteon VR6.

  • avatar
    ShoogyBee

    I think the Passat R-Line (with the LED lighting package) is one of the best looking large’ish sedans on the US market today. The styling is rather angular but the proportions are classic (I’m assuming visibility should be excellent), the updated front end styling gives it a square’ish jaw, and the 19″ wheels fill out the wheel wells nicely.

    I don’t particularly care for the red trim on this one, however.

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    All the hate for this car in these comments cracks me up. Two of the most abhorred automotive trends from the B&B here are…

    1) Turbo 4s replacing NA V6 engines
    2) Over styled exteriors, especially from Toyota

    VW is giving you a roomy sedan with a solid NA V6 and conservative German styling for less than you can get into a 2.0T Accord and FAR less than you can get into a V6 Camry. Performance is on par with both of those automatics, and dusts a manual 2.0T Accord. The DCT is nice. It has a 6 year/72k warranty. It has a lowered sportier suspension. The only thing that could make the complaining funnier would be if this also happened to be a wagon.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The red trim gives the car a Hot Wheels look. I would expect plaid racing seats at this price point too.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “The Passat GT’s VR6 makes its 280 horsepower at 6,200 rpm while 258 lb-ft of torque comes on tap as early as 2,500 rpm. In a fit of practicality, VW says it achieves this numbers on regular fuel. ”

    Uh-huh.

    The current GTI has a specified 220hp rating, but testing has shown that to be, shall we say, a conservative number.

    I would expect no less here. Let me be generous: if it does produce 280hp on regular fuel, I am certain it produces more on premium.

    I remember when Cadillac brought out the first 300hp front wheel drive car. Now it’s in common grocery-getters.

    And DSG? Oh yeah. Y’all can row your own all you want and pretend to be Fangio from stop sign to stop sign; DSG has shown me The Light. You can have your little stir-sticks. I’ll take DSG all day long.

    Put this drivetrain into a minivan, dammit, and it would be Goodbye Odyssey in my garage.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “The Passat GT’s VR6 makes its 280 horsepower at 6,200 rpm while 258 lb-ft of torque comes on tap as early as 2,500 rpm. In a fit of practicality, VW says it achieves this numbers on regular fuel. ”

    VW absolutely does NOT say that, and therefore I take back what I said.

    VW said something, and you heard something else. Wishful thinking, whatever, what VW said was “it makes 280hp” and “it can run on regular fuel”.

    If you look at VW’s web site, they ALREADY offer this combination of car and engine. And they very, very specifically, say two separate things: (a) it can run on regular fuel, and (b) it can get 280hp. Then they ALSO say that “the horsepower numbers were achieved on premium fuel”.

    So VW lied to you like a slimy dealer named Vinnie–by omission, by letting you “hear” things that VW never said.

    All this “GT” model is doing, is putting the VR6 into a decontented Passat and throwing some Acura-like A-Spec BS trim pieces onto it, and offering it at a lower price than its other Passat VR6 model, the “V6 SEL Premium”.

    So for right at that $29K level, you now have TWO choices (where before you had only one):

    1) a current Passat R-Line (second up from base level, BS trim pieces only, $25K right now) with the VR6 engine (new combination); or

    2) a current Passat “SE with Technology” which uses the 174hp turbo 4.

    So the VR6 adds $4000 in cost at that low content level. If you move up to a highly contented Passat, the SEL Premium, it adds $3000 above the stinky 174hp 4 cylinder turbo.

    You pay your $29K and you can get either technology goodies OR big honkin’ motor on a base car. It takes another $5K to get both.

    Too bad they don’t dare start playing in the Audi world by throwing in a Golf R driveline, both engine and AWD.

    Or at least the GTI engine. That VR6 at 19mpg? That stinks right there. With the turbo 4, at least you have a chance of keeping your foot out of it and getting decent mileage.

  • avatar
    skotastic

    Larger motor + de-contented electro/comfort crap = win in my books.

    Even the most de-contented modern car has everything and more than I’d want, plus the red GTI stripe adds a touch of interest, which is always welcome.

    This is just my personal preference, and I’m not disparaging anyone who likes all the luxury/electro stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “Even the most de-contented modern car has everything and more than I’d want”

      In general, I agree with you. Electric windows/mirrors, air conditioning, good stereo (I do use satellite radio), bluetooth. What else do you need.

      But I’ve learned over the years not to dismiss out of hand the tech advances. Sometimes, they’re game changers.

      I dismissed DVR until I got a ReplayTV with automatic commercial advance. Absolute game changer. I won’t watch TV any other way now. And sat-nav for cars–same thing. (Although, I stick with my Garmin. It works WAY better than the in-dash crap built into the cars. Even Honda agreed, and are now using pure Garmin inside the 2018 Odyssey.)

      And for my minivan, electric sliding doors. Yep. I didn’t care about those at all, until I got the Odyssey that had them–now I won’t do without.

      And as I drive around in my new GTI, I’ve discovered adaptive cruise control. This is another game-changer that I won’t do without.

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