VR6 Power: Volkswagen Unveils the Passat GT

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
vr6 power volkswagen unveils the 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.

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 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.

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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  • Jalop1991 Jalop1991 on Jan 14, 2018

    "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.

  • Skotastic Skotastic on Jan 16, 2018

    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.

    • Jalop1991 Jalop1991 on Jan 16, 2018

      "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.

  • Theflyersfan One positive: doesn't appear to have a sunroof. So you won't need to keep paper towels in the car.But there's a serious question to ask this seller - he has less than 40,000 miles on some major engine work, and the transmission and clutch work and mods are less than 2 months old...why are you selling? That's some serious money in upgrades and repairs, knowing that the odds of getting it back at the time of sale is going to be close to nil. This applies to most cars and it needs to be broadcasted - these kinds of upgrades and mods are really just for the current owner. At the time of sale, a lot of buyers will hit pause or just won't pay for the work you've done. Something just doesn't sit well with me and this car. It could be a snowbelt beast and help save the manuals and all that, but a six year old VW with over 100,000 miles normally equals gremlins and electrical issues too numerous to list. Plus rust in New England. I like it, but I'd have to look for a crack pipe somewhere if the seller thinks he's selling at that price.
  • 2ACL I can't help feeling that baby is a gross misnomer for a vehicle which the owner's use necessitated a (manual!) transmission rebuild at 80,000 miles. An expensive lesson in diminishing returns I wouldn't recommend to anyone I know.
  • El scotto Rumbling through my pantry and looking for the box of sheets of aluminum foil. More alt right comments than actual comments on international trade policy. Also a great deal of ignorance about the global oil industry. I'm a geophysicist and I pay attention such things. Best of all we got to watch Tassos go FULL BOT on us.
  • El scotto No one and I mean no one on here is a UAW member or a salaried employee of the Big 3. Then again if someone identified themselves on here they would pilloried every time they posted.The comments on here are like listening to the overgrown children who call into sports radio shows.
  • Statikboy Those tires are the Wrong Size.