Like all good cars, the 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT began with an idea and a few people in a garage.
That garage happens to be in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at Volkswagen’s growing North American Engineering Planning Center, just around the corner from the factory that assembles the Passat and the VW Atlas. The idea: How to bring a touch of Volkswagen’s performance heritage into midsize sedans.
The resulting 2018 Passat GT is scheduled to arrive later this year as the first model developed and engineered by Volkswagen in the United States.
“It’s a fully home-grown project,” says Michael Lovati, Volkswagen Group of America vice president for mid- and full-size product lines. “The result is a pretty aggressive car, where you see the sporty genes of Volkswagen coming through.”
Starting with the features of the Passat R-Line, the Passat GT takes to the road with a unique sport suspension and 19-inch Tornado wheels. In a nod to the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the grille features a red accent line running through a honeycomb pattern, and red-painted brake calipers stand out against any of the four available colors: Pure White, Reflex Silver, Platinum Grey, and Deep Black. The look completes with a piano-black trunk spoiler.
Inside, there’s a bevy of sport-flavored upgrades, from carbon fiber optic décor and a black headliner to two-tone black/gray seats with contrast stitching. Under the hood there’s a 3.6-liter VR6 engine — tuned to 280 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm with regular fuel. Paddle shifters control a six-speed DSG Tiptronic® automatic transmission.
When it hits dealers, anticipated in the second quarter of this year, the Passat GT will carry a starting MSRP of $29,145 with a $850 destination charge.1 Like all 2018 Volkswagen vehicles, it will also come with the People First Warranty, America’s best bumper-to-bumper transferable new vehicle limited warranty with coverage for six years or 72,000 miles (whichever occurs first).2
And it’s a preview of more to come, as Volkswagen’s North American Region builds its engineering muscle to craft more specialized VW models.
“Combining a local perspective with our global engineering expertise allows us to create vehicles that meet the needs and desires of customers here,” says Matthias Erb, chief engineering officer for VW’s North American Region.