December 10, 2018 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Andréas Delos Reyes

2018 Volkswagen Passat GT

Changing of the guard

One of the last of the affordable, pure normally aspirated V6 engined mid-size sedans is about to disappear within a few months. Before the end of the first quarter of 2019, only the Toyota Camry will have a V6 engine option together with the Subaru Legacy with its Flat-6. Technically, the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 do have reasonably priced V6 options still in its stable as well as the Chevrolet Impala but outside of the North American market their pricing jumps well past the general concept of affordable due to importation tariffs and other costs. The Buick Regal has a potent V6 too but it is priced out as well. Nissan dropped the V6 in the Altima in 2018;Honda dropped their option for the Accord in 2017. If you are lucky you could still get a new Nissan Maxima with a V6 at a promotional price while supplies last but usually its pricing is also out of the segment. I’ve seen some incredible promotional prices for the Kia Cadenza but generally, it too is priced out.

If you do want to continue to embrace a potent multi-cylinder engine in the most affordable yet satisfying sedan, you have about a year and a half left to get the Ford Fusion Sport AWD which uses a 325 bhp / 380 lb-ft of torque twin-turbo 2.7-liter V6 before it, the Taurus, Focus and Fiesta are deleted from the family album altogether. I reckon Ford’s strategy is by far the most aggressive in its evolution policy. There is no question that the reduction of any kind of 6-cyclinder engine for the general consumer market will continue to follow the trend to use smaller displacement, force-fed powerplants complemented with electrification. The upper echelon segments also started their exodus a few years back but their evolution is starkly less aggressive. It is a direct result of the changing automotive landscape essentially dictated by the opposing forces of universally growing road congestion while simultaneously struggling to protect our environment.

It may seem to have happened silently in the night, but the transition has been happening for a few years now. In fairness, the new technologies are making the new breed of cars at the very least as potent as before but with better fuel economy and reduced carbon emissions at the sacrifice of mechanical charisma. In fact, for example, the turbocharged 2.0-liter Honda Accord is actually faster than the Volkswagen Passat GT while having much better fuel economy. So, behold here our sporty Volkswagen Passat GT test unit in metallic Reflex Silver with contrasting piano black roof along with tasteful red trim that suggests a bit more verve in the family sedan. The interior had V-Tex Titan Black and Moonrock leatherette trim. After this GT’s supplies are sold out in North America, only the Volkswagen Atlas / Teramont will be powered by the lusty VR6 engine.

Aside from the notable cosmetic differences that separate the GT from its stablemates, it actually does have, lowered by 0.6-inches, sport suspension with retuned dampers and springs for more roll stiffness that help give it a stance to support its moniker. Thankfully the more aggressive suspension tuning does not compromise the Passat GT’s good ride, I can even say that it felt more polished if it weren’t for the constant protests from the all-season Continental ContiProContact, 235/40R19 92H tires mounted on 19-inch Tornado-design alloys. The eager VR6 engine is also a bit more vocal thanks to a unique sport exhaust however engine power remains the same. The brakes could have been improved;the 12.3-invented front discs with 10.7-in solid discs are smaller than the new standard brakes on the much lighter Golf GTI. Considering the potent thrust and weight of the Passat GT, last year’s standard Golf GTI’s red-painted brakes are just enough for normal driving conditions. If you drive spiritedly and at length, you will feel the brake fade earlier than you would want contrary to what the GT is supposed to be.

There isn’t that much that is different inside as well which gives me the clear impression that this is truly the end of the Passat GT. The faux-carbon-fiber trim isn’t great either though the contrast stitching on the two-tone seats, steering wheel, and shift boot are tasteful. The Volkswagen Passat models offered in Europe and in other markets are much more refined and full-featured but the North American Passat was for a time the most sporting.

 

 

Specifications

Engine

Engine V6
Displacement 3597 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 24V
Fuel Injector Direct Injection TSI
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 280 bhp @ 6200 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 258 lb-ft @ 2500-5000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed DSG

Performance

Top Speed 205 km/h (128 mph) Governed
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 6.2 seconds

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 8 (19 mpg) City / 11.9 (28 mpg) Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) US$ 29,995
What's Great Looks fairly purposeful but feels like a rushed job somehow, dynamically mostly sorted as expected, fun engine with good handling until the standard tires give out
What's Not So Needs a higher-grade set of standard tires. While supplies last, Volkswagen killed off the VR6 engine for the Passat for the remainder of 2019
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
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