Passat GT Concept Packs 280bhp

Volkswagen has unveiled a concept ‘hot’ Passat at Automobility in Los Angeles. Packing 280bhp from a 3.6-litre VR6 engine, the Passat GT has been designed and developed in the USA by the VW Engineering and Planning Centre in Chattanooga in Tennessee based on feedback from existing VW customers and dealers in the ‘States.

The Passat GT is a bit reminiscent of the R36 Passat that was on sale all-too-briefly over here a few years back, and it’s a car we miss. This US concept has many of the same ingredients: that 3.6-litre engine, a DSG ‘box and near on 300hp. There’s no official word on the drivetrain, but expect it to be the 4-Motion haldex four-wheel-drive setup of the R36 and current Golf R, and it’s probably not much of a gamble to expect a sub-6 second 0-60 and electronically limited 155mph top speed.

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Alongside the power, the Passat GT concept sits 15mm lower than standard on sports suspension and – according to the official blurb – features over 20 design enhancements over the standard car. These include a black honeycomb grille insert with red accent lines similar to those on the Volkswagen Golf GTI, unique bumper treatments, black window surrounds, a black roof and boot spoiler, LED headlights, smoked taillights, a dual trapezoidal exhaust and a sport muffler. Arch-filling 19-inch Tornado wheels covering red-painted brake callipers finish off the look. There are enhancements inside, too, with carbon-fibre pattern door trim and instrument panel, two-tone black-and-grey sport seats with contrast stitching, a black headliner and piano black centre console trim.

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Sadly, the Passat GT concept is just that at the moment – a concept. And don’t expect it to land on European shores as this is very much a US-led initiative. If you want something similar over in the UK your best bet is to keep a keen eye on the classifieds. Very few R36s were registered in this country and nowadays they go for around £12-15k depending on mileage and condition. They are, however, a superb Q car, with the outward appearance of a TDI to anyone except those who ‘know’. Faster than the equally interesting W8 Passat, the R36 was rated for its overall performance, though it never quite hit the spot in the twisties. Acceptable running costs and that low-key badge appeal still make it an attractive proposition, albeit one that’ll set you back similar money to a leggy, but more powerful, B7 RS4.

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We really hope the GT concept makes production in the ‘States as it looks like the kind of car that VW needs over there at the moment.