If the normal Passat is too boring for you, Volkswagen North America has a solution in the 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT
Did you know, you can measure the heat of a chili pepper? Well, you can, in a measure called Scoville Heat Units (SHU), after pharmacist Wilbur Scoville. Instead of simply judging how hot a pepper is by how much you cry after you eat one, you can actually attach a number to it!
On the low end of the scale, let’s start with one the most common peppers we eat. The banana pepper is sweet and mild, registering from 0 to 500 SHUs. This, in a manner of speaking, is your everyday Volkswagen Passat. It’s not spicy. At all. You can drive one around all day long and no one will even notice you. Not that you’ll be having a blast either, mind you. Volkswagen designed the Passat to be a sensible family choice. It’s large, solid, comfortable, and generally inoffensive. Don’t get me wrong, the car is perfectly competent. Dynamic, however, it is not. Until now, claims Volkswagen – meet the 2018 Passat GT.
Now, on the other end of the scale from the banana pepper, there’s the Carolina Reaper – the hottest chili pepper in the world. It comes in at 2.2 million SHUs, over twice the spice of a ghost pepper. Is the Passat GT any closer to that level of hotness after VW’s engineering team got hold of it?
2018 Volkswagen Passat GT – the differences
On its face, things look encouraging. The Passat GT will be a limited-run model based off the Passat R-Line trim. Volkswagen will sell it to you in four (non-unique) colors – Pure White, Reflex Silver, Platinum Grey, and Deep Black. Don’t expect neon colors here, this is still a serious, grown-up car. It will come with standard LED lights all around, and borrows the R-Line’s bumper. For those looking for a bit of GTI flavor, the Passat GT has red accent lines running along its grille and headlights. Volkswagen also lowered this model, added sport suspension, and some sportier 19-inch wheels hiding red-painted brake calipers.
Red brake calipers, you say? Surely, that shouts performance! Well, it does help the Passat GT look the part. If you buy a Passat GT, you’ll be asking those brakes to stop the power from Volkswagen’s trusty 3.6-liter VR6 engine. Although the GT comes with a sport exhaust, the engine puts out 280 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Yep, the same power levels you get in the current Passat V6 SEL. Shifting it along is a six-speed DSG automatic transmission. Volkswagen didn’t specifically mention where that power’s going, but as with the current V6 Passat, we expect that power will be fed to the front wheels.
Things are a bit different in the Passat GT’s interior as well. You get a piano black center console and some carbon fiber trim. This special model also has a black headliner and aluminum “GT”-badged door sills. No matter which exterior color you buy, you’ll be treated to a Black leatherette interior with Moonrock Gray inserts.
Pricing starts under $30,000
So, what do you get for your money? Volkswagen will sell you the Passat GT with lowered suspension, sport exhaust, and some aesthetic changes to separate you from the normal Passat pack. Pricing starts at $29,090 – which is good value for a V6 Passat. It slots right in the middle between the 2018 Passat R-Line and the V6 SEL Premium. The car also comes backed by VW’s 6-year/72,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.
In terms of heat, this isn’t a banana pepper. Its more like a chipotle pepper. It’s a bit hotter with that new exhaust system and flavorful accents, but it won’t blow your head off. But that’s okay – the Passat is normally the sort of car you buy if anonymity suits you. This still has most of the subtlety, but Volkswagen’s engineers have injected it with a bit more character.
The 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT will be on display at the North American International Auto Show. Expect the car to arrive at U.S. dealers in the second quarter of this year.
To see just how much the Passat has moved on in recent years, check out this video of the 2017 Passat against its ancestor from 2002. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow on YouTube for Detroit Auto Show videos on your favorite new models!