The Volkswagen Passat is getting an injection of GTI genes for 2018

Volkswagen Passat GT concept
The Volkswagen Passat lineup will soon include a performance-oriented model inspired by last year’s Passat GT Concept, Digital Trends can reveal. Named Passat GT, the sedan will join the German company’s lineup in time for the 2018 model year.

A spokesperson for Volkswagen told us the Passat GT will closely resemble the Passat GT Concept (pictured) unveiled at the 2016 edition of the Los Angeles Auto Show. The design study was based on the U.S.-spec model built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and it was developed specifically for the North American market.

The same applies to the production version. We expect it will stand out from the garden-variety Passat with black mirror caps, a spoiler on the trunk lid, and red accents on the grille that echo the emblematic GTI. Model-specific alloy wheels will round out the exterior modifications. Inside, the changes will include a set of sport seats for the front passengers.

The GT is set to use Volkswagen’s 3.6-liter VR6 engine, a unit tuned to make at least 280 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A lower, sport-tuned suspension will improve handling. The sedan will remain front-wheel drive; don’t expect to find the Golf R‘s grippy 4Motion all-wheel drive system under the sheet metal.

What we don’t know is when Volkswagen will introduce the 2018 Passat GT. It could debut online in the coming weeks, or Volkswagen might choose to keep it under wraps until this year’s edition of the Los Angeles show opens its doors in November. Either way, it will arrive in showrooms nationwide before the end of the year with a price tag in the vicinity of $30,000.

Looking back

This won’t be Volkswagen’s first attempt at putting the Passat on steroids. Back in 1977, engineers stuffed a 110-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder pulled out of an Audi 80 GTE into the engine bay of a first-generation Passat. They also installed beefier brakes on both axle to keep the power in checks, wider tires, and a sporty-looking body kit.

Called Passat GTI, the two-door prototype was briefly tested on the roads around Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, but it was never given the green light for production. Toni Schmucker, the brand’s head honcho at the time, firmly believed the words “performance” and “Passat” were mutually exclusive, much to the dismay of the engineers working on the project.

News

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Cars

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.
Cars

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.
Cars

Porsche keeping an eye on performance as it pushes the 911 into hybrid territory

We still haven't seen a hybrid 911 from Porsche yet, and we most likely won't in the immediate future, but the man responsible for developing the model confirmed it's inching toward production.
Smart Home

Is old-school Airstream finally embracing smart home technology?

Airstream's vintage-looking trailers have a huge audience but its 2019 Classic camping trailers are getting a modern upgrade with the addition of app-controlled smart home technology to bring modern convenience online.
Cars

Did that car just wink at you? Daimler previews car-to-pedestrian signals

Eager to show off progress with autonomous cars and perhaps do some consumer softening as well, Daimler and Bosch previewed car-to-pedestrian communications. A sensor-loaded Mercedes S appears to wink to acknowledge a pedestrian's presence.
Cars

Uber is about to restart self-driving car tests but on a reduced scale

Uber is reported to be on the verge of restarting its autonomous-car test program. The company halted it in March 2018 following a fatal accident involving one of its vehicles, but its cars could be back on the road within weeks.
Cars

Bosch is developing a Rosetta Stone for autonomous and connected cars

Bosch and start-up Veniam want to create a common language that autonomous and connected cars can use. The two firms have developed a connectivity unit that transcends the national boundaries of technology.
Cars

Aston Martin bets classic car owners will choose volts over carburetors

Aston Martin has converted one of its most sought-after classic models to run on electricity instead of gasoline. The roadster uses electric components sourced from the upcoming Rapide E sedan.
Cars

Volkswagen may be planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may head to the Nürburgring in 2019 for a lap-record attempt, according to a new report. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car.
Cars

The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is the sexiest wagon ever

Aston Martin has revealed new photos of the limited-production Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. The Vanquish Zagato line now includes the Shooting Brake, Coupe, Volante, and Speedster, each with bespoke styling.
Cars

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.