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.

Cars

Mercedes-Benz gives the tech-savvy 2020 CLA more power at New York Auto Show

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation CLA during CES 2019, and it will expand the lineup when it unveils a midrange model named CLA 35 at the upcoming 2019 New York Auto Show.
Cars

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.
Cars

With drift mode, Kia’s Stinger GTS lets you unleash your inner hooligan

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the limited-edition Kia Stinger GTS gets a trick all-wheel drive system that should enable plenty of sideways action. But only 800 buyers will get to try it.
Cars

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Turbo shows value and performance can go hand in hand

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata goes in a bold new design direction, with LED streaks on its hood and sleeker bodywork all around. It starkly contrasts with the current Sonata's conservative design.
Cars

Technology trickles down from above to make the new 2019 Audi Q3 smarter

The redesigned 2019 Audi Q3 makes its U.S. debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The firm's smallest SUV receives tech features like a virtual cockpit and a single screen variant of MMI Touch Response from bigger models.
Cars

Kia’s HabaNiro concept is an autonomous electric car that knows when you’re sad

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the Kia HabaNiro concept is supposed to preview the future of the everyday car. That future will include artificial intelligence tech that can read the driver's emotions, according to Kia.
Cars

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.
Cars

More tech and more space make the Mercedes-Benz GLS the S-Class of the SUV world

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation GLS at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The company's biggest and most luxurious SUV gains more tech features in its quest to become the S-Class of the SUV world.
Cars

Would you buy the Tarok compact pickup truck? Volkswagen wants to know

The Volkswagen Tarok pickup truck concept will make its United States debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The truck first appeared at the 2018 Sao Paulo Auto Show, and VW wants to see what U.S. buyers think of it.
Cars

Sick of civilization? Volkswagen’s Atlas Basecamp concept lets you get away

Volkswagen revealed the Atlas Basecamp concept ahead of its debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. Built for overlanding, this family-hauler was upgraded jointly by Volkswagen and aftermarket manufacturers.
Cars

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo sheds weight, uses racing tricks to stay sharp

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo isn't dramatically different from the 2019 model, but Nissan made changes where it counts. The updated GT-R Nismo is lighter and offers better aerodynamic performance, according to Nissan.
Cars

Nikola previews $80K NZT off-road EV speedster with 590 horsepower

Nikola Motor is taking reservations for the NZT, a high-performance, all-electric off-highway vehicle (OHV). The $80,000 NZT has 590 horsepower, 775 foot-pounds of torque, and reaches 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds.
Cars

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.
Cars

21 charged in Chicago carsharing heist; 100+ cars stolen, many still missing

More than 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles belonging to carsharing service Car2Go were stolen in Chicago. Police are still working to recover all of the cars, which are equipped with GPS, and 21 people have been charged.