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The limited-edition 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT wants to be a grown-up GTI

From the Golf GTI to the Jetta GLI, Volkswagen has made plenty of performance versions of its everyday models. But one model that hasn’t gotten the performance treatment is the Passat midsize sedan. VW is trying to make up for that with a new limited-edition model.

The 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT is really more show than go, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. As initially reported by Digital Trends last August, the Passat GT is a production version of a concept car that first appeared at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Passat GT was designed at VW’s Engineering and Planning Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which also home to the factory that builds the U.S.-spec version of the Passat.

The Passat GT is based on the existing Passat R-Line trim level, and gets the R-Line’s sportier-looking front bumper. But the GT also gets a model-specific honeycomb grille complete with a red stripe, just like on a Golf GTI. The GT sits on “sport suspension,” according to VW, with 19-inch “Tornado” wheels and red brake calipers. A black roof, mirror caps, and spoiler, as well as LED headlights and dark-tinted LED taillights complete the look.

The interior features lots of plain black and faux carbon fiber trim, plus leatherette seats with a GT-specific black and Moonrock Gray two-tone design. Standard equipment on the GT includes heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, and a 6.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with AppleCarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

While it may look different than a normal Passat, the GT’s mechanical bits are largely the same. The 3.6-liter VR6 engine is shared with other versions of the Passat, and makes the same 280 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That’s admittedly not bad for a sedan of this size, but it would have been nice if VW increased power a bit to help the GT live up to its racy styling. Drive is to the front wheels, through a six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.

The 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT arrives in U.S. showrooms in the second quarter of 2018. Its base price is $29,940. That includes a mandatory $850 destination charge.

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