In the fight to resist the gas pump’s seduction game, the Passat proves to be a skilled warrior. In fact, the only badge shining brighter than VW’s BlueMotion is the BMW 318d EfficientDynamics, but that one comes with a much heftier price. So, how does the Passat B7 manage to outperform all the rivals in its price range in term of fuel efficiency?
The answer is somewhere halfway between simple and complex and lies in the details of the standard BlueMotion technology. Imagine we are looking at a detailed scheme of our test car. It all starts in the cylinders, where diesel is injected using a common-rail system. It's not a Pumpe Duse system anymore, but nothing all that special here. However, zooming out a bit, we see two elements that play a key role in allowing the aforementioned system to send the fuel back to the tank, rather than burn it.
First, there’s the stop-start system, which keeps a moment of silence for the burned oil every time you look into a traffic light’s red eye. Well, not exactly every time, as the system sometimes lets the engine run, in order to cover the electrical needs of the vehicle’s other systems. You can deactivate the stop-start feature by pressing a button situated on the right of the gear shifter. In addition to that, the Passat comes with a kinetic energy recuperation system that converts braking energy into electricity, which is stored into the car’s battery.
Let's take a few moments to remember what all the aforementioned developments actually mean, translated into wallet language. The Passat took us through the morning rush hour with a fuel toll of 8 liters per 100 km (29.4 US mpg) - the air-conditioning and the stereo are our witnesses. Keeping the speedometer at 130 km/h (80 mph) in sixth gear on the highway made the value drop to 5.7 liters per 100 km (41 US mpg).
It is now time to zoom on another important asset of the Passat, its connection to the road, which manages to make the car an ultra-comfortable decent handler. This is not some sort of magic, it’s pure engineering. And it’s not rocket science either: the VW engineers went for the classic unsprung weight reduction formula. The front axle uses a MacPherson setup with lower A-arms and struts. Extensive use of aluminum means that the front running gear tips the scales at 13.3 kilograms (29.3 lbs) lower that a conventional one.
The B7’s rear talks to the road via a special four-link setup. Isolation is the word here: applied to a human this could have disastrous consequences, but when used for a vehicle, it can make wonders. Let us explain. The rear suspension separates longitudinal and transverse movements thanks to a special link design, while the subframe itself is separated from the body of the vehicle by four rubber-metal (we kept thinking about „heavy metal” after writing this) bearings. Volkswagen also offers an adaptive suspension, but our test vehicle was a complete stranger to it. As for the handling part of the deal, VW made the Passat a safe, 1:1 scale representation of the driver's intentions, with the only area that disappoints being the "go-fast" one.Continue reading
VOLKSWAGEN Passat technical data summary
Engine: 1968 cm3 cc Inline 4 Diesel
Dimensions: 4770 mm (187.8 in) length / 2062 mm (81.2 in) width / 1468 mm (57.8 in) height
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