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Volkswagen Passat W8 (2002 - 2005)

LET'S W8 A WHILE (some text hidden)

BY ANDY ENRIGHT

Introductionword count: 110

Some cars have a hard time justifying themselves when new but make a whole lot more sense as a used proposition. The formula for such cars is well established. They need to be slightly out of the ordinary, laden with gadgetry and looking at a keen slide down a steep depreciation curve. Volkswagen's Passat W8 is just such an example. Although on paper it looked a well-priced new purchase, few could stomach stumping up over £30,000 for a Passat when similarly priced Mercedes, Audi and BMW models would hold their value far better. Now that used examples are filtering onto the market, the Passat W8 makes a very interesting buy.

Modelsword count: 10

Models Covered: (4dr saloon, 5 dr estate, 4.0 petrol )

Historyword count: 179

The Passat was reaching increasingly upmarket with the post 2000 facelift. Indeed the 193bhp 2.8-litre V6 4MOTION proved that Volkswagen could make inroads into premium manufacturers territory, although many industry observers reckoned it was largely cannibalising sales from sister company Audi. These were strange times at Volkswagen, however, and having saved the company, chief executive Ferdinand Piech seemed to be getting mired in the platform sharing strategy that had returned to profitability. The Passat W8 acted as a technological showpiece and as a sweetener to soften customers up to the idea of ever more expensive Volkswagens like the subsequent Phaeton and the Porsche-developed Touareg 4x4. Top management didn't expect the car to sell in big numbers and they were right on the ball in this respect. Available as a saloon or an estate, the W8 was a sticky seller and used buyers will have to scout around to find one in the exact trim/colour combination they're after. Supplies of the W8 gradually dwindled as Passat production was wound back in advance of the all-new sixth generation model in 2005.

What You Getword count: 290

Boasting an eight-cylinder engine, four-wheel drive and a power output of 275bhp, the Passat W8 features interior quality so good that you'd swear you were in an Audi were it not for that incongruous blue and white badge staring back at you from the steering wheel. Apart from the marketing tactics, it is in fact a genuinely innovative car, the W8 engine layout being especially novel. Here's how it works. Imagine a Volkswagen VR6 engine. Lop a couple of cylinders off to form a VR4, the narrow-angle banks of cylinders served by a common head. Then position another VR4 at 72 degrees to the first, all cylinders running off a common crank and bingo, you've got the W8. It's an elegant and compact engineering solution, allowing an eight-cylinder engine to fit sideways beneath the Passat's bonnet. It's a tight fit, but it works. The beauty of this system is that it's pretty much modular: add a few more cylinders and you get Audi's W12 unit, add a job lot of cylinders and you end up with Bugatti's W16. Lots of engines and minimal development costs equals plenty of happy bean counters within the Volkswagen empire. That's how the script goes anyway. Sitting inside the Passat W8 it's not hard to see where, engine aside, your money goes. We're used to Passat interiors and this is little different, albeit with the sum content of Volkswagen's lengthy options list being levered into it. Suddenly, being softened up looks an attractive option. Soften us up some more. Leather, wood and aluminium all make an appearance and even the most exigent button jabber could keep themselves amused for hours inside. There are some Kingston sound systems with less wattage than the standard fit stereo.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates

Performance
80%
Handling
60%
Comfort
80%
Space
70%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
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