Update as of September 6, 2018: Volkswagen has removed all V6 engine options in its Passat sedan lineup, effectively canceling S, SEL and GT trims. Only a two-liter four-cylinder turbo. The GT, which existed for only one model year, is a solid Audi-echelon option for thousands less than its four-ringed cousin. The move is said to be a reaction to Passat sales since early 2018, which are down 34 percent compared to 2017. A new Passat will be introduced for the 2019 model year.
Based on a concept Volkswagen brought to Automobility LA in 2016, and after considering all the feedback from North American customers, Wolfsburg has given the new Passat GT the green light. Unveiled at this year’s North American International Auto Show, the all-new Passat GT borrows looks from the R-Line Passat and takes a few cues from the Golf GTI. But the new sporty sedan is a little bit more than just cosmetic add-ons. In fact, it might be the smarter buy when lined up against its Audi equivalent, the A4.
The limited-run Passat GT may not have all-wheel drive like the Audi, but it’ll win a drag race. The naturally aspirated 3.6-liter VR6 engine up front makes 280 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, and 258 lb-ft of torque at a lowly 2,500 rpm, meaning the VW beats the top-trim A4 by around 30 horsepower. Leather and Alcantara pepper the cabin, which is pretty much standard for anything that wants to at least look sporty. And because power and looks aren’t everything, the Passat GT gets lowered, sport-tuned suspension for more aggressive styling and better handling.
The real kicker is the $29,090 price tag VW slapped on the Passat GT, which undercuts the base A4 by $7,000. Considering you get more power than the premium-level Audi and the sharp, mature design Volkswagen has adopted lately, the Passat makes a pretty good argument for itself.