Details and new visuals about the 2023 VW Passat continue to emerge. The new Passat, which will be unveiled with the B9 version, may only come with a variant option.
Quality assurance at Volkswagen? That must have been a dream job in the times of Piëch and Winterkorn. In the meantime it has become a thankless task, especially software errors and cheap plastic annoy customers.
Frank Welsch, who until recently was still head of development at the core brand VW, has to solve such problems now – group-wide. Thomas Ulbrich, who has been responsible for e-mobility on the board to date, will take over his previous position.
Because the Stromer is “now mainstream”, the independent electrical department will be dissolved in the course of this changeover. Ulbrich will continue to spend a large part of his working time with new ID models.
Sedan is canceled!
But: Even the combustion engine lives on at VW. And with it the 2023 VW Passat, which has already been declared dead. The successor named internally B9 is a done deal. But: It only comes as a station wagon called Variant.
Most customers should get over that, the sedan share is well below ten percent, the notchback only plays a role in a few markets (especially Eastern Europe, Spain, Turkey). And they still have a little time to stock up on limos. The current generation is just starting its seventh year but has to hold out until the end of 2023 or early 2024.
One reason for the delay is a changed factory plan: Originally the next Passat was supposed to be built in Turkey, but the new production facility is not being built after all. The 2023 VW Passat still has to leave its hometown of Emden. The E-SUV ID.4 and the electric station wagon Aero B are given the space there.
The Passat finds a new home in Bratislava, Slovakia. The developers are not given the chance to postpone it, as they still have a little more time to eradicate teething troubles.
A debacle like a Golf 8 and ID.3 with errors in the operating logic and dropouts in the assistance systems must not happen again with the 2023 VW Passat. In general, quality is at the top of the specification sheet, which means: Doors have to fall tightly into the lock, surfaces have to be easy to touch, and the seats have to be comfortable even on long journeys.
The Bratislava production site can deliver quality
The decision in favor of Bratislava plays into the engineers’ hands: they know a thing or two about quality; in addition to the VW flagship Touareg, the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne also roll off the assembly line here.
With the Passat, the next Skoda Superb will also move in there. Both are currently being developed jointly; the specialist committees are divided equally between the brands. On the one hand, Skoda was able to assert itself in the interior.
A first virtual look into the interior from LatestCarNews reveals a high-quality, purist structure that has so far only been shown by the Skoda Enyaq in the Group. Its designer Jozef Kaban now works in Wolfsburg. And the wheelbase, the 2023 VW Passat takes over the five centimeters longer base of the Superb, grows to a good 4.85 meters. Additional space on the back seat would not have been necessary, as nobody travels here anyway.
But the trunk also benefits from this: On the one hand, it has to give way because the designers dare to be more courageous. Instead of following the Golf 8 at the front, they rely on the Shooting Brake look at the rear; not quite as stylish as the Arteon, which will probably run parallel to the Passat for a few more years, but much more slanted than the current model.
This does cost storage space, on the other hand, the increase in length ensures that the new one increases the load volume again and will probably swallow over 1800 liters. In addition, with the extra centimeters, the Passat corrects the family ranking again, and the Golf Variant, which has also grown, has recently come very close to it.
Speaking of the family: The new 2023 VW Passat also uses the modular transverse matrix (MQB) that is widely used throughout the Group, so no major surprises are to be expected on the drive side.
2023 VW Passat Engine
One thing is certain: VW will remain loyal to the diesel engine. Anything else would be unreasonable from a sales point of view, after all, the majority of customers consist of frequent drivers who will probably not be able to make petrol or plug-in hybrids palatable even in three or four years.
VW will therefore rely on a balanced drive mix for the 2023 VW Passat: two 2.0 TDIs with a double SCR system (twin dosing) with around 150 and 200 hp, plus classic gasoline engines (probably around 150 and 220 hp) and socket hybrids; a pure E version is not an issue, the Aero B (see below) is responsible for that.
The plug-ins are also presented in two performance levels, which differ only in the electronics. The built-in hardware is the same here as there. The top model has around 250 hp, the weaker one cracks the 200 hp mark.
With the plug-in, the range is more important than the power: The Passat GTE is currently around 70 kilometers, but in the future, it will have to be 100 kilometers. And VW will step up its charging technology: most part-time electric vehicles are currently single-phase and with a maximum of 3.6 kW of electricity, while a charging power of 11 kW is mandatory for the new Passat.
The battery, which has grown from currently 13 to around 20 kWh, is full again after around two hours. One shortcoming of the plug-ins: they are not available with all-wheel drive. The 4Motion technology itself remains in the program, among other things, it is allowed to live on in the Passat Alltrack adventure offshoot.
As always, the question of price remains: It is certain (unfortunately) that the Passat will become more expensive: VW can pay a few thousand euros extra for more space, digitization (then hopefully) at the top level, fine materials, and the best workmanship.
The Passat Variant is currently starting at just over 32,000 euros, the successor will cost over 35,000 euros with proper basic equipment. Quality has its price.