By Alysha Webb
Volkswagen will use the same battery module design for all its electric vehicles globally across all its brands according to Dr. Tobias Giebel, head of the Volkswagen Research Lab in Shanghai. Those battery modules and the battery cells in them are likely to be sourced from China, he said.
“You have to be focused beyond the cell level. That is the only way, said Giebel at the EV Battery Forum Asia 2011 in Shanghai. The Forum took place on November 7 – 9, 2011.
Volkswagens Giebel was optimistic about Chinese battery makers’ capacity to one day build low-cost, high-quality vehicle batteries. In an interview with PluginCars.com, Giebel said Volkswagen is working with local battery manufacturers in China to produce a product that meets Volkswagens global standards. We believe the future of battery cell sourcing is in China, he said. Today, Chinas lithium-ion battery makers are focused on consumer technology, said Giebel. Its automotive-grade batteries are not up to the high-level vehicle traction battery manufacturers in Korea or Japan, he said.
But Volkswagen is working closely with about 20 of Chinas more than 100 battery producers, and is already seeing improvement. We think in a couple of years we will have really strong suppliers in fully domestic companies, said Giebel. When they are, Volkswagen will use the same source for its Asia, Europe, and the United States operations, he said.
That could mean a significant amount of business because Volkswagen will use a standard module for all electric vehicles across all its brands. That means all hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric, and fuel cell vehicles produced under the Volkswagen Groups 10 nameplates, which include Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, Seat, Bentley, Porsche, Scania, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen commercial vehicles.
“The module shape and number of cells will be the same, said Giebel. The module is not part of any international norm. It is a company internal standard. Inside the module, Volkswagen might adapt the connection between the cells to vary the number of parallel and serial cells, said Giebel. The module is a company internal standard, he added.
Volkswagens current parallel hybrid models, including the Touareg SUV, have a different technology, but the company will use the standard module concept first on battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric models, said Giebel. The extension to parallel hybrid (HEV) will be decided later, he said.
At the Los Angeles Auto Show last week, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat was announced as the winner of the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award, which is the most prestigious honor bestowed upon an automotive manufacturer by Motor Trend.
This year’s group was a record at 35, all-new or thoroughly redesigned, 2012 model year vehicles. The all-new for 2012, made in America, Volkswagen Passat edged out its European, Japanese and American contenders in an exhaustive evaluation process that included the full complement of Motor Trend performance tests, track-based ride and handling evaluations, and real-world driving on city streets, freeways, and two-lane roads.
“The well-equipped Passat is a breakthrough car for Volkswagen, as it has been designed to suit the North American market and is being built in a brand-new, state-of-the-art assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.,” said Motor Trend editor-in-chief, Angus MacKenzie. “It has one of the roomiest interiors of its class, a wide choice of powertrains and a well-tuned chassis. A compelling new entry in the toughest, most competitive vehicle segment in the U.S. today; it’s a terrific all-around family sedan.”
For the past 62 years, the editorial staff of Motor Trend has met to determine the best new car for the following model year. The Car of the Year process is not a comparison test; the winning vehicle is the one that, in the judges’ opinions, best fulfills six key criteria: advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value, and performance of intended function.
The Passat’s styling is clean and simple, but executed with precision normally seen on expensive luxury cars. Car of the Year judge Tom Gale, Chrysler’s former design chief, noted, “…like the Audi [A6], what is remarkable is the restraint shown with the handling of the design. Clean, beautiful surfaces have been refined for an engaging result.”
With options that include a 2.5-liter five-cylinder gas engine, a powerful V6 or a highly efficient turbo diesel–each with the option of being mated to a standard transmission or the seamlessly smooth dual-clutch auto-manual unit–Motor Trend found the powertrains of the Passat to be perfectly matched to the car. Editors particularly praised the diesel engine mated to the dual-clutch auto-manual gearbox. Engineering guru, Chris Theodore noted of the combination, “…without the compromise that mainstream green vehicles impose–a true technological achievement.”
The standard 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine returned 26.5 mpg in testing while the optional turbo-diesel returned an average of 34.3 mpg. The Passat has the best fuel economy stats among this year’s finalists over the course of 11 mixed-driving loops.
Between government mandates and consumer expectations, pretty much all vehicles in this segment gets a standard complement of passive safety gadgets that include six airbags, stability control, tire-pressure monitoring, ABS, and brake-assist, among numerous other electric aids. “What’s more fun to talk about under the safety rubric is how well the Passat’s chassis is tuned to keep it out of trouble, because well-driven, agile cars are less likely to plow into things than poorly controlled, flabby, clumsy ones,” said Motor Trend technical editor, Frank Markus.
And by investing in a facility in Chattanooga, Tenn. to build the Passat, VW has reduced the potential for currency fluctuations to negatively impact the price, as happened with the previous imported model. With initial costs lower and overall ownership costs suppressed–thanks to improved build quality and VW’s Carefree Maintenance Program–the 2012 Volkswagen Passat stands as a great value in a market segment driven by price-conscious consumers.
The 2012 Passat was inteneded to be an affordable, roomy, efficient mid-sized sedan for the American family, and the car delivers perfectly on the mission statement. Car of the Year judge, Chris Theodore summed it up best, “I was expecting a large, cost-reduced VW that had lost its Fahvergnugen, but it’s still there, just cloaked in Brooks Brothers.”
This is only the second time Volkswagen has won Motor Trend’s highest honor, the first being in 1985 for the then American-built TDI.
When the Volkswagen CC debuted four years ago, it was the first affordably priced four-door coupe on sale in the U.S. What looked at first like a niche has developed into a completely new segment: nearly 270,000 people around the world have bought Volkswagen’s sedan that has the looks and heart of a sports car. The CC mixes practicality with style and attainability.
Volkswagen is presenting a technically and visually updated version of the vehicle at the LA Auto Show, held at the LA Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles between November 18 and 27. With new front and rear styling and an extended range of standard equipment that includes Bi-Xenon headlights with the Adaptive Front Lighting System and LED taillights, the new CC makes an even bolder statement in the entry-luxury class. The 2013 Volkswagen CC will go on sale in the Spring in the U.S.
Zack McDonald from HybridCars.com contacted us and asked if he could be a guest blogger for LAcarGUY, we were happy to oblige!
Remember the Volkswagen L1 that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show back in 2009? If not, here’s a brief refresher: The carbon-fiber bodied L1 concept was powered by a 0.8-liter two-cylinder diesel engine that cranked out 27 horsepower. That diesel engine was supplemented by a 10-kW electric motor housed inside the L1’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. With a curb weight of only 838 pounds, Volkswagen claimed the L1 would return upwards of 170 miles per gallon.
Then, in January of 2011, Volkswagen unveiled the third generation of its fuel-sipping concept. The third-gen vehicle differed from its predecessor in several ways, but most notable was its addition of a port, which transformed the concept into a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Called the XL1, Volkswagen’s lightweight concept boasted an electric-only range of 21 miles and measured in at 153-inches long, 66-inches wide and only 45-inches high. Weight shot up to 1,753 pounds, but the output from its diesel engine jumped to 48 horsepower and its electric motor cranked out 20 kW. Volkswagen claimed the XL1 concept could zip from zero to 62 miles per hour in 11.9 seconds and top out at 100 mph.
Most importantly, the XL1 retained its streamlined body and its ultra-efficient hybrid powertrain. At the time, Volkswagen announced the XL1 would return a remarkable 261 mpg—a questionable figure since it’s based on Europe’s lenient fuel economy test cycles. Nevertheless, we’d expect the production version to return approximately 150 mpg in “real world” driving, and word is a production version is coming soon.
According to Automotive News Europe, Volkswagen chief executive officer, Martin Winterkorn, officially confirmed the 2013 launch of the two-seat XL1. ANE quoted Winterkorn, “We will start small series production by 2013—in Germany.”
That most likely equates to VW whipping out 100 or so production versions of the XL1 and selling them to the general public over in Germany. So, more of a field trial than a full-scale production vehicle, but hopefully VW brass will decide to eventually give the XL1 plug-in hybrid the mass production green light.
LAcarGUY’s two Volkswagen stores, Pacific Volkswagen and Volkswagen Santa Monica, handed over the keys of the newly redesigned 2012 Beetle to three local Oprah Winfrey fans, as part of the show’s “Ultimate Favorite Things” giveaway!
These three lucky fans were given the surprise of their lives during a November 2010, Oprah “Ultimate Favorite Things” episode, when audience members, all specially selected community heroes, found out that they would be receiving a brand new 2012 Beetle.
Excited to participate in such a deserving promotion, LAcarGUY’s Volkswagen Santa Monica was proud to give Gina Elise, the “calendar angel,” her new, Silver 2012 Beetle. Gina is the founder of PinUpForVets.com, a project that supports hospitalized Veterans and deployed troops.
The other local recipients were a couple, Evelyn and Rob Calip, who picked up their Red and Blue 2012 Beetles at Pacific Volkswagen earlier today. Evelyn is a breast cancer survivor who started a non-profit, Evelyn’s Breast Friends Forever! to provide support to other women going through the same journey.
Redesigned for only the second time in history, the sportier 2.5L 2012 Beetle is a modern interpretation of the iconic Beetle design. Balancing classic beauty with a contemporary edge and enhanced performance, the 2012 Beetle provides an exhilarating driving experience.
“LAcarGUY is thrilled to offer Los Angeles the 2012 Beetle, reborn and reengineered for the 21st century,” said Mike Sullivan, Owner of LAcarGUY. “I’m especially pleased that we are giving these Beetles away to such a deserving group of local heroes.”
• Well-equipped two-door model starts at $33,990
• Sunroof and Navigation models have MSRPs of $35,490 (two-door) and $36,090 (four-door)
• Most powerful Golf production engine to be sold in the U.S.
• Six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive standard
• Predicted fuel economy of 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway
• Bi-Xenon headlights and LED DRLs standard on all models
• On-sale early 2012 as a 2012 model, in both two- and four-door versions
Intelligent downsizing. That’s what the new Golf R represents. The heir to the 2004 and 2008 Golf R32 models, the new R manages to have more power, more performance, and consume less gasoline than its illustrious iconic performance forebears. And it offers all this for just $33,990, plus destination, for the two-door Golf R model.
Whereas the R32 models used 3.2-liter VR6 engines, the new Golf R is fitted with a high-output version of the award-winning turbocharged 2.0-liter TSI® engine. This engine makes 256 horsepower, six more than the VR6 fitted into the 2008 R32. As well as offering more power and performance, the Golf R is also more economical, with manufacturer estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway compared with EPA estimated mileage of 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for the prior model.
Like the previous R32 models, the Golf R is equipped with Volkswagen’s 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system: the latest generation of this system can divert up to 100 percent of the torque to the rear wheels, if needed. All Golf R models sold in the U.S will be equipped with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. For the first time, the Golf R will be available in two- and four-door guises as well as in two trim levels: well-equipped Golf R and luxurious Golf R with Sunroof and Navigation.
The Golf R is a refined vehicle that’s marked by clean, minimalist lines that are mixed with sharp, intricate detailing. The style is sleek and contemporary, yet timeless and elegant.
The changes made for the Golf R are subtle yet striking, in keeping with the car’s mission of providing sophisticated and understated performance. Up front, there’s a new bumper that incorporates LED daytime running lights and three large black air intakes that help cool the engine. The radiator grille is finished in gloss black and features an “R” logo that sets the front of the car apart from the rest of the Golf range. Unique Bi-Xenon headlamps that are framed in black also have the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), whereby the lights turn with the steering wheel, up to a maximum of 15 degrees, to provide better visibility around bends.
The car’s streamlined profile continues toward the rear, with a pair of subtly flared side skirts running along the lower edge of the body. The new 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels expose gloss-black-painted brake calipers that incorporate the “R” logo; the exterior mirrors also have a gloss-black finish.
There’s further differentiation at the back of the R, where a new rear bumper was needed to accommodate the central twin pipes for the exhaust system, similar to the tailpipes fitted on the original 2004 R32. The bumper also features a gloss-black diffuser. The back end is highlighted by a slightly larger tail spoiler than that of the GTI and a subtle “R” badge. The R is available in five colors: Rising Blue, Candy White, Carbon Steel Gray, Black, and Tornado Red.
Just like the exterior, the interior has been enhanced to make it even more purposeful and demonstrate its role at the apex of the Golf range.
On opening the door, the driver and passenger will note aluminum “R” kickplates on the sills, before sliding into deep bucket seats. These are adorned with an “R” logo on the head restraint and are upholstered in supple leather.
The squared-off steering wheel is also swathed in leather, with gloss-black-finished spokes that carry through from the exterior design. Other R-specific features include: blue pointers for the instruments; the shifter knob with an “R” motif; aluminum trim for the dashboard and doors; and aluminum pedals.
The Golf R comes extremely well equipped, even in base form. Fully automatic dual-zone climate control is standard, along with a multifunction steering wheel, Premium VIII audio with eight speakers, aux-in, a Media Device Interface with iPod® connectivity, and Bluetooth®. The Golf R with Sunroof and Navigation adds the RNS 315 touchscreen navigation system; a 300-watt Dynaudio® sound system; a sunroof; and Keyless Entry with push-button start.
Just like the rest of the Golf range, the R is practical and versatile. The high-lifting tailgate provides easy ingress and egress to a load area that offers 15.3 cubic feet of space. And with the folding rear seat back split 60/40—and featuring a pass-through—there’s real flexibility for load carrying.
Engine and Transmission
The Golf R is fitted with the most powerful Golf production engine ever seen in the U.S. The car uses an updated version of the EA113 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, rather than the EA888 engine used in the current GTI. Like the EA888, the EA113 uses direct fuel injection and double overhead camshafts with variable intake timing. Because the Golf R develops more power and torque than the GTI—256 horsepower and 243 lb-ft compared with 200 hp and 207 lb-ft—a number of changes have been made. The cylinder block is reinforced, stronger connecting rods are fitted, and a BorgWarner K04 turbocharger is used, boosting at up to 17 psi. With manufacturer estimated fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, this is the most fuel-efficient Golf R model ever sold in the U.S.
The Golf R is offered with a slick shifting, close-ratio six-speed manual transmission that features a magnesium selector housing and cable operation with very short lever movements. The latest-generation 4Motion all-wheel drive is also standard on the Golf R. This system uses a Haldex® clutch pack that continuously varies the amount of torque sent to the rear wheels, depending on whether slippage is detected at the front. In normal driving, the Golf R acts like a front-wheel-drive machine, which has benefits for fuel economy. However, if needed, up to 100 percent of the torque can be directed to the rear wheels for traction on more challenging surfaces.
The Golf R has unique calibration for its suspension, even compared with the GTI. At the front, it uses a damper-strut layout with lower control arms and a stiff, tubular anti-roll bar that combine to help keep the front tires planted during hard cornering, reducing body roll and heightening steering feedback.
At the back, there’s a compact multilink independent layout that features coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar. The four-link layout features three lateral control arms—the spring mounting, the track rod and upper control arm, and a trailing link at each wheel. Suspension assemblies are attached by way of a rear-axle subframe and, as at the front, rubber and metal mountings that are soft in torsion but stiff radially are used to help ensure the anti-roll bar responds immediately and suppresses body roll effectively.
The spring and damper units are located separately on each side of the car at the rear, with the coil spring bearing directly on the trailing link and the damper attached to the wheel hub assembly. This enables the suspension geometry on the compression stroke to generate a toe steering effect that maintains neutral behavior, or some slight understeer, in all driving and load-carrying situations. It also helps ensure excellent driving stability on rough, uneven road surfaces. Stylish 18-inch-diameter aluminum-alloy wheels are shod with 225/40 all-season performance tires.
Steering and Brakes
The Golf R uses a third-generation electro-mechanical power steering system that is able to vary the feel of the steering to suit the speed and driving situation. It is firm and direct when driving at highway speeds, requiring less effort at parking speeds. Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centering action, and its ability to help compensate for driving hazards like crosswinds and steep road cambers. In the Golf R, the steering ratio is quicker than the GTI’s for an even sportier on-road feel.
The brakes were modified to cope with the Golf R’s higher level of performance as compared to the GTI. Golf R gets vented 13.6-inch-diameter front and 12.2-inch rear discs, up from the GTI’s 12.3-inch-diameter vented front and 10.7-inch solid rear discs. Naturally, anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard, along with electronic brake pressure distribution (EBS) and hydraulic brake assist (HBA). The latest version of HBA is able to discern whether the braking is “normal” or an emergency according to the speed with which the pedal is depressed. In the event of an emergency, HBA helps increase the brake pressure and activates the ABS.
Safety and Security
The 2012 Golf R comes with an array of standard safety features. For driving security, enhancements include Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR), and an Electronic Differential Lock (EDL). A hill holder function automatically applies the parking brake when the vehicle comes to rest and the brake is depressed in traffic, preventing the car from rolling backwards or forwards. The brake is released once the driver presses the accelerator pedal. This is especially useful in slow traffic on long inclines.
Should the car be involved in a crash, the occupants are protected by driver and passenger front and front side thorax airbags together with Side Curtain Protection® head airbags for front and rear passengers. Volkswagen’s advanced Intelligent Crash Response System shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and even switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collisions.
Like all 2012 Volkswagen models, the Golf R is covered under the no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program. All scheduled maintenance is covered for the length of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty—three years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
The base Golf R is a sophisticated and luxurious performance car, with a high level of standard equipment.
Starting at $33,990, the two-door Golf R comes equipped with Bi-Xenon headlights; dual-zone Climatronic® air conditioning; cruise control; leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel; power windows with auto up/down function; leather seating surfaces; 60/40-split folding rear seat with pass through; aluminum pedals; a leather shifter knob and brake lever; and Bluetooth® technology. The eight-speaker sound system has an in-dash six-CD changer, AM/FM/SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio, and auxiliary input jack along with an iPod® adapter.
Golf R with Sunroof and Navigation
Starting at $35,490 for the two-door model, this adds: a power tilt-and-slide sunroof; Keyless Entry with push-button start; the RNS 315 touchscreen navigation system; and the eight-channel 300-watt Dynaudio® premium sound system.
Having moved North American production to Chattanooga, Tennessee, the all-new Volkswagen Passat has now been repositioned to compete at the heart of the mid-sized sedan market. Now it has earned the coveted Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick rating for 2011, which is the highest possible for the non-profit safety research organization.
This annual rating recognizes vehicles that perform best in protecting passengers in the Institute’s front, side, and rear crash test evaluations, along with the newly required roof-strength test evaluations. Top Safety Pick ratings are only awarded to vehicles that are fitted with electronic stability control and head protection airbags.
“Performance of the Passat is another example of Volkswagen’s ongoing commitment to engineer vehicles that earn the highest safety ratings,” says Institute president Adrian Lund. “Top Safety Pick winners achieve that status by earning the top ratings in the Institute’s four demanding tests, and by having electronic stability control, the most important feature in helping drivers avoid many kinds of crashes in the first place.”
“The new Passat is an important vehicle for Volkswagen,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “It has been engineered in Germany specifically to compete in the heart of the North American mid-sized sedan segment.”
“To have IIHS recognize the Passat as the Top Safety Pick is a great statement for this new car–and to have eight Volkwagen models with this significant award is an equally great statement for the brand. It’s a testament to our commitment to make safety such a high priority in vehicle development, using advanced techniques such as laser seam welding and the extensive use of high-strength steel to build exceptionally strong structures.”
The Passat will hit our showrooms in the third week of September. Join our Facebook community or follow us on Twitter to be one of the first to know! Or contact us today and have one of our sales consultants contact you personally as soon as the vehicle arrives.
Reposted with the permission of acarisnotarefrigerator.com.
The adorable little kid in the Darth Vader outfit who starred in VW’s popular Super Bowl commercial, The Force, won’t need to invoke The Force to compel consumers to buy the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat. I’m relieved to report that the car is good enough to sell itself. [For the record, that commercial turned out to be a very good investment for Volkswagen as it went viral and has been viewed more than 41.4 million times on YouTube alone. ]
Like most auto enthusiasts, I was concerned and apprehensive last year when VW announced that its new mid-size car was going to be a US-only Passat with an inflated size and a deflated sticker price. To do this, VW built a beautiful, shiny, new $1 billion factory in lovely, noisome Chattanooga, Tennessee. And they did it all with “only” around $557 million in state and local taxpayer incentives.
Volkswagen’s new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Right now, the only model built there is the 2012 Passat.
The new Passat was announced after the 2010 launch of the all-new 2011 Jetta. I found the new Jetta disappointing in almost all metrics save for the wonderful TDI engine option. The Jetta had been stripped of suspension parts and fitted with interior plastics courtesy of Walmart. Built in VW’s Puebla, Mexico plant, the Jetta is now cheap enough to compete with the Asians. Ugh. In short, the new Jetta had turned to the Dark Side to boost sales.
Americans respond to big price reductions, so sales of the Dark Side Jetta are up. I mourn the loss of a Jetta sedan with a class-leading interior, independent rear suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes. I’ve always been a fan of VW because the little German-engineered cars were günstiger.
The 2011 VW Jetta – knock knock – come on, wake up!
The 2012 Passat, with a base MSRP of $19,995, is targeted directly at the mid-size family sedan leaders: The Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu. It’s thousands less than the previous German-built Passat, primarily due to cost cutting and elimination of the profit-sucking exchange rates.
Where the Jetta’s styling redefines anonymous, the new Passat is more detailed and mature, albeit as conservative as the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. Pictures don’t do the Passat justice and color makes a significant difference. All the promos show the car in a pale color; however, my black tester really popped with its controversial, bright, rapper-size fore and aft VW badges and sinister-looking polycarbonate shades streamlining the halogen headlamps into the prominent 3-bar corporate chrome grille. It may look like Darth Vader, but it hasn’t gone to the Dark Side.
The front of the 2012 Passat looks a bit menacing in black. The VW badge is certainly prominent.
I contacted VW Santa Monica (part of the LACarGuy group) ahead of time to make sure they had a diesel Passat available to test. The test car was just that – a VW tester sent directly to the Santa Monica dealer to make the rounds of local events and provide a dedicated test vehicle for 40 mpg-hungry LA-area greenies.
No window sticker, just a nice “gift” to Santa Moncia Volkswagen. Note the QR (quick response) code on the sticker. You can read it with an app on your smartphone.
I’m sure the base Passat 2.5L, saddled with VW’s unremarkable 170 hp 5-cylinder hamster wheel, will be the volume leader. Inexpensive always sells. VW also offers a top-line Passat with a 3.6L 280 hp V6; but here in green veneer L.A., the marquee model is the TDI with the 2.0L 140 hp 236 lb-ft torque turbo-diesel direct-injected engine mated to either a 6-speed manual or VW’s 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automated gearbox.
Why the excitement? Well it’s because the manual version is rated at 31 mpg city, 43 mpg highway and the automatic is rated at 30 city/40 highway. The Passat’s highway mileage meets or beats any mid-size sedan, including the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata Hybrids. Anecdotal evidence from numerous sources suggests that the TDI’s highway mileage will actually be higher. With its 18.5 gallon tank, the Passat TDI has a cruising range exceeding 700 miles. Vegas road trip anyone?
The rear of the 2012 Passat is more defined than the Jetta. It won’t win any design awards, but it’s well executed. Note the large VW badge and the TDI SEL on the right trunk lid.
It was a nice day for a drive in Santa Monica where the blistering summer heat was all the way up to 73 degrees — a daunting test for the Passat’s standard dual zone automatic climate control.
The little diesel engine feels right at home in the Passat and has no problem tugging around its 3,360 pounds. I experienced a bit of hesitation from the DSG when I punched it into a turn from a stand still; however in normal driving in city traffic, the transmission shifted smoothly. I never felt a lack of power because of the gobs of torque available from only 1,400 rpm.
All in easy reach: The handsome DSG shifter, start stop button and dual zone automatic climate control. The digital temperature settings can be read in the center infotainment screen.
The new electromechanical power steering felt light, somewhat isolated, but on center. It retains enough German precision to make it a better driver’s car, particular in DSG sport mode. The front wheels tracked dead straight. As with most VW products, torque steer has been all but banished by the engineers in Wolfsburg.
I did my usual tap and scratch test on the interior plastics of the new Passat and I have good news: This isn’t the Jetta. The dash cowl is covered in a pleasing, textured, soft-touch plastic. The “Autumn Nut Burl” trim, while not real, is convincing enough. The door trim above armrest level is textured and softened while the trim below the arm rest and below the dash belt line is a harder plastic that taps a bit hollow.
The driver’s side door panel is pleasing and the various plastic panels all match despite being of different quality. I like the way the grab handle was integrated into the design.
The tilt/telescope three-spoke multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel felt good in my hands and adjusted for a perfect view of the instruments. Basic functions were all easily accessible and my hand fell naturally both to the shifter and adjacent start/stop button.
I was grateful for the 8-way power sports seat with driver’s side memory that are part of the $4,300 TDI SEL2 option package. It took a bit of fiddling, but I found a comfy position for my 6′ 1″ lanky frame. The heated and leather-trimmed seats have Dynamico ® (synthetic suede) inserts that tether you in for an added sporty dimension.
It’s not a great picture; but you can see the power seat controls.
I didn’t test the navigation system, but the smallish 6.5″ touch screen had sharp graphics and was easy to read. The Fender Premium Audio System has a 30 GB hard drive, Bluetooth, satellite radio and iPod control. The interior is almost Lexus-quiet, with surprising little engine or road noise infiltrating the airy cabin. This modern advanced “clean” diesel engine is both quiet and odor-free.
The smallish – 6.5 inch – infotainment screen. Here you see some of the controls for the Fender Premium Audio System.
I missed a backup camera or sensors that would be an inexpensive add-on to the existing navigation system. There were no rain-sensing wipers either. And I’d prefer the iPod controls in the center armrest area rather than the glove box.
The 2012 Passat has class-leading front and rear legroom and its cargo capacity is almost at the top with 15.9 cubic feet. The standard 60/40 split rear bench folds down so that long flat cargo (think flat boxes at IKEA) are an easy fit. The trunk was completely lined and flocked; however, the trunk lid was naked and sported goose neck hinges rather than gas-pressure struts. I smell a diligent cost accountant at work.
The back seats look inviting and you can see the suede-like material inserts.
The capacious trunk has a fairly low lip, so it’s easier to load stuff. It’s nicely lined too. Note the little pulls at the top of the opening that allow you to drop the rear seats for more room. Also you can see the naked trunk lid and cheap goose neck hinges.
Base MSRP for the 2012 Passat TDI with DSG is $27,895. The SEL2 package is $4,300; however, you get almost every luxury feature and infotainment upgrade you could want. In fact, there are no other options offered. Add the $770 destination charge and the fully-loaded car is $32,965. This prices the 2012 Passat TDI smack in the middle of its similarly-equipped fuel sipping hybrid competition and it is, by far, the frugal enthusiast’s pick of the bunch.
We have some great news for you! Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that the new Beetle will start at just $18,995 which is fantastic value for the agile, driver-oriented coupe whose design draws from the vehicle’s reminiscent past while still looking toward the future.
“The 21st Century Beetle is an automotive icon reinvented, a nod to the heritage and character of Volkswagen and our remarkable history,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “This new interpretation of the original Beetle holds true to the traditional spirit of the car, with all the benefits of modern technologies and efficiencies.”
The 2012 Beetle is sportier, more dynamic, and features bolder styling than previous models. It is also 3.3 inches wider, 6.0 inches longer, and half an inch lower, giving it a much more muscular appearance which will have a much broader appeal. The Beetle will be available is three trim lines which might include the transparent, panoramic tilt/slide glass roof that is 80 percent longer than on the previous models.
So what do you get for $18,995? The 2.5L model equipped with a 170-horsepower in-line five cylinder engine. It offers fuel economy that is improved by up to 10 percent over the past 2.5L model. When equipped with the five-speed manual transmission, mileage is estimated at U.S. ratings of 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. The optional six-speed automatic transmission offers U.S.-rated EPA fuel economy ratings of 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
That’s not all. Standard are split folding rear seats, aux-in for portable audio players, a leather steering wheel, unique and customizable 17-inch alloy wheels, and an eight-speaker audio system. Options you might want to consider include a kaeferfach additional glovebox that is similar to that of the original Beetle, Bluetooth technology, iPod connectivity, heated front seats, three-color interior ambient lighting, and leatherette seating surfaces.
The sportiest model is the 2.0L TSI which will have a starting MSRP of $23,395. It comes equipped with Volkswagen’s critically acclaimed 2.0-liter in-line four cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. As well as providing genuine performance, the four-cylinder engine with automatic transmission offers a U.S.-rated EPA fuel economy rating of 30 mpg highway and 22 mpg city.
Standard equipment on the 2.0L are a six-speed manual transmission, with the option of Volkswagen’s DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. Along with standard equipment from the 2.5L, also standard is Bluetooth technology, iPod connectivity, three-color ambient lighting, larger brakes with red calipers, a kaeferfach which is an additional glove box that is similar to the original Beetle, sport seat surfaces, 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, fog lights, three additional gauges on the dashboard, and alloy pedals.
In 2012, a TDI Clean Diesel model will become available, powered by VW’s highly efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder diesel engine that produces 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. This will be the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever produced, with an expected highway estimate of 40 mpg.
For the music enthusiast, the Beetle comes standard with the RCD 310 sound system with eight speakers. While the optional premium VIII audio system features a CD changer, interface for SD cards, and a touchscreen. The Beetle will also offer concert-quality sound with an available Fender Premium Audio System, designed exclusively for Volkswagen. The partnership combines quality automotive engineering and quality sound engineering where Volkswagen and Fender team up to bring the raw emotion of live music to the driving experience.
And safety features include Volkswagen’s advanced Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pumps, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in some type of accident. The Beetle is also covered under the no-charge, 3-year/36,000-mile scheduled Carefree Maintenance Program.
To be one of the first to find out when the new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle will arrive in our showrooms, make sure to follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook community to stay informed. Or contact one of our sales consultants today to have them contact you immediately when the first car arrives!
The starting MSRP of $19,995 for the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat will definitely make it a strong contender in the highly competitive midsize segment. “The 2012 Passat is a true Volkswagen, offering German engineering, class-leading standard features, and superior fuel economy, all for a remarkable value,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “Demonstrating our commitment to the American market, the car will be produced at one of the newest, most advanced, and environmentally responsible auto assembly plants in the world in Chattanooga, Tennessee.” The 2012 Passat offers exceptional standard features and premium options and will be available in three powertrains with multiple trim options, all at an equally impressive price.
The starting price of $19,995 will get you into the 2.5L with a six-speed manual transmission, giving you 170 horsepower. There are eight, count ‘em eight trim levels and standard are automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, and Volkswagen’s no-charge three-year/36,000 mile schedule Carefree Maintenance Program.
At the next level, we have the SE that starts at $23,725 and it includes additional equipment such as 17-inch alloy wheels, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, and a multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel. See the pricing chart below for more details and additional model information.
Returning to the Passat lineup for 2012 is the TDI variant that comes equipped with VW’s 2.0L turbo diesel engine that is expected to deliver 43 mpg highway, with a range of nearly 800 miles. The TDI’s base package, the SE, comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, Volkswagen’s touchscreen Premium VIII radio and six-speed manual transmission. Volkswagen’s highly regarded DSG dual-clutch gearbox is an option.
Topping the range is the powerful 3.6L VR6 that has three trim levels with a starting MSRP of $28,995. Standard is the DSG gearbox that puts out 280 horsepower. Additional standard premium features include 18-inch alloy wheels, comfort sport seats, a sunroof, and a class exclusive Fender Premium Audio System.
Specifically designed for North America, the new Passat is much larger with more rear-seat legroom. It was designed to provide premium features unique to the U.S. market but at the same time, retaining the dynamic character that is expected of the Volkswagen.
Premium options include leather seating surfaces, leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel, wood decor, ambiance lighting, memory driver’s seat, power passenger seat, a choice of Volkswagen’s RNS 315 or RNS 510 navigation systems, front fog lights with static cornering lights, and keyless access with push button start. Also available is the new Fender Premium Audio System that will combine the raw emotion of live music with the driving experience.
|2012 Passat Pricing|
|2.5L – S (man)||$19,995||16” steel wheels, six-speed manual transmission, Automatic dual-zone climate control, power locks & windows, body color mirror and door handles, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, 8-way manual driver seat, center armrest w/integrated storage box|
|2.5L – S w Appearance(auto)||$22,690||+ Six-speed automatic transmission, 16” alloy wheels, rear center armrest w/storage|
|2.5L – SE (man)||$23,725||17” alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, Multi-Function leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum trim dash and middle console, exterior chrome window trim, sliding front center armrest|
|2.5L – SE (auto)||$24,825||+ Six-speed automatic transmission|
|2.5L – SE w Sunroof||$25,625||+ Sunroof|
|2.5L – SE w Sunroof/Nav||$26,795||+ RNS 315 Navigation with Mobile Device Interface (MDI)|
|2.5L – SEL||$28,395||+ RNS 510 Navigation, Fender Premium Audio System, Homelink, comfort sport seats, interior chrome accents, wood grain interior décor, exterior chrome accents|
|2.5L – SEL Premium||$29,895||+ leather seating surfaces, keyless access and remote start, fog lights, driver seat memory, 8-way power passenger seat|
|TDI – SE||$25,995||17” alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette seating, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, Multi-Function leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum trim dash and middle console, exterior chrome window trim, sliding front center armrest|
|TDI – SE w Sunroof||$27,895||+ Six-speed DSG automatic transmission, sunroof|
|TDI – SE w Sunroof/Nav||$29,495||+ 18” alloy wheels, RNS 315 Navigation, Mobile Device Interface (MDI), fog lights, exterior chrome accents|
|TDI – SEL Premium||$32,195||+ Leather seating surfaces, comfort sport seats, keyless access and remote start, RNS 510 Navigation, Fender Premium Audio System, driver seat memory, wood grain interior décor, 8-way power passenger seat, interior chrome accents|
|3.6L – SE w Sunroof||$28,995||Six-speed DSG automatic transmission18” alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette seating, sunroof, 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, comfort sports seats, touchscreen Premium VIII radio, Fender Premium Audio System, Multi-Function leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum trim dash and middle console, exterior chrome window trim, chrome dual exhaust, fog lights, sliding front center armrest|
|3.6L – SE w Sunroof/Nav||$30,595||+ RNS 315 Navigation, MDI, exterior chrome accents|
|3.6L – SEL Premium||$32,950||Leather seating surfaces, keyless entry with remote start, RNS 510 navigation, driver seat memory, wood grain interior décor, 8-way power passenger seat, interior chrome accents|
|Destination||$770||All prices exclude destination|