A family sedan you’ll want to drive to work eight days a week
Peruse the New Car pages on this site and it soon becomes clear that sport sedans are in fashion. From the Acura TL to the Volvo S40, nearly every manufacturer has something intended for the sedan buyer seeking style and performance. One of the many entrants in that slice of the market is the Volkswagen Passat, a car that capably caters to those shoppers with powerful engines, a sleek design, and impressive handling. Be that as it may, not everyone looks at the Passat, and Volkswagen in general, as a top player in the performance game. By the looks of the Passat R GT Concept car, it would appear that the folks at VW aim to change that. Test drive a 2006 Passat here in the States and the most you’ll unleash is 280 horsepower. The Passat R GT packs 575 horsepower.
The Volkswagen Passat R GT Concept car started its life as a European-spec 2006 model with a 3.2-liter V6, a Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) automatic transmission, and 4Motion all-wheel drive. To warrant the R GT designation, a twin turbo conversion package has been added along with big Brembo brakes and meaty 19-inch Michelin tires. Move inside past the Candy White exterior to find a black leather interior outfitted with technology like multiple iPods and a navigation system.
Volkswagen chose to unveil the Passat R GT Concept and the race-prepped Jetta R GT at the 2005 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, home to countless vendors and manufacturers focused on increasing their share of the aftermarket. Until this year, Volkswagen had never officially taken part in the festivities, though individual tuners and customizers had their own VWs on display. The Passat R GT Concept car marks Volkswagen’s desire to challenge the likes of Honda and Subaru, two competitors that have long enjoyed a strong and lucrative following in the aftermarket community. And just to make sure its message was heard, Volkswagen presented the Passat R GT, a 575-horsepower sleeper that easily dismisses Audi A4s and Infiniti G35s and moves right into BMW M5 territory.
Proving that the Volkswagen Passat R GT Concept car is more than a pretty face, engineers squeezed in a 3.2-liter V6 with twin Garrett turbochargers and twin intercoolers. Add in custom exhaust and intake manifolds and the result is a 575-horsepower German super sedan. Complementing the air-gulping motor is VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) automatic transmission. The entire package rides on a coil-over suspension and stops with Brembo discs that measure 365mm in front and 365mm in the rear. The Volkswagen Passat R GT Concept meets the road through 245/30 Michelin Pilot Sport2 tires that envelop 19 x 9-inch Avus forged aluminum wheels.
The Volkswagen Passat R GT Concept car takes a toned-down approach when compared to the Jetta R GT, a model boasting four Recaro seats and a full roll cage. In contrast, the Passat R GT heads in the direction of convenience with two integrated iPods, gaming courtesy of Sony’s PlayStation, and a premium audio and navigation system. Seats are covered in black leather, and white interior accents coordinate with the Candy White exterior paint.
For sport sedan enthusiasts, the Volkswagen Passat R GT Concept car is a sight to behold. Sprayed in Candy White and accented by ghostly barcode lines running just left of center, this shapely four-door has that enviable “look fast sitting still” appearance. Adding some visual contrast are tinted windows, bright brake calipers behind dark alloy wheels trimmed with chrome, and flared rocker panels. The front end features a reworked bumper that hangs lower to the ground, massive air inlets, and an orange and chrome R GT badge. Swing around to the rear and discover a more aggressive rear fascia, below which sit two expansive exhaust outlets.
Derek Jenkins, Volkswagen’s chief designer, has a long list of catchy nicknames for the Passat R GT Concept car, such as “Autobahn Blaster” and “M5 Killer.” It takes some brass to so blatantly denounce the acclaimed BMW, but Jenkins obviously believes his 575-horsepower ride has what it takes to dethrone the 500-horsepower M5. Unfortunately, the Passat R GT will likely steer clear of the production line, at least with nearly 600 ponies under the hood. So, Passats with insane horsepower ratings may not be on the agenda. However, Jenkins suggests the powers that be in Wolfsburg need to hear from enthusiasts interested in Volkswagens with serious performance.
BMW M5 owners need not worry about a VW badge in their rearview mirrors quite yet. Unfortunately, the chance of a Volkswagen Passat R GT Concept car graduating to production is nil, at least not one with 575 horsepower. But as is the case with the Jetta R GT Concept, this juiced Passat shows buyers and members of the aftermarket scene what can be done with a VW. More importantly, the Passat R GT Concept car is the perfect tool with which Volkswagen can gauge public interest in a possible line of hot rod products along the same lines as DaimlerChrysler’s SRT and Ford’s SVT.
Photos courtesy of Thom Blackett and Volkswagen of America