This week I had a chance to check out a different flavor of the latest Volkswagen Passat, the sporty GT trim. Having had the current 2018 Volkswagen Passat V6 SEL in for review earlier this year, there were a few interesting things that I divulged about Volkswagen’s latest midsized sedan with a welcomed V6 engine mated to a 6-speed automated dual clutch transmission (DSG). With the Passat GT, the same formula remains only with a sportier appeal that exists on the outside of the new Passat.
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The Volkswagen Passat can be had in a range of seven different trim levels with a hint of overlaps but are defined differently due to the engine choice, which is limited to two different powertrains. At the base level, the Passat S gets the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque sending power through a 6-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels. From there, the Passat offers an R-Line trim, SE, and SEL Premium trims, which all start with the base 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. The SEL Premium trim can be had with either the base engine or the narrow-angle V6 direct-injection engine with 280 horsepower and 256 lb-ft of torque, which is found standard in my test vehicle’s GT trim.
After experiencing the Passat in a few different variations and having the GT V6 trim in my possession this week, I can now conclude that the Passat GT is the best value, especially for light-hearted enthusiasts. Though, the surprising aspect of the Passat GT, despite its sporty flair throughout the exterior, is that the drivetrain is left untouched when compared with the Passat V6 SEL Premium. The engine does well to keep things interesting and “moving forward” with authority. However, there is still the trait of rather soft dampers up front that allows the heavier front-end to loft around going over uneven and raised surfaces. The larger 19-inch wheels and tires over the 18-inchers found on the V6 SEL Premium only do so much to add to the sportiness of the Passat GT as they are the sole characteristic that’s different in terms of performance that you get on the GT trim. For all intents and purposes, the Passat V6 GT trim is more of a V6 version of the R-Line trim.
Apart from the larger wheels and tires, the Passat GT looks the part of a German sports sedan that’s poised and ready to conquer. There’s a neat red accented line above and below the front grille, R-Line bumpers, full exterior LED lighting, black-painted roof, R-Line side skirts, red-painted brake calipers, two-tone leatherette seating surfaces, and the attractive 19-inch alloy wheels. Overall, the Passat GT turns heads possibly for a couple different reasons – people looking at a sporty Volkswagen, and others attempting to figure out if they’re looking at a sporty version of the Jetta or Passat. Such a problem could be a good thing when it comes to brand recognition and concluding that Volkswagen isn’t a boring brand.
The price of the Passat GT to support my notion of it being the best buy for the midsized German cruiser is at a respectable level testing out at $29,995, which more than $5,000 less than the 2018 Passat V6 SEL Premium that I tested before. The lower price point is due to the Passat GT lacking a few features that the loaded-up V6 SEL Premium includes, such as adaptive cruise control, parking assist, fog lights, lane departure warning w/lane assist, and a Fender premium audio system. Still, the Passat GT includes the desirable features of blind-spot monitors with rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, rearview camera, and the smart keyless access with push-button start.
To view additional information and test results on the 2018 Volkswagen Passat V6, please visit the 2018 Volkswagen Passat V6 SEL Premium Review & Test Drive article here.