Many have already struck up the final requiem for the VW Passat with its combustion engine. Hasty. The ninth generation of the company car, which has been a success for decades, will be launched next year. With one caveat. The limousine will no longer exist. Only the station wagon. The Lower Saxony can easily get over this reduction to just one model variant, since the Passat sedan almost led a shadowy existence anyway. If you absolutely want a sedan in this category, you will find it at Skoda, who still rely on both versions. At VW, they value the fact that the Passat was not developed by Skoda, but was a cross-brand affair.

The further developed MQB evo modular transverse matrix also forms the basis for the ninth Passat generation. You can tell at various points that this is not a word created by resourceful marketing specialists, starting with the drives: There will be two PHEV versions of the Passat eHybrid Variant: One with a system output of 150 kW / 204 PS and one with 200 kW / 272 PS. The capacity of the battery increases to 19.7 kilowatt hours (net, predecessor 10.6 kWh), which enables an all-electric range of around 100 km. So far it was 61 kilometers. In line with the larger capacity, the charging power of the onboard charger has also increased from 3.6 kW to a reasonable 11 kW, which now shovels power into the batteries with a maximum of 50 kW. The batteries are charged from 10 to 80 percent in around 25 minutes. The electric motor contributes up to 85 kW / 116 hp to the propulsion. The latest version of the 1.5-liter TSI turbo petrol engine is used as the combustion engine, which according to VW results in a total range of more than 1,000 kilometers.

Electrification doesn’t stop there. The 1.5 liter eTSI unit is fitted with a 48-volt MHEV module (belt starter generator) and has an output of 110 kW / 150 hp. In addition, VW offers two turbo petrol engines (2.0 TSI) with 150 kW / 204 PS and 195 kW / 265 PS. The diesel (2.0 TDI) lives on in the Passat B9 in three versions: with 90 kW / 122 PS, 110 kW / 150 PS and 142 kW / 193 PS. The two top models with combustion engines are combined with all-wheel drive, with all others the front axle is in charge. The engines are combined with six- or seven-speed DSG gearboxes. There is no longer a manual switch.

In line with the new drives, VW has also put a lot of work into the chassis. With the optional DCC Pro, variable two-valve dampers are used in which the rebound and compression stages can be controlled separately. The dampers react up to 1,000 times per second to vertical movements caused by the current driving situation. This means that even in the Comfort driving program, the dampers can harden if the situation requires it. For example at higher speeds and a change of direction.

The conductor is the driving dynamics manager known from the Golf GTI, which can intervene wheel-selectively, processes the data from the sensors up to 200 times per second and makes lightning-fast decisions using the electronic differential lock (XDS). “In the event of conflicts, the driving dynamics manager is always in charge. He is responsible for the driving dynamics,” explains technician Lars Frömmig. The VW technicians have adapted the four-link rear axle with new kinematics, among other things. “Made faster”, as Lars Frömmig calls it, so that it meets the requirements of the new chassis. 15-inch tires are a thing of the past The ninth generation has 16 to 19-inch tires.

The boundaries between combustion engine architecture and the modular system of electric vehicles are fluid. This is not only the case with the chassis, but also with the driving assistants and the infotainment. In the B9 Passat, this is based on the fourth generation of the VW infotainment platform MIB (modular infotainment kit), with which the tiresome software problems that hailed the market launch of the Golf 8 should be a thing of the past. The operation should also be made more intuitive thanks to virtual direct selection buttons. The command center is an up to 15-inch touchscreen and the digital instruments are displayed on a 10.25-inch screen, which is now supported by a full windshield head-up display, instead of the previous budget variant with a small folding plastic screen. The automatic lever has moved to the steering wheel column so that the feeling of space in the interior is more airy.

Speaking of space. The Passat is now 4.917 meters long (plus 14.4 centimeters). This increases both the wheelbase by five centimeters to 2.841 meters (legroom plus 50 millimeters) and the trunk volume to 690 liters (plus 40 liters). If you fold down the backrests of the rear seat, it is 1,920 liters (plus 140 liters). The new Passat will be available from dealers from February 2024 and will cost at least 39,990 euros.