The 2012 will retain its transversely mounted engine, although it will ride on an all-new platform. Dubbed MQB, the architecture will prevent VW from putting obscure engines such as the ill-fated W8 in the Passat and should ensure that VW doesn't move the Passat too far up-scale. The new MQB will underpin several of VW's mid-size vehicles, including the Passat sedan and estate, the next-generation Passat CC and a new sedan and SUV headed for the U.S.
The decision to use the MQB platform rather than the architecture that underpins the Audi A4/A5 rules out any longitudinally-mounted engines VW has in its wings. Therefore the German automaker will make use of several smaller gas and diesel engines, most of which will offer a hybrid power-train. According to a UK media report, the Passat will use 1.4L and 1.6L gas engines that utilize the automaker's 'Twin Charger' technology which combines turbo and supercharging technologies. Diesel power-plant choices will include a 1.6L and a 2.0L. There is also the strong possibility that VW will offer the 2012 in VR6 and VR6 TDI guises. The gas VR6 would likely make about 300 horsepower but the real story would be the TDI versions. Sources say the 3.0L diesel V6 would produce 300 horsepower along with a stout 443 lb-ft of torque.Both VR6 models would be made available with VW's eight-speed dry-clutch DSG and all-wheel drive.
Stylistically, the 2012 Passat should be more evolutionary rather than revolutionary. It will lose the majority of its chrome trim and will have the general look of an up-scale vehicle. Although its dimension will stay relatively the same, look for the next-gen Passat to go on a hefty diet with a heavy emphasis on aerodynamics.
The 2012 Passat might be shedding some weight, but that doesn't mean VW will skimp on the car's technical features many of which are futuristic and have never even seen automotive applications. Look for the 2012 Passat to sport an air suspension, a low-friction 4Motion all-wheel drive system, airless tires, a wiper-less window cleaning system by Bosch, optional rear-wheel steering, an around view camera, ESP with counter-steer assistance, a cruise control system that will know the speed limit and LED-film taillights.
The next-generation VW Passat was originally scheduled for a 2013/2014 debut, but look for it to hit showrooms sometime in 2012. Singapore VW enthusiasts will need to make do with the recently updated Passat with DSG in the meantime.