VW Passat VR6: 4Motion with Luxurious Elan

The 2008 VW Passat VR6, with the all-wheel drive system VW labels “4Motion,” redefines Volkswagen.
Having recently tested the Audi S5 Quattro, it is safe to say the similarity in Quattro and 4Motion is sufficient to categorize the two systems as the same.
Remember when Audi became unbeatable in international auto racing? It was the FIA’s governing body for the “sport” that declared Quattro an “unfair advantage” over the competition. The FIA disallowing Audi’s use of Quattro in racing is tantamount to penalizing better engineering and design. This brings FIA integrity into serious question, as the purpose of racing has always been to improve engineering and design.
The Passat VR6 4Motion is literally alone in its class. There is no other car at the $40M level comparable in performance, quality and value. Every nuance of the car exudes a luxurious quality of design character and flawless fabrication.
With a body shape as aerodynamic as most aircraft and finished with greater finesse, the Passat overshadows Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and Infiniti in the criteria by which such measure is made.
The 3.6 liter V6 engine puts 280 horses and 265 pounds of torque to all four wheels with the same effectiveness as Audi’s vaunted Quattro system, ensuring the most awesome high-speed handling imaginable. From a safety perspective, the Passat is far beyond mere traction control systems and related power distribution technologies for maximum road holding capacity.
Pre-crash safety is as good as it gets with 4Motion’s accident avoidance capabilities, far better than any other car outside the VW family, i.e. its big brother, Audi Quattro. Other safety features are maximized with the passenger cage cradled in a cocoon of airbags from any angle and surrounded by a body structure that provides maximum strength at critical impact points to preserve the greatest possible dimensional integrity.
The strength of the car can be felt in the solid feel of the body as the doors, deck or hood are closed, as every part secures into its precision fit gasket-rimmed or perfectly gap-gauged opening.
Passat offers its most outstanding characteristic in the most important area of ownership considerations in any car: driving response. Beyond engineering, Passat is second to none in driving pleasure and satisfaction. Punch the throttle, and the car moves instantly with sure-footed, solid traction. On twisting curves and tight, hairpin switchbacks, Passat sticks to the road as if it were gravity incarnate.
Passat must be driven to be adequately appreciated. Anatomically correct seat design contributes to maximum comfort in a luxurious interior with a Dynaudio music system for magnificent sound to enhance the sheer exhilaration of getting where you’re going in a car that closely approaches perfection, drivewise.
Automobile designer Jerry Cumbus is director of Automotive Research Center, a national association of auto designers, engineers and drivers.

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