Considering Volkswagen has pledged to produce only electric cars in Europe from 2033, you're probably looking at the final Passat generation with combustion engines. We'd reckon it would be a mistake to retire the name in the EV era given its importance, so there's a good chance it will survive when ICEs will be abolished. After all, the folks from Wolfsburg have already confirmed iconic monikers such as Golf and GTI are not going anywhere.
The new Passat we photographed at the 2023 IAA Mobility show in Munich doesn't carry the "Made in Germany" label. With the new model internally codenamed B9, the VW Group is moving production of its midsize car to Bratislava in Slovakia where it will be built alongside the next-generation Superb. While the Passat is waving goodbye to the saloon body style, Skoda will continue to sell both the liftback and estate. Fun fact – the new Passat has actually been developed by the Czech automaker.
2024 Volkswagen Passat Variant at 2023 IAA Munich
As for the car at hand, it's surely among the most expensive 2024 Passat builds available. Not only is it an eHybrid version with an electrified powertrain, but it's also the flagship R-Line trim level with aero-optimised 19-inch wheels. Thankfully, there are no fake quad exhaust tips sticking out from the rear as was the case with the previous-generation Passat R-Line after it received the mid-cycle facelift.
It's worth noting that Volkswagen has made the Passat much bigger considering the overall length has increased by 144 millimetres (5.7 inches) to 4,917 mm (193.5 in) while the width is up by 20 mm (0.8 in) to 1,852 mm (72.9 in). The engineers stretched the estate's wheelbase by 50 mm (1.97 in) to 2,841 mm (111.8 in) for extra rear legroom.
Since it’s mechanically related more than ever with the Superb Combi, the cargo area is predictably cavernous. The volume is up by 40 litres (1.41 cubic feet) to 690 l (24.3 cu ft) with the rear seats in place. Fold the bench and you have 1,920 l (67.8 cu ft), which is 140 litres (4.9 cu ft) more than before.
VW will have the new Passat on sale in Europe in Q1 2024. Technically, the saloon is not dead since you can still buy one in China where it's locally made. In fact, the spirit of the Phaeton remains alive in the Phideon, a fullsize saloon, albeit not as sophisticated as the defunct premium saloon. Speaking of which, VW wanted to give the Phaeton a second generation with V8 TDI and W12 engines but the project was ultimately aborted.