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Volkswagen gives the Passat a GT version

Adds much-needed sportiness to the family sedan

If there's one sedan that seriously needs a dash of sportiness, it's the Passat. PHOTO FROM VOLKSWAGEN

Volkswagen has just revealed a limited-production GT version of the Passat at the 2018 North American International Auto Show, and the images released by the manufacturer make us wish this spiced-up family sedan would make its way to Philippine shores. Sadly, according to VW, it’s only going to be available in the US, where a small number of lucky buyers will be able to enjoy this tasty model for just under $30,000 (or as little as P1,500,000). Life as a car buyer sometimes really isn’t fair.

We like those red lines that outline the grille. PHOTO FROM VOLKSWAGEN

Based on the already sporty R-Line, the Passat GT greets potential buyers with a more dynamic appearance compared to the normal variants, including a front bumper that features a honeycomb grille, GT badges, gorgeous 19-inch Tornado wheels, and a lowered suspension that makes the whole car look more planted. A black roof, mirror casings, door and window trim, red brake calipers and prominent dual rear pipes add to the buffed exterior, with customers being able to have their own example delivered in one of four colors: Pure White, Reflex Silver, Platinum Gray or Deep Black.

Red brake calipers peek through the wheels. PHOTO FROM VOLKSWAGEN

To make sure the car’s performance can deliver the promise its appearance is making, Volkswagen has given the Passat GT a good serving of German oomph under the hood in the form of a 3.6-liter VR6 engine that pumps out 280hp at 6,200rpm and 350Nm at 2,500rpm. VW already sells a V6-powered Passat in the States (called the SEL Premium), but being the flagship model, it is more geared toward comfort and luxury. The new GT, on the other hand, seems to be aimed squarely at drivers who are looking for a more dynamic experience while still wanting to get the benefits of a four-door midrange family sedan. In a sense, then, the Passat GT is like the Golf GTI for grown-ups.

Dual tailpipes inform the guy behind you that you're driving a special car. PHOTOS FROM VOLKSWAGEN

Inside, this car comes with all the usual creature comforts, including a leather-wrapped steering wheel that also holds the paddle shifters for the six-speed dual-clutch transmission, an eight-way power driver’s seat, and Volkswagen’s Composition Media infotainment unit with a 6.3-inch touchscreen that lets you connect your phone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and also supports voice control. A piano-black center console and black leatherette seats round out the subtly sporty interior, while the dual-zone automatic climate control ensures you will stay cool when admiring the cabin.

The Composition Media infotainment system's 6.3-inch touchscreen display will make rush-hour traffic more bearable. PHOTOS FROM VOLKSWAGEN

The Passat GT is expected to hit US showrooms in the second quarter of 2018. Volkswagen emphasized during the launch that the car had been designed at the company’s North American engineering hub in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and that the concept had been based on extensive feedback from customers and dealers in the country. This should give VW aficionados in the Philippines a glimmer of hope: If only there are enough customers to ask the local distributor to create a special model for our market, we may just end up with our very own GT. It’s worth a try, don’t you think?

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.