VW Passat adopts ‘self-steer’ technology for next generation

One of VeeDub’s most important models, the Passat in its forthcoming 8th iteration, is about to move-on autonomous motoring in a single augmented step, writes Iain Robertson, which will either shock potential customers, or satisfy them totally.

Passat will pass the 30m mark this spring, to make it the most successful mid-size car worldwide. Making its debut at the forthcoming Geneva Motor Show, ‘Travel Assist’ is the anonymously titled feature that will allow Passat owners to experience partially-automated driving at any speed up to around 130mph, with a new IQ.DRIVE system. It will also be the first brand model worldwide, with a capacitive steering wheel. 

Detecting touch by the driver, providing an interactive interface to systems such as the aforementioned Travel Assist, it will also provide ‘Emergency Steering Assist’, which is purported to increase safety, when performing evasive manoeuvres by means of braking interventions. The new, interactive ‘IQ.LIGHT – LED matrix headlights’ serve to turn night into day, being an innovative light technology that has only been available exclusively on the current Touareg SUV so far.

The third generation of the Modular Infotainment Matrix (MIB3) also has its debut in the new Passat. App Connect, the interface for integrating smartphone apps, offers wireless integration of iPhone apps, via Apple CarPlay, for the first time ever at Volkswagen. If desired, the Passat can be permanently online using MIB3, because the new infotainment systems come with an integrated SIM card as standard. As well as improved navigation-related services, with real-time information, this encompasses fresh technologies and offers: music streaming services, Internet radio, natural (online-based) voice control, seamless use of ‘Volkswagen We’ VW’s online services and future cloud-based portable vehicle settings. It will also be possible to use smartphones as a ‘mobile key’ for opening and starting the Passat.

The MIB3 is closely integrated with VW Group’s new digital cockpit. The digital instruments have been enhanced considerably, compared to the previous system (Active Info Display). Enhanced high-contrast graphics provide a clear and high-quality display and the range of functions has been lifted to an entirely new level. Three different display configurations can be customised via the new multi-function steering wheel, using just a single button.

The drive range has also been enhanced. A perfect example of this is the Passat GTE, the plug-in hybrid variant. It will have a considerably extended electric range of up to 35-miles. At the same time, the combination of the electric motor and turbocharged engine (160kW/215bhp system power) means the Passat GTE provides the benefits of a comfortable, safe and speedy long-distance vehicle. The Passat GTE already achieves the limits set out in the Euro6d emission standard, which applies to new vehicles from 2021. All other TSI and TDI units fulfil the requirements of the Euro 6d-TEMP emission standard. In addition, every new Passat, whether petrol or diesel engined, benefits from a particulate filter.

MSG Summary

While the appearance of the new Passat looks like a minor evolution, its electronic packaging is hiked to a higher plane. We do not anticipate a major price increase to begin with, although the amount of fresh technology is sure to demand it in coming years.

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