For 2018, Volkswagen is introducing a new Passat GT model. The GT introduces some sporty touches to the Passat line. The Passat has mostly been about sensible family transportation until now, excluding the 2003-2004 Passat W8 perhaps. It would have been very easy for Volkswagen to come up with a sporty version of the Passat but they instead have gone for more luxurious models. It looks like Volkswagen is finally dipping their toes into the sports sedan waters to judge the public’s reaction with the Passat GT.


2018 Volkswagen Passat GT - Driven
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The basic Passat is a terrific automobile to start out with. Its exterior design is clean and modern, and in a world of ugly curvy designs, it really stands out.

The GT announces its presence with a unique front appearance, combining a different front bumper and a black grille with a red accent just like a GTI.

They also include blacked-out side window trim and roof along with an attractive rear spoiler.


2018 Volkswagen Passat GT - Driven
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Inside the GT are two-tone sport seats that look very expensive but lack the big bolsters found in real sports cars. The dash layout is typical VW with the GT adding some carbon-looking inserts.

The GT seats are covered in leatherette which is actually preferred to real leather due to its better durability.

Plus, it feels like the same thing, so most people won’t notice.

The front seats are extremely comfortable, and you can drive the Passat for hours without getting tired. Three people can easily fit in the back comfortably without complaint. The GT also features a 6.3-inch screen for the audio system and VW Car-net infotainment system. A nice feature of most Volkswagens these days that remains in the Passat GT is the very simple to use climate control system. With three big round knobs, it is easy to make adjustments without taking your eyes off the road.

Drivetrain and Performance

2018 Volkswagen Passat GT - Driven
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Under the hood of the GT is the biggest engine you can get in the Passat - the VR6.

The 3.6-liter, narrow-angle, V-6 produces 280 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm.

While most of the competition is going with turbocharged four cylinders, Volkswagen is sticking with the V-6 as their top engine. Toyota still offers a V-6 in the Camry, but that 3.5 V-6 makes 301 horsepower, significantly more than the Volkswagen. The only transmission choice on the Passat is a six-speed DSG with wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The power is routed to only the front wheels, and there is no option for AWD.

The end result of the big engine under the hood of this 3571-pound Passat is very positive. The engine comes with a tuned exhaust that sounds very muscular at idle. When you start up the engine, you can tell that there is something special under the hood, and you want to drive with the window down so you can hear it. It feels torquey and big which is a really nice feeling in the current small engine era. There is plenty of low-end torque, but with only 280 horsepower moving this much car, it is not terribly fast. It will do 0-60 in just under 6 seconds which is pretty good, but maybe because of the exhaust sound, you expect more. On the plus side, the GT returns decent fuel economy with EPA ratings of 28 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in the city.

2018 Volkswagen Passat GT - Driven
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The biggest change to the GT happens in the suspension department, including stiffer shocks and bigger anti-roll bars. The GT is also 15-mm lower to the ground and rides on 235/40-19 all season tires.

The stiffer suspension is a welcome addition and never feels harsh while taking advantage of the Passat’s stiff structure.

The Passat GT handles very well at street speeds, but if you push too hard, you will find that understeer rises its ugly head - until the computer steps in, of course. There are two issues with the handling that you will soon notice. The first is that the all-season tires do not grip very well and the second is that you cannot turn off the stability or traction controls. This is unfortunate because you can feel that there is great promise in there.


2018 Volkswagen Passat GT - Driven
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What you feel overall from the Passat GT is that it is a very nice family car that has lots of room and is very comfortable, even if your significant other is not a car enthusiast. It will provide you with some fun behind the wheel but, probably on purpose, Volkswagen has stopped short of making a GTI version of the Passat. The GT is very nice, but we kept wishing for more. More power, more grip, and a manual transmission would be nice.

The upside of this is that the Passat GT is actually quite a bargain. Our fully loaded GT had no options and cost just $29,145. That is a lot of car for what is essentially economy car money. A similar Camry will easily cost you $5000 more and is not as much fun to drive. You should grab one before they figure out that they are charging too little and raise prices.

Further reading

2018 Volkswagen Passat GT - Driven
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Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT.

2016 Volkswagen Passat High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen Passat.

2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line – Driven
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Read our full driven review on the 2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line.

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