Volkswagen is set to release its most potent 'R' model yet - the Passat R36. Joining the Golf R32 and only the second model in the Volkswagen line-up to carry the 'R' badge the new car will be not only the fastest Passat but also the fastest estate car Volkswagen has ever produced.
The basis for the R36 is a new 3.6-litre FSI V6 engine developing 300 PS. It's mated to an ultra-responsive, six-speed DSG gearbox channelling drive through all four wheels to maximise traction. At each corner are revised springs and dampers linked to uprated brake discs and callipers to add more bite under heavy deceleration.
Clothing the mechanical changes is a bespoke bodykit which at the front incorporates a trio of deep airdams drawing a family resemblance with the Golf R32. Deep sideskirts and chrome highlights are framed by unique 18-inch wheels wrapped in 235/40 R18 tyres. At the rear a deeper bumper houses a pair of chrome-tipped tailpipes and revised light lenses. The estate version features a discreet spoiler on the trailing edge of the rear window.
Gripping the driver and front seat passenger are a set of sculpted sports seats bearing the R36 logo. The dashboard is finished in brushed aluminium panels set into which are a set of unique dials joined by a sports steering wheel and bespoke 'R' polished pedals.
Equipment levels, as with the standard Passat, remain high with ABS, ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), Xenon headlights, 2Zone electronic climate control, a heated windscreen and seats, six airbags and a radio/CD player.
The R36 takes its place as the fastest production Passat with a claimed 0 to 62 mph time of 5.6 seconds. The estate version which, like the saloon, is fitted with 4MOTION all-wheel drive returns a time of 5.8 seconds. Both are electronically limited to maximum of 155 mph.
The Passat R36 makes its public debut at the Essen Motorshow on November 30th. Prices will be announced closer to the UK launch in 2007.Published 18 November 2006