The History of the Volkswagen Passat


The first generation (B1) VW Passat was introduced in Geneva, May 1973 as a 2- or 4-doors coupé with 1.3 or 1.5 litre engine. It was technically identical to Audi 80. In the end of 1974 already 430000 customers decided to buy a Passat. The first half-kombi was introduced in the spring of 1975.

Passat -78

The second generation (B2) came October (the Variant in November) 1980. It was was larger and more elegantly and better equipped than its predecessor. There were 1.6, 1.8, 2.0 and 2.2 litre engines available with effects from 55 kW/75 HP to 100 kW/136 HP, the last was called GT. The 2.0 and 2.2 litre versions had 5 cylinders. The second generation was available as 2- and 4-doors coupé , Kombi-coupé and kombi (also called Variant). Since October 1984 the Variant-version was also available as four wheel drive syncro. The Volkswagen Quantum (second generation Passat in Europe) was sold in the United States with syncro AWD. In the Quantum, the all-wheel-drive system was based on Audi 4000 mechanicals. It is strange that the Quantum Syncro was never sold in Canada, in fact the Quantum was never sold in Canada at all. The Passat G60 syncro was never sold in the United States. In February 1981 more than 2.5 million units of the Passat were sold.

Passat -81.

The third generation (B3) was introduced in Geneva 1988 as coupé and variant with 5 different engine sizes. In the autumn 1991 a 6-cylinder VR6 engine was introduced with 2792 cm3 and 128 kW/174
After 1.6 million units the 3rd Passat era found their end.

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The fourth generation (B4) 1994 to 1996
At first site a face-lifted series III. However every single body panel is changed, and VW claim a stronger, safer body shell. The obvious difference is the deletion of the groove down the sides, and the addition of a grill. The cars are mechanically similar though, except for the addition of the 1896cc TDI engine, as also found in the Golf and Audi 80. For the first time a passenger car with an engine with turbo-Diesel direct injection could be ordered. First only with 66kW and then in addition, with 82kW. 
The TDI becomes the connoisseurs choice, at least in Europe, with its mix of fantastic economy and performance. The old IDI Umwelt turbo diesel was also still available as a cheaper option oil burner, along with petrol 1.8 litre, 2.0 litre 8 valve, 2.0 litre 16 valve and 2.8 VR6 (depending on the market). 700.000 copies of the B4 were built.

Passat -96

The fifth generation (B5) was introduced in September 1996 with the following engines:
1.6 litres 74 kw/100 HP
1.8 litres 92 kw/125 HP
1.8 litre Turbo 110 kw/150 HP
2.3 litre 5 cylinder v-engine 110 kw/150 HP
2.8 litre V6 142 kw/193 HP
4.288 car's were sold in Sweden, where 4.013 was variant.

Volkswagen used the term syncro for all its four-wheel drive models, in those days with a lower case 's'. This tradition continued until last year[1998], when a new name, '4motion', came into being. There was no fixed drive ratio between front and rear axles as with the Quattro system. While driving in normal conditions there is a 50/50 power distribution between the front and rear of the car. When slippage occurs the transmission decides which wheel(s) get the most power. The system in the Passat used a viscous and an Electronic Locking Differential(EDL) that was tied into the Teves 3-chanel Anti-lock braking system to detect wheel spin. The torque split, under normal conditions was 90% front and 10% rear. When the front wheels began to slip, the viscous differential would begin to distribute as much as 90% of the power to the rear wheels. This system only split the torque front to back and not side to side as in the Audi-built Torsen system found in the current Passat V6 4motion.
There were no controls inside the car for the all-wheel-drive system, and in fact it worked so seamlessly that you would never know it was all wheel drive. With a good set snow tires for the winter instead of the all-season tires it came with, this car was a tank on snow covered roads. No mater what the road conditions were, all I had to do was put it in first and floor it and go. Even in snow!
This was also the first time the term 'EDL' was used by Volkswagen. It referred to the traction control system which relied on the ABS sensors; if any wheel began to slip, the sensor detected the sudden increase in rotational speed, the brake on that wheel being applied to prevent the slippage. At this stage, EDL was used only on the front axle, but these days, it's applied to all four wheels if they are driven. The introduction of four-wheel drive meant that there was increased drag in the drive-train and Volkswagen needed an engine with plenty of punch to give the Passat syncro sufficient performance to justify the GT label. At that time, the fastest front-wheel drive Passats were relying on the 16V engine, a unit whose high-revving character was quite unsuited to this type of car.

Passat -98

The current, sixth generation (B6) came 2001.
Volkswagen has replaced the AWD system in the syncro with a new Swedish Haldex AWD system in VW and Audi models with transverse mounted engines. These models include the Golf and Bora in Europe as well as the Audi TT and A3/S3. VW and Audi models with longitudinally mounted engines still use the Torsen AWD system, this includes the Passat V6 4motion.

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