Cars are usually categorized in either premium or regular terms. The eighth-generation Volkswagen Passat B8 is a tough one because it can sit comfortably within either of that definition. Targeted at the mid-range segment, it had an appeal stretched right into the premium mid-size executive saloon segment. Launched in 2015, the Passat B8 wowed many supporters of the Wolfsburg maker with its all-new design and inside and out.
We got our hands on the Passat B8 2.0 TSI Highline which is a Golf GTI but with a sedan appearance. Why would I say so is because first up from the back you will notice the 380 badge which lets you know it has the powerful EA888 2.0-liter engine upfront which pushes out 217hp and 350Nm of torque. Those are the figure you get from a hot hatchback but it is now in a premium sedan. To put those power down, you also get the same 6-speed wet clutch DSG gearbox and the DSG is one of the best gearboxes you can get in the current market.
Believe it or not, the Passat B8 2.0 TSI Highline also comes with the electronic differential lock (XDS) which applies individual brakes on the inner wheel to reduce understeer around bends. The availability of this XDS also enhances the car’s ability to attack the corners at a higher pace. Not only that, but the 2.0TSI Highline Passat also comes with the Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) which adapts the gearbox, throttle mapping and suspension damping settings to five different modes which are Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual.
The Passat B8 2.0 TSI Highline also sits on the company’s clever MQB (Modular Transverse Matrix) platform which was way stiffer than before but light enough to contribute a whopping 85kg of weight saving when compared to the B7 predecessor. The Passat B8 is a few millimeters shorter than its predecessor but it is wider by 12 mm than and its wheelbase is 79 mm longer. The roofline is a 14 mm lower which gives the car a better proportion when compared to the B7.
The boot space is class-leading in size as it has 586-litre which is 21-litres more than the old B7 and it is larger than most its rival. If you want to extend this space, use the boot levers in the boot to fold the rear bench to open up 1,152-litres of space. All this space makes weekend groceries or IKEA shopping easy with the Passat B8.
Moving inside you will be greeted with instant luxury and elegance. The center dash is covered with wood trim and piano black finish which makes the interior look more expensive. There are tons of gadget in the car such as the tri-zone climate control, rear air-cond blowers, cooled glovebox, 12-way powered driver’s seat with memory and massage function, keyless entry and start, electronic parking brake with auto hold, Park Pilot which parks the car itself and a beautiful leather-wrapped multifunctional steering wheel with paddle shifters.
There is slight downside whereby the audio quality was lacking in the low-end bass but this can easily be solved if you opt for the additional Passat Sound & Style accessories which will include a Helix subwoofer, 5 channel amplifier, and a digital sound processor so that you can set it to suit your ears. The Passat B8 2.0TSI Highline also comes with an Active Info Display which is similar to the Volkswagen MK7.5 GTI except for the color of the dials but I suppose some coding with Vagcom or VCDS will get you the exact color.
The center console houses the 8.0-inch Composition Media just like the one on the Golf GTI and it is a treat to use with the superb screen resolution and animation. You will also get the digital dials such as the oil temperature, boost gauge and many more with this infotainment.
The Passat B8 2.0TSI Highline flow beautifully on our Malaysian B-road with a relaxed rhythm and without you realizing it, you are covering ground with speeds in a safe manner. Long-distance journeys with the car couldn’t be more refined as the seats are superbly supportive and Volkswagen perfected the formula of a smooth and refined car. The Passat B8 2.0TSI Highline makes every sense as it is a car with top quality and it lessens the gap between the type of family or executive car. It is truly affordable, handles sharp and has the power you need which leaves you with a nice feeling when you’re sat in the car or just looking at it from your office window.