Volkswagen Passat (B3)
|Also called||Volkswagen Passat Arriva (SK)|
Bratislava, Slovakia (VWBA)
|Class||Large family car
|Body style||4-door saloon/sedan
front-wheel drive or
|Platform||Volkswagen Group B3|
|Wheelbase||2,625 mm (103.3 in)
Syncro: 2,630 mm (103.5 in)
|Length||4,575 mm (180.1 in)|
|Width||1,705 mm (67.1 in)|
|Height||1,430–1,500 mm (56.3–59.1 in)|
The third generation Passat was introduced in March 1988 in Europe, 1990 in North America, and 1995 in South America. Its curvy looks were a contrast from the boxy appearance of its predecessor and owed much to the "jelly mould" style pioneered by Ford with the Sierra and Taurus. The lack of a grille made the car's front end styling reminiscent of older, rear-engined Volkswagens such as the 411, and also doubled as a modern styling trend. The styling was developed from the 1981 aerodynamic (cd 0.25) Auto 2000 concept car.
At the time it was the first Passat to be built on a Volkswagen-designed platform, rather than sharing one with an Audi saloon. The Passat B3 was designed by Volkswagen's design chief, Herbert Schäfer and,unlike equivalent Audi models, now featured a space-saving transversely mounted engine (a configuration from which future Passat models would retreat in 1996). A couple of weeks ahead of launch, press reports appeared that the forthcoming new Passat was known within the company as the first "true Hahn model" ("erster echter Hahn"), even though Carl Hahn junior had by this time already been the Volkswagen Group's chairman since 1982. The message, reflecting management priorities at the time, was that whereas recent new models from Volkswagen had unapologetically appeared to be rebadged and mildly rebodied Audis, with this model Volkswagen under Hahn now had the confidence to reassert a more distinctive identity for its cars, differentiating the Audi and Volkswagen brands more persuasively from one another in the process.
The car, although designated B3 in Volkswagen's platform nomenclature, was based largely on the A platform as used for the smaller Golf model, but was stretched in all directions. Many components are shared directly between these vehicles. Only 4-door saloon and 5-door estate versions were available, without the fastback option of previous models. It was marketed under the Passat name in all markets; in North America, this was a first.
The fuel injected petrol engines gave better performance and refinement than the carburettor units previously used. They were mounted transversely, and the floorpan was engineered to accept Volkswagen's 'Syncro' four-wheel drive system. Engine options were the 2.0 litre 16 valve engine in the GL model, 1.8 litre engine in the CL model (not available in North America, all CLs, GLs, and GLSs had the 2.0 16v), Volkswagen's new 2.8 litre VR6 engine (also used in the Golf and Corrado) in the GLX/GLS model (introduced in 1991 in Europe and 1992 in North America), and the G60 engine (only available on the Syncro model in Canada for the North American market). The VR6 engine gave the top-of-the-range Passat a top speed of 224 kilometres per hour (139 mph). The 1.9 litre diesel engine was also available as an option.
- Erich Böhme (managing editor) (15 February 1988). "Stolze Väter "Nun hat auch der amtierende VW-Chef Carl Hahn, 61, einen Kraftwagen hervorgebracht, der werksintern "erster echter Hahn" genannt wird. .....Mit dem ersten Auto, für das Hahn von der ersten Skizze an verantwortlich zeichnet, steuert VW sein Spitzenmodell technisch und stilistisch auf einen radikal neuen Kurs - erst die von Hahn freigegebene Neukonstruktion macht den Passat in dritter Generation zu einem wahren Wolfsburger..."". 7/1988. SPIEGEL-ONLINE. p. 203. Retrieved 2013-05-16.