Volkswagen Passat goes from mild to wild with GT concept

VW livens up its family sedan at Automobility LA with more aggressive looks and a 280-hp engine.

Jon Wong Former editor for CNET Cars
Jon Wong was a reviews editor for CNET Cars. He test drove and wrote about new cars and oversaw coverage of automotive accessories and garage gear. In his spare time, he enjoys track days, caring for his fleet of old Japanese cars and searching for the next one to add to his garage.
Jon Wong
2 min read

Out of all of the entries in the midsize sedan segment, it's difficult to think of a car that is less visually impactful than the Volkswagen Passat. That's not to say that the Passat is ugly, but it's definitely one of the more conservative designs out today compared to competitors such as the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima and even the Toyota Camry.

In an attempt to attract a few more eyeballs to the Passat, Volkswagen will reveal the GT concept on Wednesday at the Automobility LA show. The sporty take on the VW sedan was developed by a US team of engineers and planners with feedback drawn from North American customers and dealers.

On the exterior, the Passat GT concept borrows inspiration from the Golf GTI hot hatchback and features a honeycomb grille with red accents. New bumpers, black window surrounds, black roof panel, red brake calipers, trunk spoiler, LED headlights, smoked taillight housings and sport muffler with dual trapezoidal exhaust outlets also dress the outside. To complete the concept's aggressive stance, it rides on a 0.6-inch lowered suspension and big 19-inch Tornado wheels that.

Volkswagen Passat GT concept gives visual punch to the dreary German sedan

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For a sportier cabin ambiance, designers add carbon-fiber pattern trim for the doors and dashboard, black and gray sport seats with contrast stitching, black headliner and piano-black center console trim.

To ensure the GT concept isn't all show and no go, a potent 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine with 280 horsepower provides motivation. That's teamed with VW's excellent six-speed, dual-clutch transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Like what you see? Make sure to let Volkswagen know because they say the GT concept previews a potential addition to the Passat lineup. The more positive feedback they hear will surely improve the chances of sharper looking Passat eventually hitting showrooms in the future.