VW Passat R36 CAR review

VW Passat R36 CAR review
This is Volkswagen’s most powerful production Passat yet - the new R36, a car that trumps the last generation’s unloved W8 in the power stakes. Big deal, you might think, but bear with us. For £30,990 you get a 3.6-litre V6 churning out 295bhp and 258lb ft, four-wheel drive versatility and subtly imposing styling.
What sets the VW Passat R36 apart visually?

It’s restrained stuff, the distinguishing marks comprising 18-inch wheels; a new bumper and integrated chrome grille that stresses the family link to the Golf R32 and Touareg R50; twin exhausts; and bi-xenon headlights. You might also spot that the R36 is lowered by 20mm and has – wait for it – blue brake calipers. The new Passat is a handsome car already, but these tweaks are very effective.

Inside the changes are more dramatic, forming a key part of the R36’s appeal. There are some of the very best seats in the business. The fabric/leather mix looks good, grips well, feels quality and is pleasingly tactile. And the range of adjustment is fantastic, with inflatable pockets – a push of a button increases or decreases their stiffness – offering extra lower and upper back support. The aggressive side bolsters use the same system. You always feel incredibly comfortable, but you’re gripped like in a bucket seat.
What’s the rest of the interior like?

A slightly mixed bag. Overall the sense is of high quality, with brushed aluminium brightening up the centre console and instrument binnacle, part-leather door cards and simple, classy instruments. But the switchgear – shared with the Golf – looks a bit cheap here, and the extravagantly stylish swoop of the doors only emphasises that the upper half of the trim is made of soft-touch plastics, while the lower half makes do with harder, cheaper-feeling material.

In the back there’s plenty of leg- and headroom for six-footers sitting behind six-footers and the boot is large and an almost exact match for the BMW 3-series' at 461 litres – though the four-wheel drive system does cost you 24 litres.
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