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Sketches and first details of the next-generation Volkswagen Passat have been released ahead of its online debut in early July. Codenamed B8, the new D-segment competitor promises to be lighter, faster, more fuel efficient and packed with more technology than ever before.

Although we do sort of know what the next Passat will look like, these sketches do provide us a clearer look at some of the details, including the sleek headlight and grille assembly, a scalloped area under the tail lights and the dual exhaust exits. With such a low-slung roofline, one has to wonder if Volkswagen would still feel the need to make a separate CC model.

Seems like that roofline won’t affect interior space, however – despite the exterior dimensions actually being slightly smaller than the current B7, the cabin will be roomier with more leg- and headroom, as well as a bigger boot.

A total of three optional full LED headlights will be offered as an option to the standard halogen headlights, ranging from a basic reflector unit all the way to full-blown projector headlights with Dynamic Light Assist that controls the high beam through a camera as well as U-shaped daytime running lights with 32 LEDs.

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In keeping with the times, the B8 Passat will be up to 85 kg lighter, thanks to a crash diet that includes the use of ultra high-strength steel and aluminium in the construction, lighter turbocharged four-cylinder engines and even optimised wire gauges for the electrical system. Despite this, both the sedan and estate will feature significantly stiffer bodies than before.

Powertrain wise, the B8 Passat will come with a host of engines ranging from 120 PS to 280 PS. A highlight is the recently-announced 2.0 TDI biturbo which develops an impressive 240 PS and 500 Nm while consuming just 5 litres of fuel per 100 km, mated to a seven-speed DSG and 4Motion all-wheel drive.

A plug-in hybrid will also be offered, with a 156 PS 1.4 TSI engine and a 109 PS electric motor combining to provide 211 PS, a 0-100 km/h time of under eight seconds, a 210 km/h top speed, a 50 km all-electric range and a total range of over 1,000 km.

The new Passat will also bring a whole host of new technology – it will be the first Vokswagen to feature an Active Info Display, a configurable 12.3-inch LCD display that replaces the analogue instruments of the current car. It will be augmented by a head-up display – another Volkswagen first – as well as the next generation of Volkswagen’s Modular Infotainment Systems (MIB) that will feature larger, higher-resolution touchscreens, faster processors and MirrorLink smartphone integration.

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Also new is a tablet-controllable rear-seat entertainment system, 360-degree Area View with a new obstacle detection feature, next-generation Park Assist that can now perform semi-automatic forward parking into perpendicular spaces, Trailer Assist, variable-ratio steering and an Easy Close system for the estate that, when activated, will close the tailgate when the user walks away with the key.

We will also see the beginnings of an automated driving system with the B8 – a new Traffic Assist system uses the adaptive cruise control and Lane Assist function to steer, brake and accelerate the car automatically at speeds under 60 km/h. The system only works with the driver’s hands on the steering wheel – without them, the Emergency Assist will provide an acoustic and visual warning, jolt the driver by braking briefly and hard and, if the driver is still inactive, bring the car to a safe stop in its own lane.

Existing driver assist systems have also been revised. The City Emergency Braking system now reacts to pedestrians instead of just vehicles, while the Side Assist blind-spot monitoring system will now also countersteer if the driver continues to steer into an occupied lane.

GALLERY: B8 Volkswagen Passat leaked