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This is it, the B8 Volkswagen Passat in Malaysia, in its full glory. Set to be officially launched later this month, the latest D-segment sedan from Wolfsburg will replace the B7, which has been on sale here since 2011, first as a CBU import before local assembly started in 2012 in Pekan. Like its predecessor, the 2015 European Car of the Year is CKD assembled in Malaysia.

UPDATE: Full gallery of the Passat 1.8 TSI Comfortline added

The eighth-gen Passat – which sits on VW’s modular MQB platform and is up to 90 kg overall lighter – measures 4,767 mm long, 1,832 mm wide and 1,456 mm tall. That makes it 2 mm shorter, 12 mm wider and 14 mm lower compared to the B7. The overall effect of the wider stance and lower roofline is enhanced by the impression given by the wide new face. It’s immediately more handsome and more premium-looking.

Despite the slightly shorter overall length, the wheelbase has been stretched by 79 mm to 2,791 mm, which means a shorter overhangs and a larger cabin. There’s a bigger boot too, up 21 litres to 586 litres, so it’s better packaging overall.

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A total of two TSI direct-injection turbocharged engines with BlueMotion Technology and three trim levels will be available. The range starts with the 1.8 TSI Trendline, powered by a 1.8 litre unit. It comes with 180 PS and 250 Nm of torque, and is paired to a seven-speed DSG (dry) twin-clutch automatic gearbox. Compared to the sole 1.8 TSI engine in the B7 Passat, this new motor gets 20 PS more. There’s a higher-spec variant with the same powertrain, the 1.8 TSI Comfortline.

The handsome grey car you see here is the range-topping 2.0 TSI Highline. Under the hood is a 2.0 litre engine with 220 PS and 350 Nm of torque, paired to a six-speed DSG (wet) twin-clutch automatic. This is the same powertrain that moves the Mk7 Golf GTI, with different tuning.

The boot badge reads ‘380 TSI’, and this refers to a ‘performance level’ of sorts, roughly tagged to the amount of torque the variant produces. The 1.8 TSI sports a ‘280 TSI’ badge. By the way, that’s the same emblem on the boot of the Jetta facelift that was launched last month. That C-segment sedan is powered by a 1.4 TSI engine with 150 PS/250 Nm.

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The Passat Trendline comes with 16-inch ‘Aragon’ alloys, front and rear fog lamps and LED tail lamps on the outside. Inside, the seats are manual with adjustable lumbar, and there’s a Composition colour five-inch touchscreen, colour multi-info display, multi-function steering, push start button, electric foldable wing mirrors with heating, plus front and rear Park Distance Control (PDC).

The entry-level car also comes with an electric parking brake with auto hold, Driver Alert System (fatigue detection) and auto lights/wipers. The air con system is a Climatronic three-zone unit with rear vents.

Building on the Trendline’s kit list, the 1.8 TSI Comfortline adds more flash. The wheels are 17-inch ‘Istanbul’ units (on 215/55R17 ContiPremiumContact 5 tyres), and the headlamps are full LEDs, with LED daytime running lights. Those should comfortably set it apart from the Trendline.

The Comfortline’s cabin specs include some items that some expect in a D-segment sedan. VW’s ‘KESSY’ keyless entry is added to the push start button, and the seats are in ‘Vienna’ part leather. The driver sits on a chair that’s 12-way adjustable with memory and massage. The touchscreen audio system is a Composition 6.5-inch unit, and there’s Park Assist and a reverse camera too.

Other upgrades from the Trendline include cruise control with speed limiter, steering paddle shifters, powered boot (via foot under bumper and key fob) and a chrome package to liven up the dashboard. VW expects the Comfortline to be the best seller in the range.

The 2.0 TSI Highline you see here is packed to the rafters with toys, but from the outside, the only item that sets it apart from the top 1.8 is the 18-inch ‘Dartford’ alloys (on 235/45R18 ContiSportContact 5 tyres) and the above-mentioned ‘380 TSI’ badging. There are also nicer twin integrated chrome exhaust outlets on either side, as opposed to the regular pair of pipes on the left side on other variants.

Inside, the top B8 Passat adds on an electric rear screen blind, Active Info Display (a cool digital meter panel in the style of Audi’s virtual cockpit), ambient lighting, ‘Brilliant Pine’ wood trim (as opposed to ‘Silver Diamond’ in the other variants), Lane Assist and a more advanced media unit – the Discover 6.5-inch touchscreen system with MirrorLink and navigation.

The most powerful Passat also comes with some chassis enhancements to match the extra speed. The 2.0 TSI gets the GTI-like XDS electronic differential lock (minute braking on the inside wheel when cornering, combats understeer) and Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC). The latter brings active damping and driving modes (Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Individual).

Volkswagen Passenger Car Malaysia (VPCM) – which is previewing the car to the media in Langkawi today – said that it is still working on getting the best prices, and estimates would be given in one to one and a half week’s time. VPCM brand director Roland Ooi says that the company is seeking to offer incentives to early birds. The B8 Passat, which is Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) certified, is set to be officially launched later this month.

GALLERY: Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TSI Highline


GALLERY: Volkswagen Passat 1.8 TSI Comfortline