This is the second-generation Volkswagen Passat NMS (New Midsize Sedan), which has been introduced in China, where it will be built by the SAIC-VW joint venture. Although not official, the new model could be a preview for the next-generation Passat destined for the United States.

Before proceeding any further, the Passat NMS is unique to selected markets like China and the US, hence the differentiation from the Passat we are familiar with. These changes aren’t just visual either, as they also involved the vehicle’s dimensions.

Compared to its predecessor, the new Passat NMS now measures 4,933 mm long (+61 mm), 1,836 mm wide (+2 mm) and 1,465 mm tall (-7 mm). The sedan comes with a more substantial wheelbase at 2,871 mm (+68 mm), which also exceeds the European Passat’s 2,791 mm. As a result, you get more legroom in the rear – an important requirement in the Chinese market based on the number of long-wheelbase versions of standard cars sold there.

The switch to the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform is largely the reason for the physical resizing, and there’s also some new styling to go along with it. On the exterior, the Arteon and Phideon are strong influences on what you see, including the shape of the grille, light clusters (headlamps and taillights), and the central positioning of the model lettering.

Moving inside, the dashboard layout differs from the Passat and Arteon, whereby the full-width slats that merge with the air-con vents are no longer present. Instead, the infotainment unit occupies the centre of the dash, with the centre vents now positioned closer to the climate control switchgear.

A 10.2-inch digital instrument panel, 9.2 touchscreen infotainment system, 10-colour ambient lighting system, powered seats, panoramic sunroof, head-up display, leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control, collision warning, and Park Assist are just some of the available equipment for the Passat NMS.

Under the bonnet, there’s a 2.0 litre four-cylinder TSI engine that comes in two states of tune – 186 PS and 220 PS; the only transmission option here is a seven-speed DSG automatic. Later on, a plug-in hybrid version will be introduced, combining a 1.4 litre TSI engine with an electric motor to output 211 PS/400 Nm and consume just 1.4 l/100 km.

The European Passat will also receive an update based on the spyshots we have posted in the past, although it is highly unlikely that the final design will be identical to the Passat NMS here. Which of the two do you prefer?

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