As Europe awaits the facelifted B8 Volkswagen Passat coming next year, over in the United States, Wolfsburg is readying a new version of the midsize sedan specifically for that market. The company invited select US press to view the finished article, and while photography wasn’t allowed, it did provide them with these sketches ahead of the car’s unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show on January 14.

These renders show a more stylish Passat, in keeping with a similar redesign for the smaller Jetta. The front end adopts the latest VW corporate look with the headlights integrated into the broad grille, while the rear features a pair of sharp, heavily contoured tail lights. The more prominent creases and surfacing along the sides of the car add to the visual drama.

According to Automotive News, the new 2020 model, which will continue to be built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will ride on the same PQ46 platform as the outgoing New Midsize Sedan, which in turn is based on the European B6/B7 Passat and not the latest modular MQB architecture like the Chinese-market NMS. This means that new car’s underpinnings has been around in some form or another since 2005.

What’s more, the Passat will retain the same 2.0 litre turbocharged TSI engine, which in the current car makes 174 hp and 250 Nm of torque; unlike in other markets, it’s paired to a conventional six-speed automatic transmission. The decision to retain the platform and powertrain is likely to do with saving costs, as the midsize sedan market continues to shrink in the US.

Steven Warrick, manager of the Passat model line in North America, contended that customers had no complaints about the driving dynamics of the current model, so there was no need to change platforms, saying, “There was nothing wrong with the platform.” However, he assured that pretty much the rest of the Passat is new: “The only piece of sheet metal we didn’t change was the roof.”

Sticking to the same platform means that the Passat won’t get the latest Volkswagen technologies like the digital Active Driving Display instrument cluster, but Automotive News reports that the car will get revised dashboard switchgear and new safety features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, front parking assist and LED lighting.

GALLERY: Chinese-market 2019 Volkswagen Passat