Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has given the Passat R-Line an update for the 2022 model year. The locally-assembled (CKD) range-topper, which sits above the Elegance, now retails at RM212,939 (on-the-road without insurance, inclusive of sales tax exemption), making it RM8,506 dearer than when it was first launched back in October 2020.

The price hike is justified by a number of improvements, with the main one being a power bump for the 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine under the bonnet. The mill now serves up 220 PS (217 hp) from 4,500-6,200 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 1,500-4,400 rpm, which are substantial increases from the pre-update Passat R-Line that only had 190 PS (187 hp) and 320 Nm – these figures were shared with the Elegance.

Another change is the transmission, as the more powerful engine is now paired with a six-speed DSG wet dual-clutch unit instead of the previous seven-speed gearbox. This powertrain setup and its figures are curiously similar to what you got with the pre-facelift Passat Highline. You still get Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) adaptive dampers and an XDS electronic differential lock, both of which are not found on the Elegance.

Inside, the Passat R-Line gets a new control panel for the climate system that is touch-sensitive and features haptic feedback. There’s also a 700-watt Harman Kardon sound system with 12 speakers and four sound modes (Pure, Chill Out, Live and Energy), which is an upgrade from the previous eight-speaker setup. It should be noted that both items are lifted from the latest Arteon R-Line launched in July 2021.

As for other aspects of the model year update, the Passat R-Line now wears the latest Volkswagen logo, becoming the second model to do so after the Arteon. The colour palette has also been reduced from six to five colours, with returning options being two pearl-effect hues – Deep Black and Oryx White – while metallic colours are Aquamarine Blue, Manganese Grey and a new Scale Silver (replaces Reflex Silver). Tamarind Brown has been dropped.

Beyond these changes, the rest of the Passat R-Line’s spec sheet is unchanged from before. Standard items include the R-Line styling package, 19-inch Verona alloy wheels, LED headlamps and taillights with sequential indicators, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, aluminum pedals, black headlining and black Nappa leather upholstery with a carbon fibre-like pattern.

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Also included is an 11.7-inch digital instrument display, a Discover Pro navigation system with a 9.2-inch touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto connectivity, keyless entry and engine start, Climatronic triple-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, cruise control, a reverse camera, 14-way powered front seats with driver’s side memory and massage function.

No changes in the safety department either, with standard kit being six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, a tyre pressure monitoring system and ISOFIX child seat anchors at the rear.

Each purchase comes with a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, a three-year free service package and five years of free roadside assistance, the same as before. “The Passat is built on a successful combination of class and performance, which makes it the sedan of choice for the sophisticated both globally and locally. We have retained the unique features of the Passat R-Line but fine-tuned its performance, so that it becomes an ideal partner for the discerning driver,” said Erik Winter, MD of VPCM.