Tuesday, May 23, 2006

2009 VW Passat 4-door coupé: the CLS for the poor

The influence of the Mercedes CLS will spread for cars of different price ranges. Super-luxury machines like the Aston Martin Rapide and the Porsche Panamera (see Panamera: the CLS for the really rich). But also Merc E-class competitors like the future Peugeot 608, and even cheaper cars like the 4-door coupé version of the VW Passat.

The current VW Passat is a fine car. It is quite big but still elegant. And spacious, unlike the Peugeot 407. VW even managed to make it look good although it has a wheelbase that is too short for the overall length of the car. What could VW want more? Profit, of course. As all the car manufactures VW wants more profit from this model, hence the niche versions. It is quite obvious that a cabriolet would not look very good. A crossover might be a good idea, maybe a mix between the Passat variant and the next Sharan... But VW has chosen the 4-door coupé. A very good choice indeed. The CGI interpretation by Huckfeldt pictured below is the most reliable so far. It might differ in the details but the overall shape is right.

VW will want to differentiate this new model from the regular Passat to justify the premium price. Mercedes did this exercise very well with the CLS. VW will have to play with detailing to help separate the coupé version: different front and rear lights, more sophisticaded and also more chrome. More chrome? Well, that is a bit difficult to achieve considering the ammount of reflection the regular Passat provides... Technically they can start with top of the line V6 and 4WD versions. Then progress to FWD versions, but don't expect to be able to buy it with the current base engines.

A litlle cloud in this plan... depending on the price that it arrives in the market it might fall in the price range of machinery like the C-class, 3 series or Lexus IS. Base versions of course, but miles ahead in engineering and quality. But if the design is right VW can sell it. Just check the Peugeot 407 coupé: a technically inferior FWD machine that can frequently sell in the price range of the superior RWD prestige saloons. Emotional and timeless design can make miracles!

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