Less than fifteen years ago (in 1996) Passat has launched its fourth-generation of cars. Two years later (in 1998) this fourth-generation hit the market in North America. It was quite a significant car which was build from the ground up, using a classic “overhung” longitudinally mounted engine delivering the drive to its front wheels. This platform was shared with an Audi (the Mk I Audi A4 from 1994).
A car is meant for driving, from there its purpose is not just moving 4 wheels but also provide the drive and its passengers with suitable comfort. If comfort is achievable then why not make it in style, to lok great and feel great even when you are standing next to it. On this ‘Style” field is where cars separate on mainstream and premium.
Even though this devising is not official, the drivers and manufacturers take it into consideration. Now, what makes a geological turbulence in the world of vehicles is the capability of a car from a mainstream world to “compete’ with the premium big boys. The Mk 4 Passat made this turbulence by providing high class of style and comfort.
SEAT and Skoda were sort-of leaders in the mainstream world, but the Mk I Passat was a successful underdog on the market with a starting price of £16.000 in the UK (£1.000 more than the Ford Mondeo).
Good smother ride is what made Passat a big boy among Mercedes and Audy 4. Its handling was quite similar to that of a Peugeot 406 and Mk I Ford Mondeo, both launched in 1995. Luxury was the word that best signified its interior; well equipped with air conditioning, power windows, CD player, power sunroof, power mirrors and leather upholstery.
Torque steering is eliminated by a sophisticated 4-link front suspension. An expensive Torsen center differential was later introduced to the all wheel drive in order to help the loss of traction with just 50-50 power distribution usage under normal circumstances.
A new gasoline engines powers up the car; one engine option offered 1.8 L turbocharged 4-cylinders capable of delivering 150 bhp for the B5 version and 170 bhp for the B5.5 version; and the other engine option offered 2.8 L V6 capable of delivering 190 bhp. From these two, the 1.8 L engine in both, Audi A4 and Passat, has lower oil capacity which results in oil sludge problems.
Transmission also comes in two options: a 5-speed automatic transmission and 5-speed manual transmission.
With the new millennium on the calendar (in the years of 2000), the Passat was given a new look; with its minor styling and mechanical changes the Passat was known as the B5.5. Changes were made to the headlights (new projector-optic headlights) and bumpers. The comfort and luxury remained in-tacked. The problem with the 1.8 L gasoline negin was gon by introducing a 4.0 L W8 engine capable of producing 275 PS (202 kW) in 2001. But unfortunately the car retired in 2004 due to sales drop.
After that, 2.0 L turbocharged diesel TDI engine was introduced, capable of delivering 136 PS (100 kW); which was the only car with a mid-sized diesel engine sold in the US.