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even classier

With over 22m sold since 1973 and a staggering 1.1m ordered in 2014 alone, the Passat is VW's longest-running model.

When it made its debut on these boreens, Ireland had just joined the EEC, Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon and the world was heading toward its first 'oil crisis'.

Fitting then that the Passat - synonymous with fuel-sipping economy - is 20pc more efficient than the old one, but more about that later.

Now in its eighth generation the German car giant has again decided to play it safe with the overall design - opting to tweak it here and there to give it a much edgier, more aggressive look.

The dominant shoulder line running from the front headlight lens right through to the bootlid - expanding as it flows - gives the car a more squat stance.

SPORTIER

The lower bonnet and angled windscreen coupled with the snazzy chrome grille pulls the nose down creating a coupe-like silhouette.

The wing mirrors have been moved to the doors from the frame - again giving it a sportier feel.

It's for that very reason the styling is being compared to the CC, which to be fair, isn't too far off the mark.

Inside though it's a different story with a bigger cabin and more individual space.

The build quality and aesthetics - as you'd expect are top drawer - and could rival any of its luxury competitors, especially Mercedes and BMW.

It's got a level of technology available to give the aforementioned a run for their money too including active info and head-up display, city emergency braking (automatically stops the car if the driver is distracted).

Then there is trailer assist (automatically parks the car with a trailer) and the cleverest of all - traffic assist.

This optional extra will take over driving in traffic jams where the car will accelerate and brake in stop start situations and even up to 60kph.

Standard kit though is sparse enough and the entry level Trendline comes with steel wheels, air con and Bluetooth and a five-inch touch screen infotainment system and keyless engine start system.

You'll have to cough up almost two grand extra to get into the Comfortline which comes with 16 inch alloys, a 6.5-inch touch screen infotainment system, parking sensors, cruise control, climate control, leather multi-function steering wheel, front fog lights, interior ambient lighting package and rain-sensing wipers.

At the Irish launch yesterday we drove all of the diesels (which will account of most sales here).

Thanks to stop start and the shedding of 85kgs, the oil burners, which come in 1.6 and 2.0 litre (120, 150 and 190bhp)are boasting fuel economy of 4.1l/100km and emissions of 108g/km (road tax of €190).

The 2.0litre 150bhp is the pick of the bunch with just the right mix of power and comfort.

The ride and handling is superb and the finish inside is best in class.

Like its predecessor the all-new Passat is going to be a runaway success but you'd need to keep an eye on the extras as one test car (estate Highline DSG) came in at an eye-eatering €49k.

Pricing starts at €27,295 with the diesel range kicking in at €28,940.

The dust covers came off the new Honda NSX in Detroit yesterday. This hybrid supercar paints a picture of the future with 550bhp from the savage electric/V6 combo.


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