Tested: Volkswagen Passat TSI R-Line

The classy look

Hi there. I can only imagine that you’re reading this text because you googled Tegel, stumbled across it by accident or are a hard-core fan of this car. You see, if our local sales charts are anything to go by, the Volkswagen Passat doesn’t exactly sell in vast quantities.

As with other makes and models, this is a purely geographical problem and the Passat is a glowing-from-every-orifice red-hot success elsewhere. The Germans and some of their neighbours love them, plus you’ll find a few Passats mixing it up with Mercedes E-Classes in Berlin Tegel’s taxi rank.

Local sales are nothing to write to the fatherland about, last month the Passat sold exactly 40 units compared to the Jetta’s 274 and CC’s 38. So its prettier sister is level pegging and the cheaper cousin outsells it seven to one – VWSA must’ve recognised this and now offers any Passat with an R-Line package.

…the package is a genuine Volkswagen R GmbH product…

Although it’s still an optional extra, the package is a genuine Volkswagen R GmbH product and costs a very reasonable N$10,200. Its various parts include a restyled front bumper with large cooling intake and flush fog lights, while the rear bumper houses a black diffuser for that sporty look.

A small, tasteful spoiler in vehicle colour accents the boot lid, side sills are also fully integrated and painted, framed by 17-inch “Mallory” alloy wheels. A small “R-Line” badge on the front grill finishes the package which subtly enhances any Passat’s look without taking it over the top. It’s very classy.

I think the price is outstanding and judging by my friends’ reactions, this optional package is a complete must-have for any Passat. Our dark brown metallic car with its crisp shape and chrome details got many lingering stares and started making fans immediately: “Are you driving that R?”

The Passat faithfully follows its maker’s conservative but elegant design language which will probably see it being labelled as “boring” a few times before everyone realises how subtle and enduring this concept is. It’s kinda what Mercs used to be before they decided to go all Miley Cyrus with their designs.

… insane levels of ergonomics and restrained design.

Inside it’s exactly the same story with insane levels of ergonomics and restrained design. Our press demonstrator had matching dark brown leather trim contrasted by silver accents, black plastics and a light grey headliner. The red ‘n white instruments are just as neat and logical as the touch-sensitive media screen.

VW holds back on a few nice-to-have gadgets like a USB port or Bluetooth – we simply couldn’t connect any of our phones. That said, each Passat comes with a list of great standard features including climate control, full-size spare wheel, auto lights and wipers, climate front seats and a full array of safety aids.

It also had some amusing optional extras like an automated parking system (videos at bottom of page)…

Driving position, steering and pedal feel, brakes, handling and response are all exemplary and our Passat carved through a Cape winter storm without flinching. It also had some amusing optional extras like an automated parking system and a glass sunroof with a completely perplexing control knob.

A Passat’s elegance and subtlety is directly transferred into the way it drives, our test car was a moving shrine to quietness and refinement bar the 7-speed automatic DSG which only I seem to have a gripe with at low speeds. Once on the move and especially when caned to the redline, I will admit that it is sublime.

You may also choose to order a manual-shift Passat which will save you exactly N$15,000 on either models. The 1.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder TSI engine as tested here develops 118kW (160hp) or 250Nm, claiming averages of 7L/100km or 162g CO2/km, 0-100km/h in 8.5 seconds (we did 8.4) and 220km/h tops.

A 103kW (140hp), 320Nm turbo-diesel is also available at a N$16,700 premium over its petrol equivalent. With a 70L tank, only habitual long-distance drivers will appreciate the oil burner’s 5.2L/100km claimed average and superior range. In theory it will reach 1,350km versus the petrol’s 1,000.

Every Passat is sold with VW’s 5-year/100,000km Automotion Plan with a choice of ten exterior colours. I recommend something dark to accentuate the tasty bits of the R-Line package, because you’d have to be crazy not to choose it.



0-10km/h:    0.5s
0-20km/h:    1.1s
0-30km/h:    1.7s
0-40km/h:    2.2s
0-50km/h:    2.7s
0-60km/h:    3.7s
0-70km/h:    4.7s
0-80km/h:    5.8s
0-90km/h:    7.0s
0-100km/h:    8.4s
0-110km/h:    9.9s
0-120km/h:    11.6s
0-130km/h:    13.6s
0-140km/h:    15.9s

0-100m:        6.4s / 84.8km/h
0-200m:        9.9s / 109.8km/h
0-300m:        12.8s / 125.9km/h
0-400m:         15.5 / 138.1km/h

0-60mph:    7.9s
1/4mile:    15.5s @ 86.0mph (138.3km/h)


Climate     Sunny, mild
Altitude    21m
Road        Dry tarmac, level
Occupants  Driver, no passengers
Fuel level    1/3

Leave a Comment