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Drew Dowdell

Interactive Review: 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE

13 posts in this topic

August 7, 2012

Drew Dowdell

Managing Editor

CheersandGears.com

A couple of weeks ago William gave us his review of the 2012 Volkswagen Passat SE 2.5. While William loved the roominess and quality of the interior, he was less impressed with the 2.5 liter gasoline 5-cylinder motivation. I have driven the Volkswagen 5-cylinder in the Passat and a few other vehicles and I'm inclined to agree with him. In response to that, the Passat is taking another turn in the CheersandGears.com garage this week except this time with an oil burner under the hood and me at the helm. Diesel powered cars have been enjoying a rapid increase in sales lately and Volkswagen is one of the largest purveyors of diesel cars in the US. Diesels accounted for 19.4% of Volkswagen’s sales in July of 2012.

This 2012 Passat TDI has a sticker price of $28,665 and is equipped with sunroof, and automatic climate control. At first that may sound high for a conservative mid-size car, but given the amount of room, equipment, and of course fuel economy, the Passat TDI starts to look quite the bargain.

The Passat TDI is EPA rated at 30mpg city and 40mpg highway with a combined rating of 34mpg. The only other mid-size cars that can touch that are the hybrids from Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia. However, the Passat TDI regularly gets real world numbers that beat the EPA rating by a substantial margin.

As for power, the 2 liter turbo diesel is rated at just 140 horsepower but also sends 235 ft-lb of torque through the 6-speed DSG to the front wheels. All 236 ft-lb becomes available at just 1,500 rpm which I unwittingly found out when making a left hand turn during my initial drive and ended up slapped by the traction control nanny as the front wheels broke loose. The pull from the engine around town is a lot stronger than anyone expects from a 2 liter 4 cylinder.

For this week, I will be driving my normal commute till Friday to get a good read on the city fuel economy. Starting Friday evening until Monday afternoon, I will be taking the Passat on a long distance trip so I can get a good reading of the cruising fuel economy.

Even just the first 5 miles of driving the Passat reinforced my “smooth but different” opinion of the Volkswagen 6-speed DSG transmission that was established during the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo review.

So gear up your questions for this week’s interactive review of the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI.

Drew Dowdell is Managing Editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheersandGears.com or on twitter as @Cheersngears

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OK, First questions as I have come to have male and females ask me these questions about diesels.

When Idling is the engine smooth or rough to be noticeable from inside the car?

Do you have the constant smell of oil burning or is it really not noticable?

With windows up, no fan on or radio, how loud is the engine? Any chance on testing the DB level?

Is this engine a direct injection?

Does it feel nose heavy or lite and nimble?

Looking forward to your review with pictures of the engine compartment and trunk.

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I think I can answer them, since I have driven the Jetta TDI.

OK, First questions as I have come to have male and females ask me these questions about diesels.

When Idling is the engine smooth or rough to be noticeable from inside the car? NO

Do you have the constant smell of oil burning or is it really not noticable? HELL NO

With windows up, no fan on or radio, how loud is the engine? Any chance on testing the DB level? Slightly higher than gas burner.

Is this engine a direct injection? YES

Does it feel nose heavy or lite and nimble? DREW's ANSWER

Looking forward to your review with pictures of the engine compartment and trunk.

Modern diesels have come a long way. I was testing one of our new CAT track-hoes. I was amazed by how silent the engine felt from inside the cabin.

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when i drove one (and it's in my reviews in the review section), I liked it to a point but on the whole was not overly impressed or blown away by it. To me really the only reason you do buy this car is diesel (and maybe rear seat space). So mostly I am curious about mpg and gas cost per mile.

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Thanks for the review,the styling of the new Jetta has grown on me.

curious of what you think about interior quality, and if there are any rattles or other noises.

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Getting 42 mpg commuting so far...

You can hear it is a diesel, but it is not at all loud. It's just a different sound that some may be unfamiliar with. After you've accelerated, it doesn't sound any different than a gasser.

The Passat feels much lighter than it should for its size. It is one of the biggest mid-sizers you can buy, but out on the road it doesn't feel it at all.

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Something that hit me today when I was driving home. I was happy that VW gave me such a new and clean vehicle and everything is nice and tight from the factory as should be for a car with 1,944 miles..... only ... this Passat isn't a 1944.7 mile car like I originally thought it was... it's a 19447 mile car. For a car with just about 20k miles on it, this thing is tight and solid. It had me completely fooled on the mileage.

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Something that hit me today when I was driving home. I was happy that VW gave me such a new and clean vehicle and everything is nice and tight from the factory as should be for a car with 1,944 miles..... only ... this Passat isn't a 1944.7 mile car like I originally thought it was... it's a 19447 mile car. For a car with just about 20k miles on it, this thing is tight and solid. It had me completely fooled on the mileage.

That is very good to hear, tight and like new is what buyers want to hear.

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Something that hit me today when I was driving home. I was happy that VW gave me such a new and clean vehicle and everything is nice and tight from the factory as should be for a car with 1,944 miles..... only ... this Passat isn't a 1944.7 mile car like I originally thought it was... it's a 19447 mile car. For a car with just about 20k miles on it, this thing is tight and solid. It had me completely fooled on the mileage.

This is really good to hear!

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We're going to have two quick contests on this one.

Price is Right style: Guess my fuel economy for the weekend and win a $10 fuel gift card.

Tonight, I'm driving from Pittsburgh to Ann Arbor - Guess my fuel economy to the nearest 10th of a gallon without going over to win.

Monday night I'm driving from upper-mid-state Michigan back to Pittsburgh.

Same deal.

Label your guesses as "Monday:" and "Friday:" You can submit your guess for both. We will have a thread in about an hour for you to put your guesses in.

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I have been looking into the Passat TDi SE, and I have found somethig strange. It appears (and I'm hoping I'm just missing something) that you cannot get a TDi with sunroof AND 6 speed manual transmission. The manual transmission is more engaging to drive and also gets an additional 1/3 mpg city/highway. And by looking for the best mpg for a commuter car, that is a gain I'm interested in taking advantage of, buy not sure if I could survive without my sunroof!

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    • By William Maley
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      Aside from the new engine, the Bentayga Diesel has some small differences to separate itself from the regular Bentayga. There is a blacked-out grille, discreet 'V8 Diesel' badges on the front doors, and new tailpipes.
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      An immense amount of torque is available from very low speeds, with peak torque achieved from just 1,000 rpm, for both seamless on-road performance and exemplary off-roading ability. The immediate flow of power complements the traditional, class-leading refinement and performance customers have come to expect.
      The new model has also been made with a number of specific developments to provide peerless refinement. For example, the bespoke exhaust system has been acoustically engineered to be as quiet and refined as possible.
      The addition of Selective Catalytic Reduction contributes to lower nitrous oxides. Combined with Bentley’s stop-start system; class-leading CO2 emissions of 210 g/km; and an impressive range of over 1,000 km between fuel stops, this technology puts the Bentayga Diesel at the forefront of advanced engine efficiency.
      Contemporary, Luxurious British Design
      The Bentayga Diesel demonstrates the same authentic and modern British luxury design as its W12-powered stablemate, while also benefitting from a number of unique styling additions.
      A V8 Diesel badge is embedded on the lower front door edge, complemented by a new Bentley ‘twin-quad’ exhaust tailpipe design, which provide a further subtle reminder of the new engine specification. 
      Further distinctive external styling cues include a bold, black matrix grille with chrome surround and central bar, which serves as a signature for the powertrain that lies behind. A new optional Mulliner Driving Specification 21” wheel – available in a silver or grey painted finish (the latter with machined accents to the spoke and rim) – can be specified, with a 20” ten-spoke alloy wheel offered as standard.
      The Bentayga’s cockpit sets new standards for both luxury and precision, with meticulous tolerances between the exquisite veneered woods and metal elements.
      The hand-selected veneers – including a new Liquid Amber finish introduced with Bentayga Diesel – form pure and elegant surfaces throughout the cabin. Each of the 15 pieces are shaped by Bentley’s artisans and finished with trademark Bentley attention to detail.
      As with all Bentleys, the Bentayga Diesel can be handed over to the highly skilled craftspeople at Mulliner, Bentley’s bespoke coachbuilding department, who will respond to individual customer requirements.
      The Bentayga is available with an exquisite integrated Mulliner Hamper Set, complete with refrigerator, bespoke fine Linley china cutlery, crockery and crystal glass, and storage area for dry goods. For comfort in the great outdoors, sections of the hamper can be removed and used as seats.
      A bespoke mechanical Mulliner Tourbillon by Breitling clock can also be specified. The most complex of watch mechanisms, the Mulliner Tourbillon is automatically wound periodically by a dedicated high-precision winding mechanism within the car. This masterpiece is machined in solid gold (customers can select from either rose or white gold), with a choice of either a mother-of-pearl or black ebony face and decorated with eight diamond indexes.
      Effortless Bentley Performance, Unrestrained by Climate or Terrain
      The development programme for the Bentayga has been the most exhaustive in the Bentley brand’s history, ranging across five continents. From the dirt and gravel of South Africa and the dunes of Dubai, to the muddy fields of Cheshire, and from -30°C in the frozen North Cape to searing 50°C desert heat, the Bentayga’s ability to perform on any surface and even in the most extreme conditions has been proven.
      The Bentayga Diesel can be specified with Bentley Dynamic Ride – the world’s first electric active roll control technology that utilises an unrivalled 48V system. Inherent in larger vehicles with a higher centre of gravity, this system instantly counteracts lateral rolling forces when cornering and ensures maximum tyre contact to deliver class-leading cabin stability, ride comfort and exceptional handling.
      Bentley’s adaptive and reactive system provides variable torsional resistance, allowing the Bentayga to be both dynamically capable and comfortable for all occupants at all times. The pioneering use of a 48V system – which on Bentayga Diesel utilises a new lithium-ion battery system to offer even greater reserves of power – results in silent, instantaneous responses to deal with all road surfaces.
      Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS) is also featured on the Bentayga. The new system improves feedback to the driver, while providing isolation from steering kick-back both on- and off-road. EPAS also features a variable rack ratio, permitting light and fast steering while manoeuvring at low speeds, as well as a more subdued response for excellent stability at high speeds.
      The Bentayga Diesel offers class-leading ride comfort, steering feel and handling thanks to the partnership of a highly sophisticated chassis and Electronic Stability Control (ESC). In addition to advanced, multi-mode Traction Control (TCS), the Bentayga also features Hill Descent Control.
      Hill Descent Control automatically regulates the vehicle’s speed on steep declines, allowing the driver to concentrate fully on steering and obstacles ahead. It can be pre-set at speeds between two and 30 km/h (going in either direction) and works on gradients greater than five per cent.
      As with all Bentleys, the Bentayga Diesel comes with multi-mode air suspension. The driver has four different modes to choose from: High 2, High 1, Normal and Low. High 2, for example, can be manually selected when tackling more severe off-road surfaces. Customers can also lower the rear suspension via a switch in the boot, to ease loading and trailer hitching.
      Innovative Features and Advanced Technologies
      A suite of state-of-the-art driver assistance systems and infotainment features designed to enhance safety, comfort and convenience make the Bentayga Diesel an innovative, advanced and connected luxury SUV.
      It offers the widest range of on- and off-road drive settings of any vehicle via Bentley’s Drive Dynamics Mode and optional Responsive Off-Road Settings. Up to eight modes are available, allowing drivers, at the simple turn of a dial, to select the perfect dynamic set-up for any surface or road condition. This versatility is complemented by Bentley Dynamic Ride (electrically activated 48V active roll control) and Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS).
      Responsive Off-Road Settings allows the customer to select the appropriate vehicle settings for a wide range of off-road surfaces, while the Driver Information Panel displays information on pitch, roll, wheel articulation, steering angle, compass bearing and altitude.
      Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) including Stop & Go, Predictive ACC and Traffic Assist enables the driver to maintain a set distance to the vehicle in front. Predictive ACC uses the navigation data, sensors and cameras to predict upcoming corners, city boundaries and speed-limit changes and can then modify the vehicle speed accordingly, improving both comfort and fuel economy.
      In urban environments, there are a number of driver aids available on the Bentayga Diesel. These systems – such as Traffic Sign Recognition, which detects a wide variety of traffic signs and displays information to the driver; Rear Crossing Traffic Warning, which uses radar technology to detect crossing traffic when reversing out of a parking space; and Top View, a system which uses four cameras to display an overall picture of the vehicle’s surroundings – combine to enhance everyday usability.
      Park Assist is also available – a system that detects suitable parking spaces (both parallel and perpendicular) before autonomous steering takes over to support parking manoeuvres, even in narrow and tricky spaces.
      Other innovative systems available include Electronic Night Vision, which uses infra-red technology to identify potential obstacles ahead, and a Head-Up Display, which reduces driver distraction and increases safety.
      The Bentayga’s eight-inch touch screen infotainment system boasts class-leading navigation technology, a 60GB hard drive, and a choice of up to 30 languages.
      Rear seat passengers benefit from the introduction of the Bentley Entertainment Tablet – a removable 10.2” Android device with 4G, WiFi and Bluetooth for effortless, high-speed on-board connectivity.
      Customers can choose between three different sound systems for the Bentayga Diesel: Bentley Standard Audio, Bentley Signature Audio and Naim for Bentley Premium Audio. The latter is the most powerful system in the segment, with 1,950 watts, a network of 18 speakers and super-tweeters for unrivalled recreation of the highest audio frequencies.
      Customer deliveries will begin in Europe early next year, with entry into Russia, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan planned across the rest of 2017.
      echnical Specification
      Engine
      Type
      4-litre Twin turbo with E Supercharger direct injection V8
      Max Power
      435 PS / 429 bhp / 320 kW @ 3750-5000 rpm
      Max Torque
      900 Nm / 664 lb.ft @1000-3250 rpm
      Transmission
      Driveline
      ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, permanent all-wheel drive, Torsen centre differential, open rear differential, 40:60 front:rear torque split
      Ratios
      1st: 4.714; 2nd: 3.143; 3rd: 2.106; 4th: 1.667; 5th: 1.285; 6th: 1.000; 7th: 0.839; 8th: 0.667
      Final Drive
      3.308
      Brakes, Wheels and Tyres
      Front Brakes
      400mm ventilated iron discs
      Rear Brakes
      380mm ventilated iron discs
      Wheels
      Standard 20”, optional 21” and 22”
      Tyres
      Pirelli 275/50R20, 285/45 R21, 285/45 ZR21, 285/40ZR22
      Steering
      Type
      Electronic Power Assisted Steering, variable ratio
      Turns lock-to-lock
      2.3 turns
      Turning circle
      12.4 m / 40.6 ft
      Suspension
      Front
      Four link double wishbones, optional 48V electric active anti-roll bar
      Rear
      Trapezoidal multi-link, optional 48V electric active anti-roll bar
      Springs and dampers
      Self-levelling air suspension, Continuous Damping Control
      Dimensions
      Wheelbase
      2995 mm / 117.9”
      Overall length
      5140 mm / 202.4”
      Width (across body)
      1998 mm / 78.7”
      Width (inc. mirrors)
      2224 mm / 87.6”
      Overall height
      1742 mm / 68.6”
      Fuel tank
      85 litres / 18.7 UK gallons / 22.5 US gallons
      Boot volume
      430 litres / 15.2 cu ft (590 litres / 20.8 cu ft load cover retracted)
      Kerb weight (EU)
      2390 kg / 5269 lb
      Gross vehicle weight
      3250 kg / 7165 lb
      Performance - provisional and subject to Type Approval
      Top speed
      168 mph / 270 km/h
      0-60 mph
      4.6 secs
      0-100 km/h
      4.8 secs
      Fuel Consumption (EU cycle) - provisional and subject to Type Approval
      Urban
      31.3 mpg / 9.0 litres/100 km
      Extra Urban
      38.2 mpg / 7.4 litres/100 km
      Combined
      35.8 mpg / 7.9 litres/100 km
      CO2 emissions
      210 g/km
      Emissions Controls
      EU 6
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