Volkswagen Passat (B3)

Volkswagen Passat sedan B3
Volkswagen Passat (B3)
Also called
Volkswagen Passat Arriva (SK)
1988 - 1993
Emden, Germany
Bratislava, Slovakia (VWBA)
Body and chassis
Large family car
Mid-size car
Body style
4-door saloon/sedan
5-door estate/wagon
Front engine,
front-wheel drive or
four-wheel drive
Volkswagen Group B3
Petrol engines:
1.6 L I4 53 kW (72 PS; 71 bhp)
1.8 L I4 55 kW (75 PS; 74 bhp)
1.8 L I4 66 kW (90 PS; 89 bhp)
1.8 L I4 72 kW (98 PS; 97 bhp)
1.8 L I4 102 kW (139 PS; 137 bhp) 16v
1.8 L I4 118 kW (160 PS; 158 bhp) G60
2.0 L I4 85 kW (116 PS; 114 bhp)
2.0 L I4 100 kW (136 PS; 134 bhp) 16v
2.8 L VR6 128 kW (174 PS; 172 bhp)
Diesel engines:
1.6 L I4 59 kW (80 PS; 79 bhp) Turbo Diesel
1.9 L I4 50 kW (68 PS; 67 bhp)
1.9 L I4 55 kW (75 PS; 74 bhp) Turbo Diesel
4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
2,625 mm (103.3 in)
Syncro: 2,630 mm (103.5 in)
4,575 mm (180.1 in)
1,705 mm (67.1 in)
1,430–1,500 mm (56.3–59.1 in)
Euro-spec Passat B3 variant (estate/wagon)
The third generation Passat was introduced in March 1988 in Europe, 1989 in North America, and 1995 in South America. Its curvy looks were a contrast from the boxy appearance of its predecessor and owed much to the "jelly mould" style pioneered by Ford with the Sierra and Taurus. The lack of a grille made the car's front end styling reminiscent of older, rear-engined Volkswagens such as the 411, and also doubled as a modern styling trend. The styling was developed from the 1981 aerodynamic (cd 0.25) Auto 2000 concept car.
At the time it was the first Passat to be built on a Volkswagen-designed platform, rather than sharing one with an Audi saloon. The Passat B3 was designed by Volkswagen's design chief, Herbert Schäfer and,unlike equivalent Audi models, now featured a space-saving transversely mounted engine (a configuration from which future Passat models would retreat in 1996). A couple of weeks ahead of launch, press reports appeared that the forthcoming new Passat was known within the company as the first "true Hahn model" ("erster echter Hahn"), even though Carl Hahn junior had by this time already been the Volkswagen Group's chairman since 1982. The message, reflecting management priorities at the time, was that whereas recent new models from Volkswagen had unapologetically appeared to be rebadged and mildly rebodied Audis, with this model Volkswagen under Hahn now had the confidence to reassert a more distinctive identity for its cars, differentiating the Audi and Volkswagen brands more persuasively from one another in the process.
Center console of a 1992 Euro-spec Passat B3
The car, although designated B3 in Volkswagen's platform nomenclature, was based largely on the A platform as used for the smaller Golf Mk2 model, but was stretched in all directions. Many components are shared directly between these vehicles. Only 4-door saloon and 5-door estate versions were available, without the fastback option of previous models. From this generation to present time, the 5-door hatchback version of the first and second generation models is no longer available. It was marketed under the Passat name in all markets; in North America, this was a first.
The fuel injected petrol engines gave better performance and refinement than the previously used carbureted units. They were mounted transversely, and the floorpan was engineered to accept Volkswagen's "Syncro" four-wheel drive system. Engine options were the 2.0 litre 16 valve engine (for North America only in the GL model), 1.8 litre 8 valve and 1.8 litre 16 valve engines (not available in North America; all CLs, GLs, and GLSs had the 2.0 16v), Volkswagen's new 2.8 litre VR6 engine (also used in the Golf and Corrado) in the GL/GT (Europe) and GLX/GLS (North America) models (introduced in 1991 in Europe and 1992 in North America), and the G60 engine (only available on the Syncro model in Canada for the North American market). The VR6 engine gave the top-of-the-range Passat a top speed of 224 kilometres per hour (139 mph). The 1.6 litre (not available in North America) and 1.9 litre diesel engines were also available as an option.
As somewhat rare features for the time, the B3 Passat was optionally offered with self-levelling pneumatic rear suspension, and electronically regulatedair conditioning (called "Climatronic"). These two options were available only in Europe.

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Last updated on 20 July 2014 at 13:18.

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