This Volkswagen Passat has eight-cylinders, all-wheel drive (AWD) and a manual transmission – and it’s as rare as hen-teeth to find.
The 2001 Volkswagen Passat W8 featured on this video was remarkably unique under the skin. In many ways, it was a diamond in the rough. Using it as a testbed for their newly created W8, the braintrust at VW opted to use a tried and true platform – the B5-generation Volkswagen Passat. Sure, the Volkswagen Group had plenty of turbocharged V6s and beefy V8s to choose from, but the W8 was an entirely different mill.
By the way: the Passat is history. It was recently replaced by the Arteon.
Using two VR6 (V6) blocks, the VW engineers set up a staggered, or “W” formation with the cylinders. VW used a 72-degree angle in the W, which is narrower than many V8s. This gave the packaging of the eight-cylinder a much smaller footprint. Thus, despite its internal displacement of 4.0-liters, it only takes up the equivalent space of a typical V6.
This setup gave the W8 a 275 horsepower rating, along with 273-lbs feet of torque. The Passat Tommy is sampling comes with a manual transmission, and all-wheel drive (AWD). It’s a beast.
Oddly, this powertrain went no further. During the few years the W8 existed, it did see other versions, such as a W12 and W16 developed for Bentley and Bugatti. Still, the W8 ended with the Passat. One of the reasons may revolve around its reputation for poor reliability. One huge issue was the cam-adjusters, which can go south and kill the W8. There is a fix, but it will cost thousands. Still, if you commit the money, like the owner of the vehicle we used in this video did, it can become a righteous ride.
In this video, Tommy is gobsmacked by this ultimate sleeper. Who knows? He was so astonished, he may even buy one!