The B5 generation Passat was launched in the 1997 model year with a product that looked/drove/smelled a lot more like an Audi than the previous generation Passat. In 2001 Volkswagen introduced the B5.5, a cosmetically refreshed version of the platform that added more chrome trim (inside and out) some fancy taillights and a unique W8 engine option that could have been...if you were lucky...mated to a 6-speed manual. Find this 2004 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion offered for $7325 in Denver, CO via craigslist. Tip from Joel.
The W8 powered Passat wasn't the fastest 6-speed equipped executive sedan built in Germany, but it was the cheapest when new. The Passat probably didn't steal much market share from BMW's 540, or Mercedes E-Class, but it certainly cross shopped with well equipped Accords and perhaps an Acura, Lexus, or Audi.
The B5 (&5.5) chassis is one of the few modern cars to use a longitudinal
engine/trans in a front wheel drive automobile, with the compact W8
engine sitting forward of the front axle. It displaces 4.0 liters
and puts out 275 horsepower and 273 ft-lbs of torque -- which doesn't
sound too bad, until you realize that the W8 wagon tips the scales at
4000 lbs, compared to a FWD 1.8T sedan at 3000. The extra 75 horsepower
over a chipped 1.8T isn't enough to overcome the additional mass and
only the traction benefit of 4WD at low speeds helps maintain any
semblance of performance advantage-- but the W8 gives nice thrust at highway speeds and would probably sound properly burbly when uncorked.
All W8 equipped Passats came with Haldex based 4Motion all-wheel-drive, but this one uses the rarely seen 6-speed manual. Enjoy the manuals while you still can, because the Uber / Google / Facebook bubble cars are coming to a parking lot near you...soon.
See a better deal on an 8-cylinder 6-speed equipped 4-door? firstname.lastname@example.org