At one point in time the weight of VW's brand aspirations fell upon the Passat. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe W8 wagon is an example of that one-time up-market push, but does this unique car come with a price you will H8?
Do you recall when Volkswagen tried to get all fancy with its product line, despite the obvious conflict with their existing premium brand, Audi? That was all the idea of then VW chairman, Ferdinand Piëch, who felt the answer to Mercedes moving down-market with the A and B class was for Volkswagen to go upscale and hit the Swabians where it hurt, in the high-margin luxo arena. The two cars that were VW's initial attack on the fancy pants market were the W8 Passat and the brand's uber-car, the Phaeton. These two made for a Piëch of a pair.
The aspirations of Piëch and hence Volkswagen never really panned out as it's hard to erase the low-rent stigma of 21-million Beetles, nor the marque's appalling drop in reliability at the same time they were trying to attract rich people's money.
You don't have to be a blue blood to be attracted to this 2003 VW Passat wagon, but you'll likely be a red-blooded Jalop if you are drawn to it. That's because this B5.5 hits almost all the right keys.
First off, it's a wagon, and I think we can all agree that this generation was one of the best-looking of VW's mid-sized longroofs. Next up, it's a W8 - which is VW-speak for what's essentially a pair of VR-4 engines sharing a common crank. It's remarkably compact fore to aft, but like Kanye's wife, it's pretty damn wide. The DOHC eight, as found in the Passat, pushed out 270-bhp at 6,000 rpm, and a healthy 273 lb-ft of torque at only 2,750.
Following up on the hit list is a 6-speed stick. Yep, this W8 let's you row your own. Boom!
When you do exercise your right arm and left leg you'll be confident to know that your actions will be affecting all four tires, as the car is a 4motion AWD.
Holy crap! This is an eight-cylinder, manual equipped awd wagon of Germanic origins. You can't get anything like that outside of… well, Audi. Mercedes and BMW also offered AWD wagons that rolled eights, but I don't know how easy it would be to find one of those with a stick. As it is, the ad claims this VW to be only one of about 100 to arrive in the U.S. so equipped.
The ad also says that the car comes with 101,000 miles on the clock and a straight, accident-free body. By the pics, it looks like the interior is in nice shape as well, and the plastic covers on the headlights seem appreciatively clear, something not all that common on these Passats as the lenses tend to yellow over time like an excited kindergardener's Underoos.
That's pretty much it for the description/visual evidence, and hopefully it will be enough to allow you to decide if the car's $7,200 price tag is a fair deal or not. This was once VW's quixotic attempt to go up-market, but now you'll have to vote whether it's now price for what the market can bear.
H/T to DANTHEMAN68 for the hookup!
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