We know that the new gasoline-burning BlueMotion Passat is digging deep into VW's BlueMotion rucksack of tricks to get a very impressive 42 MPG without any electric motors, diesel fuel, or black, black magic. Without black magic, the only color here is blue, which to VW, means green. Got it?
What strikes me as especially interesting is that the 1.4 L 150 HP four-cylinder engine is using cylinder de-activation, which should be a first for a production four-cylinder engine (in the US, at least — Euro Polos and Golfs have had it). Well, intentional cylinder deactivation, at least. I had a girlfriend with a Cavalier that used to deactivate cylinders all the time.
VW's cylinder deactivation turns the everyday four into a plucky young twin under low-load conditions, saving lots of gas from being wasted shamefully and needlessly. The gasoline is directly injected, mainlined, even. The 7-speed DSG transmission will decouple from the wheels as needed to allow for carefree, low-resistance coasting, and the engine employs a stop-start system as well. Essentially, it's everything they can possibly do to keep that engine from enjoying all that sweet, delicious fuel.
Overall, it's impressive. 150 HP is not skull-crushingly powerful, but it's easily capable of almost everything this car would ever likely be used for. Up close, it looks like the American market Passat we all know and ignore, and it's handsome enough in its own way, if not head-turning.
For a lot of people, diesel access still isn't as easy as getting gasoline, and while I'd love to believe Americans are finally getting over their 80s diesel nightmares, I'm sure there's still some diesel-fearing troglodytes out there for whom this sort of mileage in a gasoline car will be a godsend.
In person, the Passat BlueMotion looks, feels, and smells pretty much like a normal Passat. It's the least concepty concept I've ever seen, though it does have nice white seats.