Now that Volkswagen’s latest platform, the Modular Transverse Matrix (abbreviated as MQB in German), is out in the open, having debuted in the new 2013 Audi A3, Volkswagen is accelerating the pace in which its existing models are redesigned around the flexible common platform.
The next recipient of the MQB is the MkVII Golf, which arrives later this year to replace the current MkVI.
The MkVI Golf is essentially a warmed-over MkV and only intended to have a short four-year life cycle.
The same will occur with the European-spec Passat, the next-generation of which has already been spotted testing by one of our spy photographers.
Not to be mistaken with the cheaper Passat sold in the U.S., this latest version of the European-spec Passat is due to be revealed late next year or in early 2014 and is expected to be slighter bigger than the model it replaces.
Volkswagen is only testing a mule for the next Passat, which essentially packs the new car’s running gear beneath the sheet metal of the current car. Some modifications to the current car’s body were required to house the MQB, as revealed by the wider wheel arches and extended wheelbase. If you look closely you can also see that the front axle has been moved further forward.
The interior of the test-mule also appears to be fitted with many of the new components planned for the next Passat. Possibly hidden from view is Volkswagen’s modular infotainment system, which is designed to fit in a variety of models and is based around capacitive touch-screens.
One advantage of the MQB platform is a uniform mounting position for all available engines. The MQB is designed to accommodate Volkswagen’s new Modular Petrol Engine System, and combined will increase engine, gearbox and chassis combinations in the Passat by roughly 90 percent. Expect to see Volkswagen’s latest EA211 and EA888 gasoline engines feature, including cylinder deactivation technology, as well as several EA288 diesels. A plug-in hybrid version is expected as well.