Volkswagen Passat (B5)

Volkswagen Passat (B5)
Manufacturer Volkswagen Passenger Cars
Also called Volkswagen Passat Lingyu (China)
Production 1996–2005
Assembly Emden & Mosel/Zwickau, Germany
Solomonovo, Ukraine (Eurocar)
Anting, China
Bratislava, Slovakia
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size car / Large family car (D)
Body style 4-door saloon/sedan
5-door estate/wagon
Layout Longitudinal Front engine,
front-wheel drive or
four-wheel drive
Platform Volkswagen Group B5
Related Audi A4
Volkswagen Passat Lingyu
Škoda Superb

Petrol engines:
1.6 L EA827 I4
1.8 L EA113 I4
1.8 L EA113 Turbo I4
2.0 L EA827 I4
2.0 L I4 ALT 20v
2.3 L VR5 AGZ/AZX 20v
2.8 L V6 ACK/APR/AMX 30v
4.0 L W8 BDN 32v
Diesel engines:
2.5 L V6 AFB TDI

Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
5-speed 5HP19 automatic
6-speed manual
Wheelbase 106.4 in (2,703 mm)
Length 184.1 in (4,676 mm) (B5 saloon)
183.8 in (4,669 mm) (B5 estate)
185.2 in (4,704 mm) (B5.5 saloon)
184.3 in (4,681 mm) (B5.5 estate)
Width 68.5 in (1740 mm)
Height 57.5 in (1,460 mm)-57.6 in (1,463 mm) (saloon)
58.6 in (1,488 mm)-58.9 in (1,496 mm) (estate)
59.0 in (1,499 mm) (VR6 estate)
Kerb weight 1,406 kg (3,100 lb)
Predecessor Volkswagen Passat (B4)
Successor Volkswagen Passat (B6)
Pre-facelift Volkswagen Passat V6 Syncro sedan (Australia)
Pre-facelift Volkswagen Passat wagon (Europe)

The B5 version of the Volkswagen Passat, based on the Volkswagen Group B5 Sandra platform, was launched in 1996 in Europe, 1997 in North America, and March 1998 in Australia. Its PL45 platform was shared with the first-generation "Typ 8D" Audi A4, which was unveiled 2 years earlier, and saw a return to the Passat sharing its platform with Audi's equivalent model for the first time since the second-generation (B2) Passat, which shared its platform with the second-generation "Typ 81" Audi 80/Audi 90 (the A4 is the successor to the Audi 80 line). The Passat introduced a new design language, first seen on the Concept 1 concept car, for the latest generation of Volkswagens such as the Mk4 Golf, Bora and Polo Mk4. The smooth lines, heavily raked windscreens, and smooth underpinnings helped give the B5 Passat a low coefficient of drag, rated at 0.27 (saloon model). The B5 Passat also reflected Volkswagen's aspirations to push upmarket with higher quality interior trim and the availability of luxury options in order to distance it in the marketplace from contemporaries such as the Ford Mondeo, Opel Vectra, and Peugeot 406. This policy was later echoed in the Golf Mk4/Bora/Jetta and Polo.

The car featured fully independent four-link front suspension; and a semi-independent torsion beam for front-wheel-drive models or a fully independent suspension on the 4motion 4WD models. 4WD was introduced in 1997 as an option for the 1.8, 2.8 V6, 1.9 TDI and 2.5 V6 TDI engines, using a second-generation Torsen T-2 based 4WD system to minimise loss of traction. The 1.8-litre petrol engine in the Passat and Audi A4 has a lower oil capacity than transverse applications of the same engine (4.6 quarts in transverse, 4.3 quarts longitudinal). Three transmission options were available: a 5-speed manual transmission, a 6-speed manual transmission (codename 01E) and a 5-speed automatic transmission with tiptronic. There was also 4-speed automatic transmission, available only in 66kW and 81kW 1.9 TDI, as well as some gasoline models.

B5 awards

2001 Facelift (Passat B5.5)

Facelift Volkswagen Passat SE sedan (USA)

B5 Passat models built after late 2000, also known as B5.5 models, received minor styling and mechanical revisions including revised projector-optic headlights, bumpers, tail lights, and chrome trim.

A 4.0-litre W8 engine producing 275 PS (202 kW) was introduced luxury version of the car that included standard 4motion all-wheel drive.[1] This engine was intended to be a test bed for Volkswagen Group's new W engine technology, which would later make an appearance on the W12 in the Phaeton and Audi A8, and the W16 engine in the Bugatti Veyron.

In 2003, a powerful 2.0-litre Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) diesel engine producing 136 PS (100 kW) was added (making the Passat the only mid-sized diesel-powered car sold in the U.S.). This variant was sold from 2003 to 2005.

A lengthened platform went on to underpin the 'Passat' that was introduced in China in late 1999 by Shanghai-Volkswagen. This long-wheelbase version was rebadged and launched in Europe as the Škoda Superb in 2001. Both have a 100 millimetres (3.9 in) longer wheelbase and length than the standard B5 Passat. An updated version called the Passat Lingyu was released in 2005, which has the 2.0-litre, 1.8-litre Turbo, and 2.8-litre V6 petrol engines.

B5.5 trim levels

In the United Kingdom, trim levels were E, S, Sport, SE, V5, V6 and Highline. The E trim level had a 1.6-litre 102 PS (75 kW) engine only. The S trim level was considered well-equipped by the motoring press at the time, and What Car? magazine recommended the 1.8 S as the best version in 1999. SE models had the same engines as the S version, but were better equipped. The V5 models had a 2.3 V5 engine, the V6 was available with a 2.8 V6, or 180 PS (132 kW) 2.5 TDI, and was also well-equipped.

Models sold in Europe and the Republic of Ireland were similar apart from the trim level naming schemes; the trim levels were Volkswagen's "lifestyle" naming scheme, which were Comfortline, Trendline, and Highline. A base model was also available too.

Models sold in the U.S. had the 1.8-litre 20-valve turbo four-cylinder engine, 2.0 TDI, the 2.8 V6, or 4.0 W8; trim levels were GL (2003 onward), GLS, GLX, and W8 (2002 to 2004). The W8 was only available with the 4motion four-wheel-drive system and a slightly higher trim than the GLX models. The V6 engine had 4motion as an option, as did the 1.8 T starting in the 2004 model year. The GLX trim was only sold with the V6.

Versions sold in Mexico are the same as their European equivalents.

In the UK, Top Gear's 2005 survey rated the Passat as the third least satisfying large family car to own, with only the Fiat Marea and Rover 45 Saloon receiving a worse rating. It fell behind most of its crucial rivals, namely the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Vectra, Citroën C5 and Peugeot 406.

B5.5 awards


The internal combustion engines used are the same as for many other vehicles in the Volkswagen Group.


  1. "VW Passat W8 4motion". Volkswagen AG. 22 April 2002. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
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