For years, in the German car manufacturing industry, BMW, Audi and Mercedes were the first tier, while Volkswagen was in the second tier of manufacturers.
But with the 2016 Volkswagen Passat, the company is finally entering the territory of the Holy Trinity of Mercedes, Audi and BMW. With BMW also releasing the 2016 BMW 3 Series, let’s see how these two sedans fare against each other.
For years, the BMW 3 Series was the gold standard in the sports sedan section, but the new facelift of the 2016 Passat looks gorgeous. Narrower headlights are just one aspect of the new crisper looking front fascia. The bumpers are also changed. Some of the tweaks were already visible on the concept cars we’ve seen from Volkswagen in the past year. All in all, the 2016 Volkswagen Passat has a crisper and sharper look, thanks to the changes to the front and the rear fascia. But the cosmetic changes are still not enough to rival the 2016 BMW 3 Series, which also received some tweaks to the exterior, mainly in the front headlights that are not available with LED and adaptive LED lights. The bumpers of the 2016 3 Series are even more sporty than before, bringing the sport sedan closer to the looks of the sporty and dynamic 4 Series. The only way the 2016 Volkswagen Passat can compete is with the addition of the sportier R-Line trimming.
The inside of the vehicle is what allows the 2016 Passat to compete with the likes of BMW and Mercedes. The new Passat finally has all the tech goodies previously reserved for the premium brands. Adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, parking steering assistant, forward collision warning, blind spot monitor and autonomous emergency braking; all of these features make their way to the 2016 Volkswagen Passat. The center of the dashboard is the new instrument panel with a touchscreen and a rearview camera. The touchscreen display allows pinch, zoom and swipe commands used for controlling the smartphones. Proximity sensors will help prepare the system for touchscreen actions. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard options in the 2016 Volkswagen Passat.
For BMW, the upgrade was in the luxury department, as the 3 Series already featured the tech goodies that are now standard for the 2016 Passat. The 2016 BMW 3 Series receives new materials in the inside, including more chrome and more gloss-black trim. Brown leather is not available for all lines and trimmings and the new infotainment and navigation system work better than ever with over-the-air updates.
When it comes to speed, few cars can compete with the sporty 3 Series sedan. The 2016 Passsat comes close, but not as close as you would expect. The engine options for the 2016 Volkswagen Passat include 1.8-liter entry model engine with turbocharging and four cylinders. Other two options include the 2.0-liter turbocharged TDI engine and a 3.6-liter V6 VR6 engine, which is the fastest of them all.
However, BMW comes on top with the standard 320i and 328i engines still in place, but the new turbo V6 engine is now a 3.0-liter engine. According to BMW’s engineers, the turbocharged V6 engine is even better at sound than the current 335i model. With 320 ponies under the hood, the best trim of the 2016 3 Series can sprint to 60mph in just 4.8 seconds.
The entry model of the 2016 Passat is priced at $22,400, which is a lot less than the price of the 2016 BMW 3 Series. BMW’s sporty sedan starts at $33,150.