This Volkswagen Passat station wagon may not look all that special. However, it’s far more than meets the eye. Under the hood of this humble family hauler is an engine with ties to the Bugatti Veyron and Bugatti Chiron hypercars. Additionally, it’s relatively affordable, considering its rarity. Don’t get your hopes up too high, though. If you missed the chance to purchase this one, the likelihood of finding another any time soon is very slim.
The wildly quirky Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion
When they imagine a Volkswagen Passat station wagon, the first thing most folks think about is a simple grocery getter with a relatively fuel-efficient power plant. It’s easy to understand why, too. In most cases, that’s what they were. This generation Passat typically came with a turbocharged inline four-cylinder of a V6 engine. This one, which just sold for a seemingly tame $10,499 on Cars and Bids, did not.
Under the hood of this particular Passat is a 4.0-liter W8 engine. Effectively, this engine is one-half of the 8.0-liter W16 engine found in the legendary Bugatti Veyron. For those unaware, Volkswagen owns Bugatti. So, perhaps these Passats were a testbed of sorts for the iconic 250 mile-per-hour hypercar hero. We can’t say for sure why this engine wound up in the humble Passat.
What is out in the open, though, is the performance figures. The W8 engine makes a surprisingly spicy 275 horsepower. Additionally, Volkswagen paired this engine with either an automatic or six-speed manual transmission. The latter of which is both scarce and featured in this particular example. Additionally, the W8 Passats use Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system.
So, to recap, this wildly rare 2004 Passat wagon has eight cylinders, nearly 300 horsepower, a six-speed manual transmission, and it is all-wheel drive. What could be cooler than owning that?
How about knowing that you’re one of very few in the U.S.? According to Car Scoops, only around 100 manual W8 Passat wagons sold in the US. Furthermore, they were only available from 2001 to 2004. Additionally, the Passat was the only engine ever to use the VW W8 engine.
All of this for under $11,000 seems pretty reasonable!
The W8 wasn’t the only weird W engine VW
Another installation of the W engine while baring a Volkswagen badge is the Phaeton. The Phaeton was the spiritual successor to the W8 Passat and a direct competitor to the Mercedes S-class. It shared plenty of luxurious parts with the Audi A8 and, more importantly, shared its 6.0-liter W12 engine with the Bentley Continental GT. Of course, the Bentley got a bit more heat with the addition of two turbochargers. However, the Phaeton still came with a whopping 444 horsepower.
In 2005, the Phaeton cost an eye-watering $96,100. For a Volkswagen! In today’s money, that’s about $139,600. This quickly made the Phaeton the most expensive Volkswagen-branded vehicle ever sold. It took the title from, you guessed it, the Volkswagen Passat W8.
So, next time you’re out and about and see a Passat, take a second look at its rear badging. It just might be an elusive W8 model! They were available in both sedans and wagons, too. So while the manual wagon is extremely rare, seeing automatic sedans happens every once in a blue moon. Additionally, if another one comes up for sale and it’s within your budget, buy it! You might never see the opportunity again!