Capsule Review: 1998 Volkswagen Passat, the G.O.A.T.

Posted on 30. Jul, 2012 by in Auto News

Sometimes it all comes together, is not it – right before it all falls apart. Lightning in a bottle. Never looked so good before, to be later never reached. Duane Allman crashing his motorcycle, the Sunburst Les Paul yields to the "Les Paul SG", the Honda VFR800 Interceptor is perfected by something like the looks exchanged Nostromo is Rescue capsule, is the woman you love, desperately desperately crazy and desperate calls your wife, that sort of thing.

The family sedan had its high-water mark, his '59 'Burst, his At Fillmore East. The GOAT Greatest Of All Time. Once in history, converged all tides. The resulting car was quick, spacious, fully equipped, affordable, secure, affordable, gorgeous, desirable. Hmm. We need a quality, do not you? We'll get to later.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the GOAT: The 1998 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8t five-speed manual. Yes, I had one.

It was late 1997, and I was looking for a sedan to replace my soon-to-be-off-lease 1996 Taurus. My wife and I saw pretty much everything under 30 large, out of the Camry XLE (could not imagine driving a wedge poverty Toyota, do not plan on it long enough for the quality of workmanship have a problem), the Acura 2.5TL (which apparently result of a drunken Honda employee memories of the original "aero" Audi 100 has a static-filled international telephone connection to another drunken Honda employees, the specifications listed as gospel and then chose to make the dream come true with an Accord sans Front clip). What I really wanted was an Audi A4, of course. All wanted an Audi A4 in 1998. The car had appeared out of nowhere and just blitzed the brainstems of the nation twentysomethings. The cars were so damn cool that Audi is able to call them in the eye watering shades of yellow and blue, it was painting "Cool Shades" in completely non-ironic way, and more watch 'em fly out the door to young architects, engineers, and university professors.

The Passat, according to Car and Driver, was a long wheelbase A4 with more space and even more impressive exterior design. Although VW would later ride Pimp Ze and create unfortunately glaring 2001 Passat from the same body, that does not change the fact that an original '98 Passat, complete with simple yellow side marker remains, probably the cleanest looking sedan modern history. There is not a single unnecessary line, torch, shock or crease on the matter. It is perfectly proportioned and it slips silently through the air. It did look the A4 as it tried too hard to justify its price premium.

Both cars shared the same basic model and powertrain: the VW Group's 20-valve four-cylinder turbo with light pressure. The mild 150-hp rating to start this mill does not describe how fast the car if felt to its competition against. With powered A4s with this turbo engine and the optional V-6 equipped, I already knew that the silky 30-valver was no faster in the real world than the 1.8t, and it cost more money seriously in Audi and Volkswagen variants of "B5 "platform.

The color rags were unanimous in their long-lead praise of the Passat, and at the time I did not understand how little meant by that, so we took a test drive in the light blue demo unit assigned to Midwestern Auto Group as soon as the car was available. The rise in demand for the Passat meant that this particular car had more often than Pamela Des Barres ridden, and in similar reckless fashion – as I recall, we have our shot in week 2 of the Passat stay at the dealership and the car has over 2500 miles on it. We were convinced in any way. The interior is not as nice as it looked in C / D's lovingly lit promo photos and the seats shook in their mounts as I attacked a driveway with what I thought had to be a club racer in the value of aggression. It even smelled funny.

A month's worth of testing in the Japanese competition, and a brief visit to the BMW dealer 318i spec one, took us back to VW. This time there was a non-powered device for us in Royal Green. Three hours later, the car was in our driveway. Maybe it was the power of suggestion, perhaps it is car-shopping was ennui, maybe it was the prospect of paying $ 575 per month for a four-cylinder BMWs with hubcaps, but the Passat absolutely convinced us that the, Shalamar would call second time around.

We immediately took the Passat around the state: the in-laws "in Cleveland, to the outlet malls and unusual restaurants, Hocking Hills to enjoy a largely ice-free winter romp those infamous two lanes. Everything about the car was even better than we had hoped. The stereo was pretty good. All four seats were comfortable for the long haul. As mentioned above, it was quiet on the highway, which means a lot more want to admit to driver fatigue on than most of us. We averaged over 30 miles per gallon in mixed use, which seemed surprising, given the ferocity with which I flogged the sleek sedan from every traffic light.

The Passat was to drive not only satisfied, it was satisfying have. There was strong tastefully, and when you're in your twenties, that such things matters. We pushed the Lexus and BMW ES300s E36es from the left lane, laughing with their obsolete window glass and awkward proportions. There is simply nothing better. All for the same price was pathetic, nothing more was cost just wasteful. Our only concern was that we not find anything nearly as good to replace it.

That turned out to be the case about 26 months in our time with the Passat, I traded it for a 2000 Golf GLS 1.8t five-speed tailgate. The idea was that my wife would have a slightly smaller car to drive to work. The reality that the Gulf was worse was everything, including conserving fuel. The lady of the house they wanted to trade back. We went to the 2001 Passat, which was mentioned above look pretty awful looking and costs considerably more for no good reason. Finally, I had a bit of a quarter-life crisis is the fact that I was almost 30 years old and still no new BMW, which, as we have a 2001 BMW 330i Sport came five-speed in the purchased driveway caused in the Gulf place less than eight months after the Gulf has made his first appearance there. BMW, Mrs. Baruth told me, "was pretty much as good as the Passat." As it was costing almost $ 43,000 against $ 21,495 Passat or so – twelve fifty-eight! as Surf City suburb for nerds! – I have not a lot of comfort in this mild approval.

The Passat the "B5" was replaced much the sunburst Gibson SG on the B5 Lester, or perhaps "5150" to the B5 "1984". It looked cheaper and more cost. Just like that, the best sedan in the history away. Meanwhile the rest of the examples of these "best sedan" busy showing their owners only as VW was able to sell a car as a prize Sun The inner bits rubbed shiny and then dropped. The electronics was maddeningly obscure. The engines died with numbing regularity. Some of them even rusty. The '98 Passat not exactly deliver the hammer blow to the VW-millennial Renaissance – this task was easily accomplished by the "Emm Kay Eye Vee" Jettas with their list of errors that apparently owed the same loyalty and Robert Bosch Hieronymus Bosch – but she turned a lot of True Believers in Toyota owners.

Emigrated five years after our Royal Green Passat out of our lives, I drove my wife back to Midwestern Auto Group take delivery of our new 2005 Phaeton. The sticker said something along the lines of $ 81,000. This time our comparison set Camrys and Acuras for the W220 S-Class and the frowny-faced sevens Bimmer had abandoned. I insisted that they drive the car back home – it was really a gift for them for sticking with me through the hard times in the limitless prosperity of our bourgeois paradise, depending on and forever. I did not know it at the time, but we were at our peak, too. We were the Allman Brothers, I was Duane, and I was about to go shopping for a motorcycle. We moved to the dealer and the massive underground sunlight flashbulbed the Phaeton spare-no-cost interior. The big V-8 purring and the seats can be adjusted in our whims eighteen different types, while cold air casual shirt over the back of my Marol. I was very impressed with myself. "What do you mean?" I asked her.

"It's pretty nice. I mean, it is really beautiful. It's about as nice … as my Passat. "