Who says that major car companies not break new ground sometimes even without a direct economic coercion. With the Passat from 1990 VW has done it. The drive is changed from longitudinal to transverse engine and therefore more adapted to the Golf. This is possible because one now has constructed a completely new, space-saving six-cylinder VR engine, the fits transversely into the Passat. Also for the four-wheel drive, there is an alternative since 1991.
The benefits of this change are unmistakable. There are no competitors in the same car class with such a favorable ratio between the inner and outer dimensions. This car still will be have for long time the largest interior, compared even with his successors. And immediately another small revolution: the radiator grille is missing, even though the engine is front mounted. It receives all the necessary air from the area below the bumper and through its VW emblem (intake air). Advantage is a very low flow through the front of the car and thus a lower air resistance. It is faster with 100 kW more than 5 km/h. But most car buyers can not get used to a car without air intake between the headlights. With the next revision 1993 VW is forced to introduce the radiator grille again.
In the course of model development engines be installed up to 136 kW (184 hp). So that the car reaches approx. 225 km/h. For the diesel engines will change shortly before the replacement still the basic principle. They will change over to direct injection. End 1993 there is the first TDI with 66 kW (90 hp). In the security area there are new standards with airbag and belt tensioner.