The new Volkswagen Passat has been unveiled at the company’s Design Centre in Potsdam, Germany.

The new Passat marks the eight generation of VW’s ubiquitous rep-mobile, having notched up over 23 million sales in 41 years of production.

VW says the new model is lighter and more efficient than the outgoing model, with weight reduction claims of 85kg on some models and up to a 20% improvement in economy.

The Passat remains largely the same size, losing 2mm in length and 14mm in height, while gaining 12mm in width.  The wheelbase has increased by 79mm and this leads to shorter overhangs.

All Passat models will feature LED rear lights, with top-spec models receiving a new tail-light signature that doubles as a brake light.  Headlights are halogen or LED, with Dynamic Light Assist available as an option.

Interior space is said to have been improved, with more leg- and head room, plus increased boot capacity.

A new 12.3-inch Active Info Display takes the place of a conventional instrument cluster, while a variety of electronic driver aids will also be offered.

Although details of the exact engine range for UK models has not been announced, the company did say that a new 2.0-litre biturbo diesel with 240PS and 500Nm of torque would be available, mated exclusively to a new seven-speed DSG gearbox and 4Motion four-wheel drive.

A plug-in hybrid model, which is said to be able to travel up to 31 miles on battery power alone but with a total range of around 600 miles, will follow later.

Prices and further details will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in October.

Order books are set to open before the end of this year, with first deliveries expected early in 2015.