Volkswagen has released the first pictures of the sixth-generation Passat, ahead of its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2005.

The new Passat has new four-link rear suspension, new transversely-mounted engines and a new body. The new Passat is 57 per cent stiffer than its predecessor.

Many technical highlights will be available, including a Bluetooth telephone unit and high quality sound system, plus a standard-fit electronic handbrake, and a draught-free 2Zone Climatronic system.

Elements of both the concept C and concept R can be seen in the new Passat’s distinctive styling, in particular through the imposing chrome grille, which is set to become a feature of future Volkswagens. At the rear, fast-responding LED light units emulate the style of those at the front, with round sections.

The new Passat has grown in all key dimensions, with length up by 62 mm to 4.77 m, width up 74 mm to 1.82 m and height up 10 mm to 1.47 m. The wheelbase has also increased – up by 6 mm to 2.71 m – resulting in greater interior space. Maximum boot capacity growing by 90 litres to 565 litres.

Four engines will be available at the model’s UK launch: 1.6-litre FSI 115 PS and 2.0-litre FSI 150 PS petrol engines with homogeneous direct injection, plus 1.9-litre TDI 105 PS and 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS diesels with high pressure Pumpe Düse unit injection.

Volkswagen’s DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) will be available on TDI models shortly after launch, with six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission available on 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre FSI engines. 4MOTION four-wheel drive versions will follow later.

UK prices and specification details of the new Passat will be released closer to the new model’s launch date in the summer.