With this Passat comes more clarity over where VW sees its GTE sub-brand fitting into its already complex strata of performance model families. As it turns out, it’s at a lowish level.
The car’s interior looks and feels more like that of a differently dressed Passat GT than of a proper performance derivative like a GTI.
The cabin has a few subtle identifying styling touches, such as blue stitching for its leather-upholstered gear selector and steering wheel, blue piping on its carpets, some ‘aluminium wave’ decorative trim for the dashboard and doors, and one or two GTE badges.
But, stitching apart, the seats and controls are as you might find them in any averagely well-equipped version of the saloon. Given that there is no GTI or R-branded Passat, it does feel as if VW could have pushed the boat out a bit more.
If you opt for VW’s adaptive digital instruments, the cabin does at least get a useful lift in terms of sense of occasion. Cycle through E-Mode, Hybrid, Battery Charge and GTE driving modes and you’ll see the dials adapt and change, from a percentage-based power usage meter when the car is running electrically to a conventional analogue tacho and speedometer when it’s in its sportiest GTE setting.