The quad exhaust tips and “W8” badge tell you this is no ordinary Passat wagon!

We found this very rare VW Passat W8 Wagon on eBay Motors in Febraury 2019 in Sedona, AZ with a ‘Buy It Now” price of $8,500. The only description the seller provides is as follows: “Outstanding VW W8 Wagon.  Needs nothing.  Recent drive axles, brakes, radiator, thermostat. No codes.” About the only thing we notice is that while the body is very straight, the paint will need to spend a day with a very good detailer. The seller also has an unused W8 engine for sale, so you might consider buying that as insurance in combination with this car!

In his zealous quest to make Volkswagen become the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, VW AG Chariman Ferdinand Piech wanted to expand the Passat model range with an eight-cylinder engine. His engineers were then tasked with how to shoehorn a larger engine into a space designed for only four- and six-cylinder engines. However, that wasn’t enough. Piech wanted the engine to emit a distinctive growl. “Piech likes the sound of Ferraris, and he wanted the Passat to have that sound too,” said Stefan Krebsfanger, manager of product strategy at VW of America Inc at the time of launch. The sound of these engines is truly amazing. Check out this video of a straight-piped version:

 

The B5 and B5.5 VW Passats were essentially poor man’s versions of Audi 80s that still featured engines mounted longitudinally to the drivetrain. Passat W8’s came in both sedan and wagon forms equipped with VW’s 4-Motion all wheel drive system mated to the company’s new 4.0-Liter, 270 horsepower, W8 engine built specifically to fit inside the Passat’s cramp engine bay. This complex engine combined two narrow-angle VR4 engines mounted at 72 degrees to each other and coupled to one crankshaft.

Volkswagen’s W8 engine block illustrates the cylinder configuration for a shorter engine length

With a relatively slow 0-60 speed time of just under eight seconds and a base price of $40,000, the W8 Passats never caught on with the general public. Consequently, Volkswagen exported only 1,130 Tiptronic and 97 six-speed manual versions of their technology-laden Passat W8 during its limited three-year production run between model years 2001 and 2004 to the U.S. and as thus very rare today. The neat fact about these cars is that they served as a production test bed for Volkswagen Group’s W engine technology which would later make an appearance as the W12 in the Phaeton, Audi A8, and Bentley Continental GT, and ultimately the W16 1000HP powerplant found in the original Bugatti Veyron.