Detroit LIVE: 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT

Volkswagen gives its VR6 sedan an R-Line equivalent.

Volkswagen is debuting a "GT" variant of its Passat sedan in Detroit this week, giving the VR6-powered model a sporty exterior package akin to the R-Line trim available on turbocharged models.

First off, let's talk about what this car is not: It isn't a competitor to the (costlier) Fusion Sport. Powertrain-wise, it's no different from a standard six-cylinder model--no turbocharged VR6 engine or anything trick like that.

VW claims the GT is the product of "extensive" feedback from its dealer network, which seems to translate to buyers being annoyed that the slick R-Line appearance kit was limited to turbocharged cars. The VR6 is the most expensive Passat, after all, so it's no surprise that its comparatively big-ticket buyers felt annoyed that they couldn't get in on the action.

This is the result. The 2018 VW Passat GT is lowered on a sport suspension accented by 19-inch "Tornado" wheels over red brake calipers. Additional exterior accents include a black roof, an R-Line front bumper with a honeycomb grille insert and GTI-style red accent line, black mirror caps, and black rear bumper trim.

Inside, you'll find piano black and carbon-fiber-look trim elements, a black headliner and unique aluminum sill plates. The seats are two-tone (black/grey) and, like the wheel, boast contrast stitching. This color scheme reflects the available exterior colors, which include just about anything except interesting.

U.S. Volkswagen dealers will begin stocking the GT starting in Q2 with a base price of $29,940 (including $850 for destination).

Live photos by Brian Williams.

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