How to Upgrade My Volkswagen Passat

by William Zane

The Volkswagen Passat is a mid-sized luxury sedan positioned above the Jetta. It offers a good combination of Teutonic German looks and European build quality. Like all Volkswagens, the Passat is a great basis for a modified car.


Lower the suspension and install performance shocks. Like most vehicles, when the Passat leaves the factory, it has an undesirable ride height. Install lowering springs from Eibach matched with a set of performance shocks. Your Passat will look far better and will also handle better. Eibach also offers a front anti-roll bar for the B5-generation Passat.


Replace the stock wheels. Once you have lowered the suspension, the next logical step is to install a larger diameter set of wheels and tires. Most specialty tire retailers will have a large selection of wheel and tires packages for the Passat. For a German make, like the Passat, a set of BBS wheels look great. Lighter wheels will reduce the unsprung weight of your VW’s suspension, and wider, softer compound tires will give it more grip in the corners.


Tune the motor for more power. The Passat's 1.8T turbocharged engine, in particular, takes well to modifications. Euro Sport Tuning offers a full array of engine upgrades, including reprogrammed ECUs (Engine Control Units) that add more horsepower and increase the engine’s redline, intercoolers for turbocharged engines and free flow exhaust systems. (See Resources 1)


Upgrade the braking. More power means that your Passat can also use some extra braking. Start by installing a set of cross-drilled rotors, which help dissipate heat and reduce brake fade during aggressive and repeated braking. Continue the improvements in this area by installing brake pads made from performance-oriented pad material and braided steel brake lines for a firmer brake pedal feel.


Replace the original seats with aftermarket bucket seats from Recaro. With your Passat accelerating, braking and cornering much quicker now, deeper bucket seats will only add to the experience, ensuring that driver and passenger stay firmly in place during sporty driving.


Upgrade the exterior with better lighting and ground effect. There are not a huge number of choices when it comes to upgrading the exterior of your Passat, so you can keep it simple by installing PIAA headlight and fog light bulbs and a pair of headlight eyebrows. (See Resources 1) Andy’s Auto Sport offers a few body kits for the Passat if you want to make the exterior look even more unusual. (See Resources 3) However, the Passat is a handsome, well-styled car in original form and looks best with a minimum of external aesthetic changes.

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About the Author

William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.

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