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A Grand Monday: Volkswagen Passat GL5

Published 12 February 2018

There are some genuinely interesting cars that have disappeared into relative obscurity, and here's one...

The Volkswagen Passat 'B2' debuted in 1981, and as well as being offered in traditional estate and saloon formats, it was also the German brand's first (and only) large hatchback - a direct response to the new Opel Ascona in its home market, or Mk2 Cavalier in the UK.

The hatchback model was strangely stylish, like a longer, taller and wider Audi Coupe with a pair of back doors - almost a precursor to today's trend of compact executive-based coupes. But if that wasn't quirky enough, then if you opted for the range-topping GL5 model, you also got one of the first commercially available five-cylinder engines.

Available in displacements of 1.9- and 2.2-litres, the engine was essentially the same as that fitted to the Audi Quattro, but minus the turbocharger. It had a distinctive warbly noise under acceleration and was pleasingly rapid, while also free-revving.

As an anomaly of 1980s motoring, then the Passat GL5 was certainly a bit different, yet is largely forgotten.

Volkswage Passat (2)

And that's why this example piqued our interest. The advert is a bit scant on detail, and we'd certainly want a more thorough description before parting with our cash, but the promise of sumptuous 1980s velour, that chunky VW switchgear and LED dashboard warning lamps, along with its characterful exhaust note, are beguiling enough to make it worthy of further investigation.

There are only a handful of these left, and it would certainly be a talking point at shows, as well as being a practical family-sized classic that would easily shrug off the rigours of everyday use. 


100andthirty    on 13 February 2018

First and only hatchback.......until the Arteon!

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