10k: Stick-up: 2002 Volkswagen Passat B5.5 W8 4Motion

The
friendly, fat-cheeked Wisconsinite B5.5 Passat you’re looking at has an
unusual yet desirable combination of drivetrain options. And it’s here
to rob you of everything you own. Volkswagen decided to fit an
experimental W8 engine in an already crowded engine bay, leaving little
room for anything but your checkbook. Find this 2002 Volkswagen Passat V8 4Motion wagon with 6-speed manual for $11,000 in Richfield, WI.  Words by DT contributor slowcarSLOW-MPGlol.


Picture two V4 engines stuck together operating off of a flat-pane crank. Twin balance shafts, Bosch drive-by-wire, and a 10.8:1 static compression ratio. It’s half of a Bugatti engine minus turbos, but at 271 horsepower, about 1/4 of the output. Now picture that all-aluminum hunk stuck over the front axle. Combined with 4Motion all-wheel drive, it’s an understeering mess that didn’t steal sales from BMW like VW intended. Thankfully the electronic-locking Torsen differential can split power 67/33 front or back.

Not only does the rare 6-speed engender more driving satisfaction, it’s going to save you money. The automatic – and its weak torque converter – was carried over from lesser Passats. The sturdier 6-speed was a pricier option in 2002, engineered to withstand the additional twist of the W8. Also, shorter gearing should make for sprightly acceleration. Well, that may actually cost you a few dollars to your local constabulary…

Beige leather and wood trim seem perfect for loadingup the Irish Setter and vintage Port for a weekend in the Hamptons so you can feel the 4Motion of the ocean. Multi-spoke wheels, rust-free Pacific Blue (or, uh, Atlantic) body, and quad exhaust make for an attractive, contemporary look. A long list of recent service should provide the new buyer with a respite of motoring enjoyment before other stuff starts to break.

Maybe America wasn’t ready for the most surprising engine choice since the W12 Phaeton, especially not with a host of premium options and a starting price north of $40,000. Just two product cycles later, the Passat started at $20k and sold like hot cakes. Still, it’s rare these days to have the hottest engine available in the layout we want with a manual and lacking enormous spoilers and grilles. It was rare in 2002 as well. Scoop up this rust-free, accident-free example because it could be months before you see another one for sale. Yes, the tight packaging necessitates occasionally removing the front clip for otherwise ordinary service. But take care of this unicorn and it should hopefully take care of you.

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slowcarSLOW-MPGlol knows how many licks it takes to reach the center
of a Tootsie Pop, and he’s not telling. As someone with a B+ blood type,
he considers himself an optimist. Unless it has structural rust.