1992 VW Passat Variant 2.8 VR6 Is The Sleeper Wagon You Can Afford

The Volkswagen Passat was never a flashy car, quite the contrary: it’s as if the design brief was always to build a vehicle that would go unnoticed.

This holds true especially for the first three generations before Ferdinand Piëch decided to take the Passat upscale along with the entire VW lineup. The third-generation model, codenamed B3 (B4 after the facelift), is highly significant for the U.S. as it introduced the Passat nameplate to the market – the previous two generations were sold as the Dasher and Quantum, respectively.

The Passat B3 to have was the VR6 model, best served in the wagon body style called Variant in Europe. This version mixed practicality, performance and understated design in a package that seems to fit the definition of a “sleeper wagon” perfectly.

Also read: 2003 VW Passat Variant W8 With Manual Box Is One Of Only 97 Sold In The USA

This model was powered by a 2.8-liter VR6 engine shared with the Corrado and Golf Mk3 delivering a healthy 174 PS (172 HP) and 235 Nm (173 lb-ft) of torque. Mated to a five-speed manual transmission, the naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine enabled the Passat Variant to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.6 seconds and top out at 218 km/h (135 mph).

It’s not easy to find a third-generation Passat Variant VR6 example worth buying nowadays but you might have more luck if you’re willing to import one from Europe. Holland’s Auto Leitner has one in stock that seems to tick all the right boxes.

Built in 1992, it’s completely stock and in great shape too. It’s said to have covered only 87,276 km (54,230 miles) from new and the fully documented maintenance record proves it. The car is sold with a large folder of documents which also include the original order form, original purchase invoice, all brochures. It also comes with all three original keys with code card and the original tool set.

There’s not much to comment about its looks, as the car appears to be in top notch condition. It’s also nicely specced, with a satin silver metallic paint, matching 15-inch polished “Estoril” alloys, and contrasting black elements including the roof rails.

The standard equipment was generous and included power sunroof, power windows, power-adjustable side mirrors, power steering, central locking, trip computer, VW Gamma stereo, height-adjustable front seats, 60:40 split-folding rear seats, leather steering wheel and gear stick, and more.

Safety features include ABS, EDS electronic lock differential, rear window wiper, front fog lights, and four headrests – no airbags, though. You can have all this for €8,750, which is the equivalent of $9,600 at the current exchange rates. It’s not cheap for a 1992 Passat but we believe you’ll have a hard time finding another one like it. Plus, being 27 years old, you can even import it in the States under 25-year law.

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  • ChrisInIL

    Oh, look. Someone put wheels on a brick.


    Doug must review this !!!

    • Loquacious Borborygmus

      Can he not just WRITE an article, please?

  • pcurve

    Great for folks who used to drive one of these. Nice trip down the memory lane. Considering all the safety improvements in 27 years, I wouldn’t want to daily this though.

  • McFly

    I like how VW showed already in the 80’s that cars don’t really need grilles. The old Passat had less air intakes than a Tesla, who brag about not having them.

    (But people weren’t really ready, so they put a grille on it in the update)

    • europeon

      Yes and no.

      It really depends on the engine. That kind of low power relatively to its size engine doesn’t need much cooling at all, but a modern turbocharged vehicle, with all its bits and intercoolers can’t get all the air it needs only from underneath the vehicle. Also aerodynamics has really evolved since the 80’s and it’s not feasible anymore to have the air drawn from underneath the car.

      • McFly

        You’re right, bigger engines need more air. But for normal cars, the area just below the number plate is usually quite enough, and the area above it is mostly make-up.

    • AggregateofDeplorables??

      It has a large air intake below the bumper, which was made larger on the US spec by a large lip on the lower fascia.

      VW merely moved the radiator into cleaner air below the bumper, where the radiator was obliterated by stones, sticks, and other road debris. That’s probably why they moved the opening back up the grille.

      • Ilbirs

        There’s also the curiosity that in the B3 Passat the VW logo is hollow and also catches some air, which led the recommendation of cleaning the emblem area in case of snow to prevent overheating.

  • Six_Tymes

    love it, a lot. at the same time its sad people have to think of going back to 1992 to afford a good conditioned used car. ALL new cars are OVER PRICED.


  • AggregateofDeplorables??

    This vintage of VR6 is not optimal, particularly in the Passat. There are all sorts of problems with engine longevity and engine plumbing. The 5spd is awesome though ?

  • exeptor

    For what it is, the condition and how crazy the market for special cars is, I believe that 8,750 euro is a bargain. If the trend continue in the same direction in 2-3 years this car will cost 50-100% more.

  • Wandering_Spirit

    A good offer for an overall enjoyable car. These, the Mercs and the Volvos of that era are all very good cars.

  • Merc1

    The Corrado is the car you want from this era with this engine.


  • ChrisInIL

    Ah, yes….an only slightly more rounded brick with wheels. I had an ’82 Skylark. It was the color of a brick too.

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