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Autotrader Find: 2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 Manual

Here’s a Volkswagen Passat that you won’t see very often — even if you’re a Volkswagen fan. It’s a 2003 Passat with an 8-cylinder "W8" engine that’s mated to a manual transmission — and it’s the only manual Passat W8 currently listed for sale on Autotrader.

I’m going to start this Autotrader Find with a quick discussion of exactly what this car is. This generation of the Volkswagen Passat was sold from mid-2001 through 2005, and it was offered with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine or a V6. In 2002, Volkswagen added the "W8" model, which used a 270-horsepower 4-liter 8-cylinder engine — a crazy decision at the time, as no other midsize sedan offered an 8-cylinder.

But Volkswagen went further than simply offering an 8-cylinder. The automaker offered the powertrain on both sedan and wagon models, meaning you could get an 8-cylinder Volkswagen Passat station wagon. And it was offered with manual or automatic transmissions — and while the manual was far rarer, that’s exactly what we have here.

This particular 2003 Passat W8 is finished in blue-green with a gray interior, and it’s offered by a private seller in the Dallas, Texas area. It’s covered 134,000 miles, and it’s currently listed for sale for $10,900 — with the ad saying that the engine is new, with just 3,000 miles, and the car also has a new clutch. That may give some insight into the reality of owning one of these cars, but the addition of new major parts also means this particular example may give you the chance to have a rare Volkswagen in better-than-usual condition.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I own a W8 station wagon with 44.000 miles really clean. I find that there is a lot people saying bad things about the car. The other day I`ve found out that the car had the OEM spark plugs and Ignition Coils… since 2003. So I say that is not the car that´s wrong, it is the people that are bad at maintenance the cars.

  2. More interesting to me is the fact it’s a W8 engine which is a staggered engine design opposed to a straighter V8.

  3. My first car was a 2002 Passat Wagon that was originally my fathers’. Drove over 300,000 miles in its short short 10 year life before I sold it for an A6 in 2012 – incredible generation of an incredible car!

  4. no other midsize sedan offered an 8-cylinder.”

    I think you meant “FWD midsize family sedan”. If you look at the luxury market there are plenty of midsize sedans with V8s from that era – E-Class, 5-series, GS, A6, etc 😛

    • Except the Passat isn’t a FWD sedan.  It’s available as a FWD, but it’s based on the longitudinally mounted engine platform of the Audi A4.  

      But I agree with your sentiment that there were other 8cyl mid-sized sedans available.  

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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