Volkswagen teases new Passat's high-tech credentials

Lighter, more efficient and packed with technology, the new Passat could set a new benchmark in the family car segment when it officially launches later this year.

That's what Volkswagen is driving at with the first official sketches and specifications relating to the eighth generation of the sedan, scheduled for its public unveiling at the Paris motor show this October.

The new car promises more interior and luggage space than its predecessor, yet is somehow smaller than the outgoing model. Use of lightweight materials in the construction process has also led to a car that is 85kg lighter so as to cut down on fuel costs. VW claims that by putting the car on a diet it should be 20 percent more fuel efficient.

Other fuel-saving measures include offering the car as a plug-in hybrid for the first time. The battery pack alone will be able to power the vehicle for 31 miles (50km) and when both drivetrains are working together, drivers should be able to get a range of 600 miles (965km) between refueling stops.

There's also some power with environmental responsibility on offer. The 2015 Passat will be getting a four-cylinder, 2-liter twin-turbo diesel engine with 240PS and 500Nm of torque on tap, mated to a new seven-speed paddle change gearbox and 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

In terms of technology, the Passat will be the first VW to get the company's new digital dashboard -- a 12.3-inch configurable display, augmented by a driver's head up display that will project the most relevant info directly on to the windshield.

It is also getting Park Assist for autonomously navigating the ins and outs of supermarket carparks and a 360° camera view option so that the driver can see right around the car when maneuvering in tight spaces.

A technology that will be making its world debut on the Passat is something called automatic Trailer Assist, which is designed to make driving, turning and reversing while towing easier.

Volkswagen will be releasing more details, including the first official photos of the new car, in July, before its in-the-flesh reveal in the French capital this autumn.