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The long awaited 2012 Volkswagen Passat has finally been revealed, looking very much like the recently released 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, sporting the same corporate face and profile in a larger package.

Built at VW’s new Tennesse facility, the Passat’s 191 inches length makes the car larger than a Toyota Camry by 2 inches, a radical departure from the more compact Passats of yesteryear.

Trim levels S, SE and SEL will be offered, with power coming from the corporate 2.5L 5-cylinder engine making 170 horsepower, the 2.0L TDI diesel making 140 horsepower and Volkswagen’s beloved VR6 engine, producing 280 horsepower. The VR6 (and, we presume, the TDI) will come with a DSG dual clutch gearbox, allowing it to run to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds while returning 28 mpg on the highway.

Starting at under $20,000, the Passat is aiming to break out of its niche as a quirky European alternative and finally be taken seriously as a Tier 1 mid-size sedan. The car may have never sold in big numbers, but its superlative interior, interesting powertrains and European street cred were always respected. Hopefully VWs attempt to bring the car hasn’t come at the expense of character.

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