The R-line edition, which is available as both a saloon and estate, gets lowered sports suspension (15mm lower), 18-inch alloy wheels, low-profile tyres, a different front bumper, a rear spoiler, chrome trim and bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.
The standard equipment list is based on that of the S; it includes Bluetooth, USB/iPod connectivity, a DAB digital radio and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.
The Passat is also getting a new engine option: a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol unit that replaces the older 1.8-litre TSI motor. In the R-line saloon and estate it emits 144g/km of CO2 when fitted with a six-speed manual transmission; with the seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox, it matches that figure in the estate and manages 142g/km in the saloon.
The other R-line engine options are a 1.6 TDI diesel with 104bhp and a manual gearbox only (114g/km of CO2 in the saloon, 116g/km in the estate), and a 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel that comes with a manual (119g/km in the saloon, 120g/km in the estate) or six-speed dual-clutch DSG (135g/km in both saloon and estate).
Prices for the R-line start at 22,115 for the 1.6 TDI saloon; the new 1.4 petrol starts at 22,470.
The Passat R-line is available to order now, with first deliveries due in June. The car's bodykit is also being offered on its own, as an option on Passat Highline and Sport editions, for 900 including fitting.