The Volkswagen Group B platform is a mid-size automobile platform from the Volkswagen Group. It has been used for saloon cars/sedans, estate cars/station wagon, and coupés - under the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT and Škoda marques over the years. More recently, Volkswagen Group have introduced a new alphanumeric nomenclature for car platforms. The platform code is composed as follows:
- A letter, P, indicating a passenger car platform
- A letter indicating the configuration of the engine:
- A digit indicating the platform size or class (4 corresponding to the "B" series of platforms)
- A digit indicating the generation or evolution
An additional + suffix indicates a long-wheelbase variant.
1974–1988. An Audi derived platform, the first Volkswagen Passat was nearly identical to the Audi 80 (Audi Fox in US), sharing much of its mechanical systems, including its longitudinal engine placement.
- VW Passat B1/VW Dasher (Typ 32, 1974–1981; 1974–1988 in Brazil)
- Audi 80 (Typ 80, 1973–1976)
- Audi 80 (Typ 82, 1977–1978)
1980–1996. The BX platform, developed by Volkswagen's Brazilian subsidiary (Volkswagen do Brasil), again borrowed heavily from the Audi 80 (Fox/4000) of the day. The BX platform was used for the Brazilian Volkswagen Gol, Voyage (Gacel or Senda - In Argentina, and Fox in the U.S.), Parati (Amazon in U.S.), Saveiro (pickup) and Furgão (van) models. The Gol/Fox was quite unique in that it started life with a four-cylinder Volkswagen air-cooled engine (borrowed from the Volkswagen Beetle), and eventually ended up with a more modern water-cooled engine, being sold in the US for the first time as a 1987 model. The VW BX family was restyled in 1987 and 1991.
Still an Audi derived platform, this time based on the Audi 80/4000, again, including its longitudinal engine placement and, on some European models, the quattro four-wheel drive system, rebranded Syncro for Volkswagen cars. The Santana (facelifted) was produced until 2012 in China.
- Volkswagen Passat B2 (Typ 32B, 1981–1988; 1984–2012 in China; 1982–1988 in the US where it was sold as the Quantum)
- Audi 80 and 90 (Typ 81, 1979–1987)
- Audi 4000 (Typ 85, 1984–1987)
- Audi Coupé (Typ 85, 1981–1987)
- Audi Quattro (Typ 85, 1981–1991)
- Audi Sport Quattro (1984–1987)
- Volkswagen Santana (1984–2006)
The B3 Volkswagen Passat was the first B platform car to be called Passat in the United States. The B3 was also the first Passat with an independently designed platform: it did not share parts with Audi models. Instead, the design borrowed heavily from the Volkswagen Group A2 platform, being essentially a stretched version of it, and sharing the same transverse engine layout.
- Volkswagen Passat B3 (Typ 35i, 1988–1993; 1990–1994 in US)
The Volkswagen Corrado was an A2 platform car, but it borrowed heavily from the B3 Passat platform for ancillary components (the VR6 version borrowed some suspension components from the A3 platform too).
The "B3" designation is also used to refer to the "Typ 89" version of the Audi 80/90 produced from 1987 to 1992 and the "Typ 8B" Audi Coupé and S2. However these are not based on the same platform as the B3 Passat, being longitudinally engined cars, and that platform should be considered the "true" B3, being the B-class platform historically longitudinally engined and primarily developed by Audi rather than Volkswagen.
The B4 Passat was a face lifted B3 (receiving its own generation number is controversial), remaining nearly mechanically identical, but with entirely new sheetmetal, and an updated interior design.
- Volkswagen Passat B4 (Typ 35i, 1993–1996; U.S. 1995–1997)
The "B4" designation is also used to refer to the "Typ 8C" version of the Audi 80 and RS2 produced from 1991 to 1994. However these are not based on the same platform as the B4 Passat. These are developed from the longitudinal B3 platform too, with some modifications such as an extended rear overhang, longer wheelbase, redesigned suspension and fuel tank.
The B5 platform employs a longitudinal engine placement, which differs from the Volkswagen Group A platform which have been traditionally transversely mounted. This platform (also known as PL45 under the new VAG scheme) was introduced with the first-generation Audi A4 and the 1996 Volkswagen Passat. B5 platform cars can be equipped with a multilink front suspension and a Torsen centre differential for quattro or 4motion branded four-wheel drive systems. A long-wheelbase derivative of this platform - originally designed for the Chinese market and being used in the 1999 Volkswagen Passat Lingyu, but ultimately being used for its rebadged version under the Škoda brand, the 2002 Škoda Superb - is referred to as PL45+.
In late 2000, the B5 Passat received a facelift, referred to as "B5.5".
- Audi A4 (Typ 8D, Avant 8D5, 1994–2002)
- Audi S4 (Typ 8D, 1997–2002)
- Volkswagen Passat B5 (Typ 3B, 1996–2000)
- Audi RS4 Avant (Typ 8D, 2000–2001)
- Volkswagen Passat B5.5 (Typ 3BG, 2000–2005)
- Volkswagen Passat Lingyu B5 (2005–2011; long-wheelbase version for Chinese market)
- Škoda Superb (Typ 3U, 2001–2008)
The designation "B6" is used to identify the "Typ 8E" Audi A4/S4 produced from late 2000 to 2005. The platform used by these models is formally known as the PL46 platform.
Confusingly, the historical generation of Volkswagen's Passat are also colloquially referred to as "B6", given that they are Volkswagen's sixth generation mid-sized saloon. However this generation of the Passat uses the PQ46 platform, a stretched version of the transverse engined Golf Mk5 and Jetta Mk5's PQ35 platform, also known as A6 to distinguish it from the "true" B6 platform.
- Audi A4 (Typ 8E/8H (saloon: 8E2, Avant: 8E5) / 8H7 (Cabriolet), 2001–2005)
- Audi S4 (Typ 8E/8H (saloon: 8E2, Avant: 8E5) / 8H7 (Cabriolet), 2003–2005)
- Volkswagen Passat CC (3C, 2008–2011)
- Volkswagen CC (35, 2012–2017)
- Volkswagen Passat (B6/B7) (3C, 2005–2014)
- Volkswagen Passat NMS, North America/China/Korea (NMS [stretched 3C], 2011–present)
- Volkswagen Sharan/SEAT Alhambra (7N, 2010–present)
- Volkswagen Tiguan (5N, 2007–2017)
- Škoda Superb (3T, 2008–2015)
The Audi A4, S4 and RS4 has a "B7" generation, from 2005 to 2008. However, this seventh generation of the car was a minor revision of the PL46 platform, but with major revisions to engine ranges, suspension revisions, updated chassis and consumer electronics, and restyled bodywork. The B7 A4/S4 retains the Typ 8E/8H numbers of the B6 A4/S4, though with different suffixes, while the SEAT Exeo though it has derived from the Audi A4 B7 takes the Typ 3R number.
- Audi A4 (Typ 8E2 (saloon), 8E5 (Avant), 8H7 (Cabriolet), 2005–2008**)
- Audi S4 (Typ 8E2 (saloon), 8E5 (Avant), 8H7 (Cabriolet), 2006–2008)
- Audi RS4 quattro (Typ 8E2 (saloon), 8E5 (Avant), 8H7 (Cabriolet), 2006–2008)
- SEAT Exeo (Typ 3R5 (saloon), 3R9 (Sport Tourer), 2009–2013)
**Audi 2009 Cabriolet was a carry-over from the 2008 model year
The MLB (Modularer Längsbaukasten in German) or MLP (Modular Longitudinal Platform) component matrix is used in the B8 (A4, A5, Q5), C7 (A6, A7, Q7) and D4 (A8) families of Audi vehicles. This is noteworthy for placing the front differential ahead of the clutch, allowing the front axle to be moved forward 4 inches. This results in an increase in wheelbase and a slightly more rearward weight distribution for better vehicle dynamics.
- "Im Fokus: Volkswagen" (PDF). Automobil-Produktion (in German). March 2006. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
- Fulthorpe, Mark (April 2002). "Europe's slight rise & anticipated decline - Auto by the Numbers - car sales, production in Western Europe - Illustration - Statistical Data Included". CBS Interactive Business UK. Retrieved 1 October 2009.