Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The unique front sports seats with their R36 badging are the first differences you notice from the standard car along with a brushed aluminium trim, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and sporty dials. It's not hugely different from the normal Passat but you certainly know you're in something a little special, while overall quality is excellent - all the switches and controls are well dampened while the driving position is spot-on with plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering column.

Despite the large alloy wheels, stiffer suspension and lower ride height, the Passat R36 rides very well and doesn't crash over bumps. It's obviously firmer than the standard car but still feels relaxing enough for everyday use and the ride on motorways is as smooth as ever. The front sports seats are bolstered at the side to provide plenty of lateral support through corners, but they can feel uncomfortable on longer journeys, however there's very little noise in the cabin at higher speeds which adds to the feeling of refinement.

There's plenty of cabin space too and rear passengers get decent head and legroom in both the saloon and estate models.