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'98 Passats

Let me say this...
It would be rather difficult to look into an A4 with nice trimmings
anymore.  Period.
(1)  The Passat was everybit as impressive as the A4 with the 1.8t.
(2)  There are still waiting lists just to get the A4.
(3)  The Passat is cheaper.
I was much more impressed than I assumed I would be.  I've driven all
of the Audis and all of the VW's and the Passat just felt *right* on
the road.  It was very quiet and stable at speed (<80mph) and had
minimal if any turbo lag.  Handling was really pretty good and if
sport packages are available will be even better (although it may not
be available on the syncro, if I was interpreting the German page
(1)  I find the GLS interior rather cheap.  Too much plastic.  Too
much light colored plush velour seating.  Not up to par when compared
to my Quantum Syncro.  I would really like to see VW stick some seats
similar to the Gti or even the Jetta GT in the Passat...deeper backs
and firmer side bolsters, with rougher cloth.
(2)  Thinking...thinking....oh yeah, same as the other poster said. 
The Tiptronic shift gate is chrome plated (plastic?), whereas the A4
is brushed aluminum.  Same goes for the inside door levers...almost
identical to the Qtm Syn.  Also, I think the window control levers
were a little flimsier.
In Summary:
Once the Passat is available with leather trimmings, it will
definitely compete with the A4.  The GLS interior is too spartan for
the Passat right now, if the prices were the same...money goes to A4.
 Still prefer the A4 exterior shape, but hard to question the Psts
extra room in the back.  Also, the Psts extra length may translate
into slighly better hwy stability, while the shorter A4 may be a
little quicker to corner.  This thing felt like it was so solid...I
can't wait to see the syncros!!!!  Will be a tough choice between
1.8t and 2.8V6 though.  Especially with the GLS leather option.
Derek Daily
86 VW Qtm Syncro
P.S.  Welcome Back Walter Cianciusi!