VW Arteon looks to be a great choice when it comes out next year. Of course buying a car in it's first year can sometimes be a dice roll as far as reliability. It does ride on the excellent MQB platform which the Golf, TT and A3 currently use. The U.S. spec Passat shifts to the MQB platform in 2018, so it should be less bland once the change is made.
I love the A4, but it is a bit smaller on the inside than the Passat, if that matters to you. Interior is beautiful and handling will probably be nicer. It has a proper longitudinally mounted engine and arguably a nicer AWD system than the MQB based cars. These cars are also substantially more expensive than the VW's.
While not German, Volvo has certainly stepped up it's game as of late, and I agree that the S60 should at least get a test drive. It might be a tad less sporty than the German's but for long distance cruising, Volvo's interior comfort and seats are legendary. It's dimensions probably compare to the A4, which is to say smaller than the Passat.