It’s now called the Volkswagen CC, but previously the model included the name Passat.
VW may have meddled with the name of its four-door ‘coupe’, but its still based on the Passat – and arrives not long after the facelift of the German car maker’s mid-size sedan and wagon range.
The curvy lights and rounded grille of the original car have made way for a more straight-edged look inspired by Volkswagen’s new family face. That front end gets a more aggressive-looking grille and LED daytime running lights as standard.
Inside, the cabin from the Passat is carried over – meaning an interior design that is again more of an evolution than a true new-generation look.
But this time there’s a huge level of customisation that aims to distinguish the Volkswagen CC, which goes on sale in Australia in July, as a more bespoke choice than its more conservatively shaped relative.
And choices there are, with 11 different seat materials, three dash colours and four separate trim inserts, ranging from walnut to brushed aluminium.
The standard equipment list limits choices, in a good way, for even the entry-level CC (at least in the UK where we tested this model).
The base VW CC includes satellite navigation, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, climate control, alloy wheels and xenon headlights. Upgrade to GT spec and you get full leather upholstery, adaptive dampers, cruise control, parking sensors and larger alloys.
The engine line-up is similar to the Volkswagen Passat range, so there’s a 1.8-litre turbo petrol engine with 118kW, a 2.0-litre turbo with 155kW and the 2.0-litre turbo diesel is offered with 103kW or 125kW. We drove the lower-powered diesel.
It comes as standard with a six-speed manual, but our car was fitted with the six-speed ‘DSG’ dual-clutch auto gearbox. Shifts are smooth and quick, and help to launch the CC from 0-100km/h in 9.9 seconds – exactly the same time as the manual. The punchy diesel feels extremely capable on the road, and it’s unlikely buyers will feel the need to go for the more powerful 125kW model.
The downside of speccing the six-speed DSG gearbox, however, is its negative effect on fuel economy.
The way the CC drives is pretty much unchanged from the Passat CC, but that’s no bad thing.
Acoustic windows, more underbody insulation and extra sound-deadening, though, have all done their part to improve what was already excellent refinement, making the CC one of the quietest cars in this price bracket, especially at freeway speeds.
Our range-topping GT model comes with adaptive dampers as standard which, when set to Comfort, really transform the CC into a supple long-distance cruiser. In Dynamic mode, the CC is far more at home on the twisty roads of our launch venue – the Col de Vence in the south of France – but a lack of driver involvement means it’s not quite perfect.
Buyers worried about the CC being an exercise in style over practicality needn’t worry, as the large 452-litre boot remains and – despite the low roofline – tall passengers can fit in the back seats. One-touch switches in the boot make folding the rear seats incredibly easy, and there’s also an optional system to open the boot by swiping your foot under the rear bumper.
The Passat CC is close to doing everything perfectly: it looks fantastic, it’s practical, comfortable and refined, but while it’s far more capable in corners than the Passat, it still lacks the driver involvement which would make it a truly outstanding car. For a sportier model like the CC it would be nice to see a little more focus on this area.
We'll find out how the Volkswagen CC performs on Australian roads when it arrives in early July.