Update - The next-generation Volkswagen CC has been spied again around the Nurburgring. See bottom of article for details
The all-new 2018 Volkswagen CC has been spied testing this week, offering a first look at the next generation of the German car maker's style-focused executive car.
It's been more than two years since the new Passat was revealed to the world, and the coupe-like car that once bore its name has been due for replacement for sometime now.
Volkswagen began to drop hints as to the new CC's look around the time of the regular new Passat's unveiling, with reports in 2014 hinting at plans for more of a 'fastback' design, rather than the simply curved roofline of the current model.
Then, in February last year, the company revealed the Sport Coupe Concept GTE, a large sports sedan in the vein of the 'four-door coupe' look that has become almost de rigueur in the modern motoring market.
Now, a new Volkswagen prototype has surfaced on the roads of California and, although camouflaged, there's no trick in spotting the similarities with the Sport Coupe Concept GTE.
Most of the details remain obscured at this early stage, but the prototype's profile gives much away, revealing the coupe-like roofline that had been reported in 2014 - a look shared with last year's bold yellow concept.
Other giveaways are limited to the tall rear deck, long tail lamps peeking out through windows in the rear camouflage, and a long sloping bonnet at the front with a familiar grille and headlight look. Long overhangs also stand out at both ends.
A fuzzy long-distance snap of the prototype's cabin suggests we can expect the new CC to again feature an interior borrowed from the Passat, although we may yet see a more distinct look when the vehicle is properly unveiled.
Under the skin, the new CC will ride on the same MQB platform that underpins a number of Volkswagen models, including the regular Passat models and the smaller Golf range.
Above: the Sport Coupe GTE concept
In concept form, the Sport Coupe Concept GTE measures 4869 millimetres long, 1865mm wide, 1407mm tall and sits on a 2841mm wheelbase.
Those numbers make the concept 103mm longer, 33mm wider and 49mm lower than the new Passat, while sitting on a 51mm longer wheelbase.
That stretched wheelbase is focused on space in the second row, highlighting again the importance of the rear legroom-obsessed Chinese market.
Above: the current CC, revealed in 2008 and facelifted in 2012
Reports have also hinted at a CC wagon - which would likely feature shooting-brake like lines, although this is yet to be confirmed and no obvious prototypes have surfaced in the wild.
The concept car is driven by a plug-in hybrid drivetrain with a total of 279kW on offer, brought about via a 220kW 3.0-litre petrol six under the bonnet that is matched to a 40kW electric motor at the front and a second, more powerful, 85kW motor at the rear.
Expect the production model to list a plug-in hybrid GTE in its model spread, along with the usual petrol and diesel options found in the regular Passat range.
Above: the new-generation Passat sedan
Watch for the new CC to make its debut in the year ahead, possibly at the 2017 Geneva motor show, next March.
Update: Photographers have snapped images of another 2018 Volkswagen CC doing rounds near the Nurburgring in Germany.
Wearing larger wheels and slightly less camouflage around the front windows, this second CC prototype doesn't lend any more clues than the first vehicle, though it looks much sportier with the bigger alloys.
Click the photos tab for more images of the Volkswagen CC.