At first glance first thoughts may that the Passat CC is a frugal diesel family car. With a sleek and pretty exterior, you would think it has been designed in order to achieve maximum fuel economy. While this may be true for the diesel iteration of this unique saloon, for the V6 FSI model, it could not be further from the truth. With underpinnings borrowed from the notorious Passat R36, it is what some would call a 'wolf in sheep's clothing', a sleeper. This is what I love most about the V6 CC, the element of surprise. Moreover, there's little distinguishing it from the standard 125 TDI from the exterior. Other than Interlago 18" wheels and a dual exhaust outlet, the two cars cannot be differentiated.
Opening the pillarless doors and stepping inside, the quality of the craftsmanship is apparent and frankly, you would not accept less from a German-built car. The two tone black and cashmere coloured Nappa leather makes for a beautiful atmosphere. Glancing over the dash reveals a simple elegance with clearly illustrated dials. The infotainment system strikes a perfect balance between sleekness and usable buttons. Even the key fob has a simple elegance about it, slotting into ignition with a satisfying click. Upon startup you are greeted with the wonderful rumble of Volkswagen's best engine, the narrow angle 3.6L V6. With the interior coming alive, little details become apparent, like the LED lighting beneath the door spears, LED footwell lighting and beautiful self-levelling and cornering Xenon headlamps. The major let down of the interior would have to be the steering wheel. There is nothing differentiating it from the standard wheel found in every other VW. Paddle shifters are present, however, and the construction of the wheel is much like the rest of the car, impeccable. Moving through the interior, there is seating for 4 with heated seats for all, dual zone climate control and a rather nifty 30GB HDD for music with a DVD player. The optional Dynaudio system is so powerful and clear that it will leave the teenager within you giggling and driving laps around the local hotspot. Rear occupants may complain of little head room in the back, but if this is a problem then the CC is not for you, buy a standard, boring Passat.
The CC comes alive on a spirited drive through a beautiful silk road. Engaging the sport setting on the suspension and DSG keeps the revs high and in the sweet spot of the luscious VR6. It's hard to believe that VW quotes 220kw and 350NM of torque as it feels much quicker. The steering gives you confidence and the 4Motion AWD system allows you to take the car to the edge and remain in control. Keen drivers, however, will notice that it is a little floaty through hard cornering even with the Sport setting engaged. Moving from a stop, you feel the jerk of the clutches engaging in the DSG, however, this is reduced once you slide the beautifully grafted lever into manual mode. Gear changes are exactly what we have come to expect from the VW DSG: clean and crisp with a slight "gshhht" thanks to the torque tags on full throttle gear changes. The brakes are a tad touchy however provide a great feel and stop the car with millimeter precision.
Do not be fooled into thinking this car is a dedicated sports car. Once the suspension setting into normal or even comfort, you have a compliant, quiet luxury cruiser that allows you to ride in unique style. Pop open the optional sunroof and windows for a fresh breath of the country side with the sweet knowledge that you have enough power to get you in trouble if there happens to be a paparazzi of speed camera's all the while holding an air of quality that so far pertains only to this model of Volkswagen.
Overall, any preconceived opinions of this being just another dull Passat have been completely blown away. This is not a regular family car, but a vehicle for the enthusiast in need of some extra space. In fact, I loved this car so much that I bought one.