Memories of a long drive last year in the Passat CC, or simply the CC as the rear badge declared, still remain as sharp as its handling, when I find myself at the wheel of yet another of its kind. The CC has undergone some significant cosmetic changes in these few short months. More importantly, while my last year’s review was driven by a 2.0 L turbo hotpot that supplied a lively 210 hp, this time I take the reigns of 300 horses in the new Volkswagen CC 2012, with its top of the line 3.6 L V6 engine.
UPSIDE: Distinctive design lines, Intuitive handling, family comfort in a sporty coupe, Premium features are largely standard, Engine choices
FLIPSIDE: Voice commands for radio are tricky, Wider rear view camera desirable, New front grille is more pacific than aggressive, some competitors are quicker
Volkswagen CC PRICES:
CC 1.8 S with 7-speed DSG gearbox and 160 hp output: AED 112,900
CC 1.8 SE – with panoramic sunroof and rear view camera: AED 123,900
CC 2.0 SEL with 6-speed DSG and 210 hp output: AED 145,900
CC 2.0 SPORT with 6-speed DSG and 201 hp: AED 159,500
CC 3.6 SPORT V6 4MOTION with 6-speed DSG gearbox 300 hp output: AED 172,500
Parallel Parking Assist with Park Distance Control is standard in all CC models. Volkswagen marks its top models with a Panoramic Sunroof, Rear View Camera and Navigation DVD.
The most impressive thing about Volkswagen’s Comfort Coupe isn’t that how easy it is to be at its best, but how pleasurably it does that. The 3.6 L engine mated to the six-speed DSG transmission is an engaging presence in one of the most sensible sports-inclined cars on our roads. Not in a hurry to show off its prowess, the Passat CC delivers its power in a composed manner and marks an evenly smooth ascend made more satisfying by a restrained V6 snarl that borders on the menacing. The dual clutch gearbox does make transitions almost seamless, while the 4-motion all-wheel drive in my V6 version makes it an even trustier ride in corners and curves.
Fuel efficiency, measured on my drive at 8.7 km/L, is very impressive for an engine of its size. On an easy ride, the 300 hp engine flew with me to the 100km altitude in 7.6 seconds – which is 2 seconds short of brochure figures. But it is still fast, in an elegant sort of way and that’s what distinguishes the CC from a mere sporty dash. Even if it trails in terms of torque compared with some other sport coupes, it amply makes up with tons of good sense.
The radiator grille in the new CC features prominent horizontal lines, in chrome and black, now forming a visually continuous band with the bi-xenon headlights. Likewise, there is an extra air intake with “winglets” beneath the body-coloured bumper. The signature rear lights of the CC – those butterfly wings spread on either side of the boot – have now given way to a less fancy and straight design that is shaped somewhat like dragonfly wings instead! They are more in line with the current family trait of LED tail lamps with the pairs of flickering boomerangs. The earlier design was striking, agreed; but something that pronounced couldn’t have lasted long, any way!
Cabin and controls
At the top end of affordable-premium cars, the CC has trims that are in true Volkswagen style, an example of understated elegance. The burr walnut wood trims look classy and the console configuration stately; while the coffee and cream spilt all over the cabin of the Volkswagen CC in Napa leather look positively stimulating. And as I sink into the reassuring comfort of one of the most supportive sport style leather seats in tinker-town, my family seated in the rear echo the same comfortable feeling.
Driver-side window and mirror controls are now flatly positioned, not ascending as before. Though it gives the impression of eating into the headroom, the low-profile roof isn’t a problem once you are seated comfortably inside the coupe cabin.
The rear seats have easy to clip-on ISOFIX provision, and frameless glasses designed to be non-threatening in the family friendly sports coupe. The moonroof, of course, doesn’t open and only tilts, thanks to the sweeping roof design of the CC.
The CC is value-for-money in the premium segment, or vice versa, loaded with driver assist features like blind spot assistance, self-parking and even an alert that can catch you nodding. Talking tech, the voice operation of the radio wasn’t very sharp on the steering. But the comfort coupe has a pretty inspiring music system. The CC also gets the reliable navigation system that so impressed me in the Phaeton. The rear view camera could have used a wider view that alerts you to approaching vehicles but the available gadget does its job as you back up.
The Essential CC
In true sporty character, the 3.6 L Volkswagen CC lets you make liberal use of a rather wide arc on the tachometer with power maintained in the mid and high revs. The good thing for aspiring CC drivers are that you don’t have to go in for the pricy top of the line to get into CC character – the 2.0 L engine is sporty enough.
The elements that endeared the Volkswagen CC on my earlier drive thankfully remain unchanged – the sharp cornering skills; the composed and accurate steering; the firm and sensitive road response… just as most things are still unchanged for my family too, comfortably settled behind – this remains one coupe styled sedan that even a conservative spouse will gladly push into the consideration list.
Read about my inspiring long drive in the Passat CC 2011 here. If you wish to go for a pricier sport luxury sedan, the 2012 Audi A6 and 2013 Lexus GS also give you engine variants, and options. For the full road test reviews, click on the links.
Drive Courtesy: AVME, Dubai
Pictures: Volkswagen Supplied and Sudeep