As motoring journalists, we’re very lucky to have the newest and shiniest cars in town parked in our porch. After awhile, the “immune system” gets build up to a level that only the very captivating will leave a mark.
The Volkswagen Passat CC is one such car because it’s such a beauty. I caught myself looking back everytime I walked away. I unrolled the curtains so I could occasionally look at it while reading the papers. Such was the effect.
Continue reading the report after the jump.
While the Passat CC looks pretty good in pictures, only in real life does it create the abovementioned symptoms, like the captivating girl you remember so vividly one week after that brief five-second encounter.
The CC is not so much a makeover of the standard Passat, but it’s as if this was the original sketch VW designers came up with before sensibility took over. Personally, I think that this car looks better than the Mercedes-Benz CLS, which we presume was VW’s inspiration for its four-door coupe.
Like the CLS, the Passat CC sports a wider, lower and sleeker shape over the car on which it’s based on, and it shares no body panels with the normal Passat.
To be exact, the CC is 34mm longer, 35mm wider and significantly, sits 55mm lower. This, plus the high and rising waistline results in a slim glasshouse which contributes to the CC’s coupe aspirations. Oh, and aren’t those turbine 18-inch alloys sexy?
The frameless doors also do their part in adding sense of occasion. Open them and you’ll find a sumptous cabin in tan leather. Perhaps VW has gone overboard in trying to make the Passat CC special by having just two individual rear seats; while it was just nice for my family of four, the lack of seating for five could be a potential deal breaker for many.
Moving on, while the basic dash design is carried from the normal Passat, the cozy and cocooning surroundings (you sit much lower too) and the very luxe Nappa leather makes it all feel a tad more exotic. The brushed aluminium trim is convincing and VW’s excellent RCD 510 system (not found in GTI/Scirocco) is a welcome inclusion – the full colour touch screen unit incorporates a rear parking camera and ParkAssist, which gives a bird eye’s view of the car relative to obstacles. Just as well, because outward visibility – especially the over the shoulder rear three quarter view – isn’t great, thanks to the small glass area and thick pillars. Coming out of junctions could prove tricky too.
Yes, there are some parts shared with the Golf, but they look and feel good enough to belong in this car. As a whole, the Passat CC’s cabin gives off nothing to premium badged compact execs in quality, and shades them in ambience.
Looking at that arching roofline, I expected the rear quarters to be cramped, but adults below six foot tall shouldn’t have any headroom problems. Those seated here enjoy good legroom and nicely sculptured seats plus ample storage in the centre seperator. Even better if there was a full length glass roof, but we’re just being greedy here. A luxurious long distance cruiser needs a big boot, and the CC’s trunk is so long that you’ll need a hook to get to bags stored deep inside. In absolute terms, its 532 litres is just 33 litres less than the standard Passat’s.
The Passat CC makes a strong case for itself on the move as an executive express, and asks plenty of questions of the German 3-Series/C-Class/A4 trio. With those compact execs, you pay more for less power, and the Passat CC is one swift car with the sole option of a 197 bhp/280 Nm TSI engine (the same EA113 engine as the Mk5 Golf GTI). VW quotes 0-100 km/h in 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 232 km/h, but in practise it feels much faster than those bare figures suggest, thanks to a turbocharged wave of low down torque sustained fairly long, coupled with a willingness to rev. Much has been said about this engine already, so we’ll just add that in the Passat CC, it’s better insulated than other sportier applications, which suits the effortless nature of this car.
The choice of a torque converter automatic over DSG also makes sense in smooth operator like the Passat CC. While VW’s twin-clutch box is fast, efficient and smooth, we imagine that it would be a tad dramatic and abrupt for the Passat CC’s nature. Volkswagen does offer it paired with the 1.4 litre TSI in another variant of the Passat CC though, but the 2.0 litre TSI gets the auto. In any case, the six-speed slushbox is a good one, never caught napping and very smooth. You never really need to do it yourself, which is a mark of a good automatic. The wide 235-section tyres however (with ContiSeal self sealing technology, auto seals punctures from objects up to 5mm in diameter) generated lots of noise when cruising, marring slightly the otherwise excellent comfort.
The Passat CC gets VW’s DCC Adaptive Chassis Control, which electronically matches the damping to the conditions; there are also two driver selectable presets – Sport and Comfort besides Auto. As mentioned before, DCC is not a gimmick and you do really feel the difference between modes. Sport brings with it a heavier steering and a firmer ride, but Auto is good for most of the time. The presets are better sorted than Audi’s Drive Select.
Despite wearing very thin rubber, the CC rides very well, on the firm side when you’re in Sport but never jarring. The steering’s weighting is good, but could do with more feel and the chassis doesn’t respond to hard driving as enthusiastically as the Ford Mondeo we recently tried, but you rarely feel the urge to test the limits in the VW – it’s not that sort of car. On its own, the Passat CC is good to drive swiftly – fast, composed and stable footed, good enough for most of us.
The Passat CC is the best seller of the three latest VWs to hit our market, mainly because of the attractive RM239,888 price. For that money, you get a lot of equipment (besides those already mentioned, bi-xenons, dynamic cornering lamps, electronic parking brake, sunroof, electric rear sunshade and keyless entry are all standard), certainly more than the locally assembled 320i or C200K, both of which cost almost RM10K more.
This good value is likely to seal the deal for those already tempted by the style, comfort and pace on offer.
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