It’s a high class car that doesn’t need a ridiculously expensive bootlid badge to stand out. And a very desirable one indeed.
This was a model in its own right, Volkswagen’s clear alternative to BMW 3 Series-style compact executive saloons. Hence the loss of the ‘Passat’ reference in this improved model’s name so as not to put premium people off. The underpinnings of course remain solidly based on those of Volkswagen’s mid-ranger. It’s the dressing that counts, which in this case is even smarter than before and built around a whole raft of more efficient high technology.
‘CC’ in this case stands for ‘Comfort Coupe’. So, does it feel sporty and coupe-like at the wheel? You might not think so – unless you were jumping straight into this car from an ordinary Passat, in which case it’ll probably feel very sporty and low-slung indeed. Which wouldn’t be a total illusion for thanks to its sports suspension, this car does actually sit 15mm closer to the ground than Volkswagen’s standard mid-ranger.
Not a recipe, you might think, for the kind of magic carpet ride a ‘Comfort Coupe’ ought to provide. Actually though, the CC rides rather nicely. Refinement in fact is one of the best things about this car, Volkswagen’s engineers having gone to huge trouble in perfecting it, adding sound-absorbing materials everywhere they could, as well as putting an acoustic film layer into the windscreen.
There’s no reason to pay a premium over the kind of mechanically identical Passat that’s slightly shorter, slightly narrower and slightly higher. And this CC looks doesn’t, on paper at least, seem to have changed very much from what was offered in the original version, with very few sheet metal tweaks, apart from a revised bonnet. So there are still the same frameless doors and still the same flowing side profile lines, the roof flowing towards the rear in a gentle coupe curve that extends from the A pillars to far beyond the C pillars. In the metal though, I’d have to say that things are a little different. It isn’t just in the name: this car really does now have its own identity.
The more distinctive front end is largely responsible for this, with its smarter chrome radiator grille and redesigned bi-xenon headlights. The bumper has also been updated with an extra air intake and silver-coloured ‘winglets’ that frame the fog lights. There’s a smarter profile too, with more distinctively sculpted side sills. And at the back, above the sleeker bumper, you’ll find redesigned LED taillights finishing off the gently tapered tail. This is a very handsome car indeed. As before, the Volkswagen logo doubles as the handle for the boot but you won’t have to use it if you’ve the hands-free boot-opening device fitted which, if you approach the car laden down with shopping and the key in your pocket, can flip the lid with just a wave of your foot beneath the bumper.
And inside? Well, let’s start on the back seat. The annoying two-person-only rear bench of the original Passat CC has long been ditched in favour of this more conventional three-person back seat. As usual with this class of car, there’s plenty of space for two adults with impressive reserves of legroom.
Up front, the beautifully made cabin is as solidly built as you’d expect from a Volkswagen and there’s an extra touch or two of class in this case, with features like the analogue clock in the centre of the dash. It’s very hard indeed to find fault here, the Passat cabin was already very smart indeed, so taking that up a few notches in quality creates an ambience just as good as you’ll find from compact executive models from rivals.
The idea of a practically-sized four-door coupe might sound like a contradiction in terms but it’s been interpreted here in a form that’s created one of the classiest models that Volkswagen makes.
The changes that make up this improved model are enough to give this CC a much more distinct, much more up-market identity than it ever had before. Here then, is a car that’s come of age. Style, it seems, is not about the badge on your bootlid. But if you’re a potential CC user, then you probably already knew that anyway…….