You expect VW’s to be well made, reliable and comfortable. What you don’t expect perhaps is a dash of style and sophistication which help make a good car even better as Stephen Rome discovered after driving the latest VW CC which has a few surprises up its sleeve…

 

What’s in a name?

When the new Passat CC took a bow back in 2008, it seemed a logical extension of one of the most successful of VW’s large family cars. Nothing if not thorough, VW introduced the CC in part to replace its super luxury Phaeton which when it was launched in 2002 had aspirations to take on prestige rivals from Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, BMW, Lexus and – ironically- Audi.

To say that VW bit off more than it could chew was an understatement and the Phaeton was discreetly withdrawn from the UK a year ago; it now lives on in China where it has been reborn as the Phidion.

The Passat CC? Well, that’s a different story and such has been its success with its sleek lines, streamlined body and breathtaking style that it’s led to a new generation of two plus two rivals from Mercedes Benz, BMW and yet again Audi. And top marks to VW for solving the dilemma of how to replace the flawed Phaeton which they neatly solved by simply taking the Passat name off the CC and relaunching it as the, er, CC…

A week with the range topping CC R-Line Black edition was satisfying and rewarding; at £33,485 the car is not cheap but given its level of equipment and technical sophistication, very good value for money.

There’s no mistaking its handsome profile with a sloping roof line, sculpted sills, sleek bonnet and streamlined bumpers along with frameless windows meaning those all important first impressions are very positive; the range topping Black edition sports some unique touches to distinguish it from lesser members of the CC family including Talladega alloys, uniquely designed front and rear bumpers and black gloss exterior finish which all complement its cool designer look. Bi Xenon headlights and stylish LED taillights add to the aura of sophistication – and safety.

Under the skin, a powerful 184 PS diesel power plant hooks up to a creamy six speed DSG gearbox – suffice to say that on a business trip to Telford I was as cool, calm and collected as the moment I left Ormskirk with adequate power to traverse all manner of roads through Cheshire and Shropshire with aplomb – while no sports car as such, its DSG transmission offers split seconds changes and the suspension offers three settings to maximise driver comfort via Sport, Comfort or Normal.

Sybarites will relish the car’s beautiful interior fit and finish – I first drove a Passat CC some four years ago with a contrasting leather colourway in cream – the test car came with Nappa leather and Carbon optic bolsters and tasteful black roof lining. VW has been very generous with standard kit on the CC which includes climate control, a brilliant sound system and some exquisite detailing to mark the CC out as something special – a dash mounted analogue clock is the finishing touch on a very fine car indeed.

And those swoopy lines don’t mean a cramped cabin either with four wide opening doors opening up more rear space than a conventional coupe, the test car’s panoramic sunroof adding to that feeling of luxury too.