The terms ‘luxurious high performance European sedan’ and ‘value-for-money’ don’t normally blend together.
But with pricing starting at just $54,990, the Car Showroom team reckons the Volkswagen Passat CC – the new captain of the Passat team - might be the best bargain in the industry.
What You Get
The Passat CC really does present imposing credentials - style with a capital ‘S’ – Volkswagen calls it a four-door coupe – a seemingly endless array of high-tech performance and luxury technologies and a choice of petrol or diesel engines.
It is a pure four-seater, in fact the four seats are individually contoured and even the rears are heated and offer a wide range of comfort adjustments.
Under The Hood
Car Showroom spent a week behind the wheel of a Passat CC powered by Volkswagen’s world-class 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine that delivers 125kW of power at 4200 rpm and peak torque of 350Nm from as low as 1750 rpm. Drive is to the front wheels via Volkswagen’s six-speed twin-clutch Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters for manual changes.
When it comes to diesel engines, there’s no doubt the Volkswagen Group is at the pointy end of the field in every aspect – performance, refinement, economy are outstanding.
The petrol alternative is the 220kW/350Nm FSI V6 which also uses the six-speed DSG transmission but drives all four wheels via the latest generation of Volkswagen’s 4Motion system.
Volkswagen claims combined cycle fuel consumption for the diesel powerplant of 6.3l/100kms or 10.5l/100kms for the petrol version. Our Passat CC diesel had a range in excess of 1,000kms from a tank of fuel.
There is hardly a trace of the Passat sedan to be seen inside the CC. For starters the instruments are not the normal Volkswagen blue - they have a stylish white glow.
Front seats have a 12-way power adjustment and the driver has the usual Volkswagen tilt/telescopic adjustment for the nicely-shaped three-spoke steering wheel to provide a perfect driving position. In addition to their heating, the front seats have an active climate control feature which uses small, silent fans to blows 500-600 litres of air per minute into the seats for improved ventilation – handy during summer months.
The two individual rear seats have adjustable lateral support of the seatbacks and seat surfaces and a central arm-rest/storage compartment/cupholder arrangement. Rear seat leg-room is extensive – as you would expect in a vehicle that is 4.8 metres long.
Our CC featured the optional RNS 510 entertainment system with touchscreen control and satellite navigation plus a rear-view camera.
There is also an optional Media Device Interface (MDI) which has a glovebox-mounted USB port for iPods, MP3 and DVD players. Control is via the radio or navigation system which displays title information.
Climate control is via easy rotary knobs in the center console, seats are beautiful Napa leather and the whole design (nicely finished with brushed aluminium features) oozes style and sophistication. We’ve driven a lot of Volkswagens over the years and when it comes to interiors, the Passat CC ranks number two, beaten only by the super-luxury Phaeton which is the top of the Volkswagen tree (and strangely is not imported to Australia).
Exterior & Styling
Our week in the Passat CC was a busy one with numerous trips to the city, two airport round trips plus the usual school juggling etc. We must have left a trail of happy chiropractors throughout Melbourne such was the extent of ‘rubber-necking’ from startled onlookers.
With dimension of 4.8 metres (length) and a height of just 1.417mm the Passat CC looks wide, low and muscular.
This is accentuated by the flowing lines, flat side curves and of course the frameless windows which provide no surfaces for the wind to catch – hence very low wind-noise even at speed.
The trapezoidal headlights frame the usual Volkswagen front grille and there is a distinctive front splitter ender the air-intakes.
At the rear, the Passat CC is highlighted by unusual - but very stylish - large lamp clusters and a beautifully sculptured rear lip spoiler on the boot.
Aerodynamics are impressive – the drag coefficiant (Cd) is just 0.29.
Passat CC rides on beautiful five-spoke alloy wheels with the latest Mobility Tyres from German brand Continental - a protective inner layer immediately re-seals tyres punctured by nails, screws etc with no loss of pressure.
On The Road
Given its sub-$60,000 starting point, the Passat CC really does deliver remarkable levels of technology.
For example, this is the first Volkswagen with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) which automatically slows the Passat CC when it detects you’re getting too close to the vehicle in front – we know it works well thanks to one of Melbourne’s notorious taxi drivers who gave us the ‘chop’ on the way to Tullamarine Airport (by the appearance of his battered Falcon, this guy pulled these driving stunts often).
There is also Park Assist which - at the push of a button - guides the Passat CC into a parallel parking space (the driver no longer needs to steer, only accelerate and brake as appropriate).
Adaptive Chassis Control with three driver-selected settings – Normal, Sport and Comfort - is also standard and alters the level of assistance provided to the power steering and the damper characteristics.
Suspension is a front MacPherson strut design with lightweight aluminium components while the rear is a four-link independent system.
It all adds up to an exceptionally competent, high performance luxury sedan with high levels of grip, pin-sharp turn-in and precise mid-corner balance.
Refinement levels are brilliant
We would be keen to drive an FSI petrol Passat CC to gauge the impact of the extra 95 kW on this excellent chassis. Having experienced the diesel version, we must say it did not put a foot wrong and handled our ride and handling test route with ridiculous ease.
The other point to remember – if you have more than two children you can forget all of this style and technology because the Passat CC (like the BMW X6) is just a four-seater (not that there’s anything wrong with that in our eyes).
Manufactured at Volkswagen’s new plant in Emden, northern Germany (one of the world’s most advanced and sustainable automotive plants) the Passat CC delivers beautiful quality wherever you look and is truly remarkable value-for money.
There is only one level of specification and the TDI diesel has an RRP of just $54,990 while the V6 petrol (with 4Moption all-wheel-drive) retails for $65,990. Were we in the market for this sort of vehicle we would be rushing to our nearest Volkswagen dealer tomorrow to slam down our cash.
Annoyingly for Mercedes-Benz, many of the rubber-neckers who questioned us while driving the Passat CC initially thought we had the CLS (pricing from $150K to +$260K!). The Passat CC is good, certainly looks the part and actually has more power and the same torque as the V6 CLS but…
Alfa 159? Maybe, but the Passat definitely gets the nod for styling and interior space.
BMW 523 and 525? Well the Passat CC looks better, has more grunt from the FSI petrol engine and costs a lot less.
Jaguar X-Type? Again the Passat CC looks better, has more performance, interior space and mostly costs less.
Peugeot 407? The Passat CC has more kit, performs better, is better value and in our eyes looks better.
Beautiful styling inside and out; sensational value; loaded with techno stuff; great drive
Needs a five-seat option for those who must-have; great chassis could handle more grunt