By Michael Barker
For years Volkswagen has been adjusting to their loyal customer’s personalities; but for 2009, VW is adjusting to their driving styles as well. The newly designed 4 door Volkswagen CC-“comfort coupe” in VW language- takes one of the most grown-up cars on the road, the Passat, and makes it sporty, dynamic, and even sexy. Yes that is correct, Volkswagen has a sexy car. In theory, a 4 door can not be called a coupe but Volkswagen ignores such a ruling and gives you the option to choose what it really is.
The exterior is important for a contender in the near-luxury car echelon, and the CC does not disappoint. Handsomely sleek, the CC takes styling cues from its German relative, the Mercedes CLS 500, with a dramatically sloped C pillar and deliciously raked front windshield. The frameless doors and massive panorama sunroof which engulfs half the car’s roof all tip their hat to the brilliant designers of the CLS.
A very cleanly sloped rear which VW undoubtedly left badgeless on purpose for the first few production test models displays only a commanding VW symbol. This rear will be sure to mystify fellow drivers as to what just passed them on the highway and where they can pick one up. The aforementioned VW symbol also doubles as a back-up camera which integrates with Park Distance Control to take the guesswork out of parallel parking and avoid low-lying obstructions while in reverse. The resulting style of placing heavy emphasis on aerodynamics, which VW proclaims gives the car a lower drag co-efficient than a bullet (look it up if you must), is bold lines and magnificent curves that signal VW’s surge into the 4 door coupe market.
When entering the low slung CC (At its highest point, the CC is only 56 inches tall) the driver’s seat comfortably accommodates the 6 foot-plus crowd and places you in front of a well designed instrument panel where the vital speedometer, tachometer, and gear indicator is predominately displayed. The monochromatic black interior not only felt cozy, but also got approval as it bolsters the driver while taking curves at brisk speeds. VW knows what their tech-savvy customers like and gives it to them in the form of a satellite navigation system interface with Bluetooth and iPod player connectivity, a CD/DVD changer, and a spot for a SD card. You get the idea; there are lots of bonuses you would presume in the much more pricey competitors, included in a stylishly implemented interior. The rear seats provide very comfortable bucket seats with major lateral support and are roomy enough for two adults.
Starting the car includes sliding the smart key into a rectangular receiver near where a traditional key would be inserted and pushing it all the way which converts the key into a start button, and gets the engine firing and the gauge needles hustling. So far, the feel is categorically sporty. The engine comes to life as your commanding view is made possible by the steeply raked windshield, and the tune of the impressive stereo system gets you ready to go. Then something comes across you, something you haven’t felt really while being in a car before: smart. You get a sense of style, design, and refinement without the snobbery of a luxury car.
The four cylinder 2.0 liter turbocharged power plant proves to be smooth, tractable, and has plenty of pep to boot. At 31 mpg, it’s a welcomed car for fuel-conscience rides and enthusiastic drives. Aside from the slight lag upon launch, the turbo jumps into action around 2000 RPM and provides a lively journey up to freeway (and beyond) speeds. The 6-speed auto tiptronic gear box is responsive for a 4 door and provides timely upshifts and downshifts. The 200 hp engine speeds up fairly swiftly while the suspension does not give in to the dreaded understeer when spirited driving in the corners is ensuing. The handling is impressive with medium-weight steering feel and a well controlled chassis, thanks to a chassis control system VW has put on the CC.
The impressive fit and finish, design-precision and encompassing performance of Volkswagen’s Comfort Coupe makes it a strong contender in this growing market segment and proves there can be luxury without elitism. The contemporary and modern feel will suit those attracted by a coupling of design with value, performance with economy, technology with tradition, and a sleek car at an affordable price.