The Volkswagen CC (Comfort Coupé) was introduced into the South African market in 2009 and received plenty of interest, thanks to its obviously sleek profile. Although based on the Passat platform, the CC has always been a cut-above in terms of luxury, performance and its corresponding price.
A year after it was first launched, Volkswagen changed the standard-fit, two-seat, rear bench to a three-seat design due to popular demand. The two-seat layout features a sculptured, bucket seat style design that offers great comfort and support for rear passengers and for this reason remains a no-cost option. The CC received yet more updates in 2011, with a new, 155 kW, 2.0-litre TSI engine from the Golf GTI (previously 147 kW) and the diesel-powered 2.0-litre TDI model was given VW’s BlueMotion engine stop/start and energy regeneration systems, which dropped fuel consumption and emissions from 6.1 to 5.5 L/100km and 159 to 144 g/km of CO2.
Continuous improvement, on an annual basis in this instance, indicates Volkswagen’s commitment to establishing their CC as an alternative to the traditional, compact, premium sedan line-up of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS250 and Volvo S60. While the CC may compete on performance and price, Volkswagen say it has the edge when it comes to standard specification, boasting features not available on some of it competitors and is the reason they’re heralding the 2012 model as a new car and not simply a facelift.
The exterior has been notably revised, even resulting in a slight increase in the CC’s overall length by 4 mm. Changes up front include: a new chrome radiator grille design with three cross fins; newly designed bi-xenon headlights with static cornering lights; and a redesigned bonnet. The bi-xenon headlights are also available with 15 LEDs that form day-time running lights, mounted inside each headlight housing, which are standard on the V6 4Motion model. There is also an extra air intake beneath the front bumper and ‘winglets’ integrated in the sides of this intake together with fog lights.
In profile, the changes to the CC are more subtle, with the new front bumper and slightly chunkier rear bumper being responsible for the new CC’s more edgier stance. Like the front, the CC’s rear-end has also received significant revisions. The entire rear section now has more emphasis on horizontal lines, as evident in the straight lower edge of the new LED tail-lights and revised lower valance. The LED tail-lights themselves are illuminated with wing-shaped elements that serve to further sharpen the look of the car’s rear.
Major changes to the interior really centre around the new level of specification, but aesthetically the CC benefits from ambient lighting strips that are integrated into the fine wood or metallic accents in the doors. New sport seats have also been fitted in front, with optional active climate control (standard on V6 4Motion), which offers heating, cooling and massage functions.
Driver fatigue detection is now standard and detects waning driver concentration and warns the driver with an acoustic signal lasting five seconds. Volkswagen’s second generation of Park Assist, is also standard, which can now detect and steer the car into parking spaces at perpendicular angles to the car, in addition to parallel parking spaces as before.
When equipped with the optional Keyless Access (automatic locking and starting system), a slight kick of the leg beneath the rear bumper is all it takes for a proximity sensor to trigger the boot lid to open. Should you accidentally close the boot with your key inside, the car will recognise this and re-open the boot within a couple of seconds to avoid the possibility of locking your key in the vehicle.
Another innovation is the optional towbar that is electrically unlatched by pressing a button in the boot. This drops down the towbar from where it can then be swung into its fixed operating position with the press of a foot.
Volkswagen have also equipped the new CC with their XDS electronic transverse differential lock. The XDS system improves traction by working with the car’s ESP system to brake the front wheel on the inside of a particular curve when less traction is detected. The XDS improves driving stability and reduces the tendacy toward understeer.
The engine line-up remains unchanged, so choices range from 125 kW with the 2.0-litre diesel, to 155 kW and 220 kW with the 2.0-litre TSI and 3.6-litre V6 petrol engines respectively. The TDI consumes just 5.5 L/100km, the TSI 7.3 L/100km and the V6 9.3 L/100km. All engines are only offered with a dual clutch gearbox (DSG) as standard, which drives the front wheels, except for the V6 that uses 4Motion permanent all-wheel drive.
I drove the TDI BlueMotion on launch and economy was impressive. I managed 5.6 L/100km over roughly 90 kilometres that included open road cruising, some overtaking and some navigation through the streets of Vereeniging. The TDI’s 350 Nm of torque matches that of the bigger V6 petrol, giving it ample grunt off the mark and when overtaking. Of course it’s not as lively and responsive as its 2.0-litre petrol counterpart, but economy is excellent for a car of the CC’s size and the DSG transmission is well calibrated to match the diesel’s character. The BlueMotion technology also means the car will coast along given the opportunity, by decoupling the engine and allowing the kinetic energy of the car’s speed to carry it along until acceleration is needed – just like applying the clutch in a manual transmission vehicle.
Ride comfort is a strong point for the CC, which uses MacPherson strut front suspension and a four-link setup at the rear. The rear suspension is mounted to an isolated sub-frame with four rubber-metal mounts. This rear configuration improves ride comfort and reduces noise levels. In terms of handling, well, the roads to Vereeniging are pretty much straight no matter what direction you approach it from, but the CC’s power steering is accurate and absorbs road imperfections without kickback or requiring constant inputs.
The new CC has been sharpened in more ways than one. With revised styling that gives it contemporary appeal, aided by the addition of LED lights, together with the multitude of new technology packed inside it deserves to be counted among the compact executive sedan segment, if only for its comparative price, performance and perceived build quality, never mind its equipment levels.
|Pricing (incl. VAT and CO2 tax)|
|Volkswagen CC 2.0 TDI DSG (125 kW)||R373 800|
|Volkswagen CC 2.0 TSI DSG (155 kW)||R395 950|
|Volkswagen CC 3.6 V6 FSI 4Motion DSG (220 kW)||R469 405|
Pricing includes a 3-year/120 000km warranty and a 5-year/100 000km maintenance plan.