2015 Volkswagen CC

The Volkswagen CC is a four-door coupe that seeks to combine the dramatic styling of a coupe with the practicality of a sedan. Like the Mercedes-Benz CLS that sparked this emerging segment, the CC seats four and provides easier access to the rear seats than a normal coupe.

The CC is based on the last version of the bread-and-butter Passat sedan. That doesn't mean the CC is outdated, however: whereas the current Passat has been enlarged, de-contented and cheapened to appeal to the middle of the American market, its predecessor was a more luxurious, refined and highly-tuned driver's machine.

The CC's connection to the old Passat is most visible in its sophisticated cabin. Soft-touch materials abound, fit and finish is excellent and the overall design is intuitive, flowing and polished.

It is the CC's exterior that will win over most buyers, though. The overall look is one of simple elegance, with details like a relatively low, sloping roofline and sleek lights contributing to the attractive, expensive-seeming mien.

Visually, the car packs a simple, conservative grille and headlamps that bring the overall look more in-line with Volkswagen's mainstream Passat and Jetta offerings. Bi-Xenon headlights with VW's Adaptive Front Lighting System and LED taillamps are now standard equipment.

Powertrain Options
The standard engine for the CC is a smooth and torquey 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers 200 horsepower at 5100 rpm and 207 pound-feet of torque starting from 1800 rpm. Available with a standard six-speed manual or an optional dual-clutch automatic that Volkswagen dubs the DSG, the motor helps the CC hit sixty mph from a stop in a touch over seven seconds. Fuel economy is rated at 21/32 mpg with the manual, while automatic-equipped cars carry a 22/31 mpg rating.

Available in mid-range and top-level CC models is a potent 3.6-liter gasoline VR6. The engine offers up 300 horsepower at 6600 rpm and 266 pound-feet of torque at 2500 rpm, enough for a mid-six-second time in the benchmark zero-to-60 mph sprint. Mated exclusively to a six-speed (single clutch), the engine returns 17/27 mpg in government testing. Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system can be ordered with the VR6, lowering gas mileage to 25 mpg on the freeway.

Trim Level Breakdown
The CC is available in seven trim levels: 2.0T Sport, 2.0T Sport Plus, 2.0T R-Line, 2.0T Executive, Lux, Lux VR6 and VR6 4Motion Executive.

The entry-level Sport trim comes well equipped with leatherette (a convincing faux leather) upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a touchscreen-activated eight-speaker sound system with an iPod input jack, cruise control, a power-adjustable driver's seat, metallic-look matte chrome interior trim, 17-inch "Verme" alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel and automatic lights and windshield wipers. This trim comes equipped with the 2.0-liter turbo four along with a choice of transmissions - all other trims (except the 2.0T R-Line) come with the automatic gearbox only.

The 2.0T Sport Plus adds 18-inch "Mallory" wheels with all-season 235/40 tires and a navigation system.

The 2.0T Executive packs a premium navigation system, a four-year subscription to SiriusXM, keyless entry and push button start, a motion-activated trunk opener, leather upholstery, a sunroof, a rear-view camera, 18-inch "St. Louis" wheels and ebony interior trim.

The 2.0T Lux comes with 18-inch "St Louis" five-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, dark brushed-aluminum interior trim, a power sunroof and ambient lighting.

The VR6 Lux brings the more powerful engine, dual-zone automatic climate control, ebony interior trim and a headlamp washer system with heated nozzles, memory seats and mirrors, a rearview camera and 18-inch "Inerlagos" alloy wheels.

The top-end CC is the VR6 4Motion Executive, which adds the V6 engine and all-wheel drive, a Park Distance Control system with front and rear proximity sensors, a 600-watt Dynaudio premium audio system and leather seating.

The 2.0T R-line trim has a more sporty appearance that includes lower, extended bumpers and side skirts, darkened taillights and halogen foglights. Otherwise, this trim's features are the same as those found in the 2.0T Sport. Both transmissions are available with this trim.

All CC models come equipped with a bevy of safety features including dual front, side and side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.

Key competitors
The Volkswagen CC packs a potent stylistic punch for its size, finding itself competing with a rather varied group of competitors ranging from the Buick Regal Turbo, to the Nissan Maxima, the Lincoln MKZ or the Acura ILX.