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 That doesn't mean the CC is outdated, however: whereas the current Passat has been enlarged, de-contented and cheapened to appeal to the middle of the American market, its predecessor was a more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 roof line 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.
The standard engine for the CC is a smooth and torquey 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers 200 horsepower at 5,100 rpm and 207 pound-feet of torque starting from 1,700 rpm. Available with a standard six-speed manual or an optional six-speed 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 280 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 265 pound-feet of torque at 2,750 rpm, enough for a mid-six-second time in the benchmark zero-to-60 mph sprint. Mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic that spins all four wheels, the engine returns 17/25 mpg in government testing.
Trim Level Breakdown
Volkswagen offers the CC in six trim levels called 2.0T Trend, 2.0T Sport, 2.0T R-Line, 2.0T R-Line Executive, 2.0T R-Line Executive w/Carbon, and 3.6L VR6 4Motion Executive.
The base 2.0T Trend comes with 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped by self-sealing tires, bi-xenon headlights, LED tail lights, rain-sensing wipers, automatic A/C, heated and 12-way power-adjustable front seats, Volkswagen's touch screen-based MIB II infotainment system, a rear-view camera, Bluetooth connectivity, V-Tex upholstery, and a six-speed manual transmission.
The 2.0T Sport gains specific 17-inch alloys, adaptive headlights, fog lights with a cornering function, keyless entry with a push-button ignition, a bigger touch screen, and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Stepping up to the 2.0T R-Line model brings 18-inch alloys and a full body kit that includes a more aggressive-looking front bumper as well as side skirts. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, and cars equipped with the optional dual-clutch automatic benefit from shift paddles.
The R-Line Executive builds on the R-Line model with a standard automatic transmission, specific 18-inch alloy wheels, black trim around the windows and on the grille, black mirror caps, ambient lighting, and a power-tilting panoramic sunroof.
The R-Line Executive w/Carbon model loses the regular Executive's ambient lighting but it gains leather upholstery and a sprinkling of carbon-look trim.
Finally, the range-topping 3.6L VR6 4Motion Executive comes loaded with the six-cylinder engine, a headlight washer system with heated nozzles, 18-inch alloys, ventilated front seats with a memory function, a massage function for the driver's seat, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, a forward collision warning system, a lane departure warning system, a premium sound system, and a power rear sunshade.
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.
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.