Seeking to add some spice to its line-up, Volkswagen whipped the covers off its new Passat CC – the first in what the German car-maker’s US boss, Stefan Jacobi, described as "a range of image boosting niche market models due out by 2010".The sleek new upmarket saloon sits on the same basic underpinnings as the standard Passat – complete with a transversely mounted engine and the choice of either front- or four-wheel drive, but receives its own unique body featuring four frameless doors, heavily curved roofline and notchback style boot – all aimed at providing it with coupe-like appeal very much in the same vain as Mercedes-Benz’s successful CLS.Reaction to the new car in Detroit was mixed; some considered its swoopy styling just what Volkswagen needs as it attempts to rachet up its sales on the back of an announcement that it intends to sell 800,000 cars annually in North America by 2018. Others described it as lacking sufficient visual differentiation to the standard Passat to make any real impression.Whatever the case, there was no doubting the new car’s importance to Volkswagen. The entire executive board was on hand to witness the unveiling.Due to go on sale in the UK in September at a starting price of around £23,000, the CC (the name hails from Volkswagen’s own internal codename denoting C-segment C-coupe) will come with a wide range of engine options, including a base turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol unit developing 160bhp. Ranged above it is a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder mill with 200bhp and flagship naturally aspirated 3.2-litre V6 with 300bhp. Joining them from the outset of sales will be two 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail diesels with 140bhp and 170bhp.