Pricey and less practical than the saloon, but with plenty more appeal

What is it?

The Passat CC is Volkswagen’s bold attempt at a stylish four-door coupe in the mould of Merc’s strong-selling CLS. Don’t let the name fool you – this isn’t a retractable hard-top convertible. Instead the CC is a lower and leaner version of the Passat saloon, sharing the same platform and mechanical layout.

Seen in profile the CC looks low and sleek. Every body panel is different from the saloon, and the ‘coupe’ is 31mm longer, despite sharing the same wheelbase. More importantly, it’s 50mm lower than its more practical sibling.

We’re told that the design was inspired in part by the chopped roofs of American custom cars in the early 1950s, and it’s certainly fair to say that the CC is the most visually arresting saloon that Volkswagen has produced for years.

What’s it like?

Not conventionally beautiful, to be fair – but the CC’s exterior styling is certainly audacious. Inside the cabin things are far more familiar, though – the frameless doors are pretty much the limit of the changes and the CC’s dashboard, centre console and instruments are pretty near identical to the normal car.

Rear seat accommodation isn’t exactly commodious, either – but there’s more room in the back than any similarly priced two-door coupe can offer. Luggage space is slightly down on the saloon, too.

The CC will be available with several direct-injection petrol engines, including the familiar 198bhp motor from the Golf GTI and a new 158bhp 1.8 TFSI motor, but the majority of UK sales will be fitted with the company’s new common-rail 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine, which will be sold in both 138bhp and 168bhp states of tune.

The basic engine is no firecracker, but a solid 236lb ft of torque gives plenty of low-down urge. It’s far more refined than the old ‘pumpe duse’ engine, too – and the official 48.7mpg combined fuel economy figure is impressive or a car this size.

On the road, it feels slightly sharper than the standard Passat, although it’s nowhere near the BMW 3-Series for dynamic competence. High grip levels are bounded by predictable understeer, and although the damping works well at high speed the ride quality gets too busy in town.

Should I buy one?

Viewed objectively, the CC doesn’t make a great deal of sense. It’s larger, less useful and more expensive than the Passat saloon on which it’s largely based.

But the CC’s combination of style and practicality means that it will appeal strongly to people looking for something to help them stand out from the crowd.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
NiallOswald 14 April 2008

Re: Volkswagen Passat CC 2.0 TDI

Am I wrong in thinking there's a bit of Peugeot 607 about the passat CC? It's sleeker, but I can't help but see 607!

Thankfully no similarities in the interiors though!

Quattro369 12 April 2008

Re: Volkswagen Passat CC 2.0 TDI

LOATHER: It takes a brave man to correct you, but I feel that I have to pick you up here.

1.All manufacturers MPG figures are gained using the same laboratory test techniques which are strictly adhered too. It is common knowlegde that these results are pretty much impossible to achieve in real-life driving situations. They should only been used as a guide. I dont think its possible for a manufacturer to "pad out" these figures. It may just be that BMW's stop-start system is particularly suited to these tests.

2.You mention the BMW 318d only achieved 36mpg in the Autobild road test "some way below the Passats claimed 48mpg" Spot the obvious error in that statement - you are not comparing like with like. Do you really think the Passat would have acheived anywhere near its official 48mpg? I think not.

3. Auto Express tested a VW Golf 1.9TDi Bluemotion against a BMW 118d. Both claim to achieve exactly the same figure of 62.8mpg. The BMW managed 49.6mpg whilst the Golf only managed 42.0mpg. You dont need to work out percentages to see the BMW is much closer to its claimed figures than the VW.

My point is that all official MPG figures should be taken with a pinch of salt and not as a realistic expectation of what you will actually achieve. This applies to ALL manufacturers.

brompton 11 April 2008

Re: Volkswagen Passat CC 2.0 TDI

Well my Dad used to really like his chopped roof Rover P5s 3litre and 3.5 in the 60's. He had 3 of them to commute in North London and get to Upton Park for West Ham matches. Not unlike the Passat a conservative saloon design given a spark of something or other.

Went like the clappers with the V8 but with overlight steering it was hard to stay in lane on the Winchester by-pass. I reckoned my Austin 1100 was safer and just as quick a way to get to Bournemouth!!

Cars feed our illusions to make the manufacturers money. Basic transport masquerading as a macho Jeep, sports car, or limo. While aesthetics is clearly subjective some designs probably invoke primordial notions of balance and proportion better than others. And what we see is influenced by what we know about the underlying engineerng.