What is it?
The most frugal version of VW’s handsome Passat CC. The four-door Mercedes CLS-inspired is based on the underpinnings of the previous-generation Passat and this BlueMotion Technology version is part of a subtle realignment of the model’s engine and trim options for 2011.
So in this GT BlueMotion Technology trim, the Passat CC is powered by a 138bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine, which helps contribute to impressive combined economy and CO2 figures of 60.1mpg and 125g/km for a car of its size. And being part of VW’s BlueMotion range, it gets the usual fuel-saving tech including stop-start and an intelligent alternator.
What’s it like?
Looks are subjective, but to my eyes the Passat CC holds great visual appeal both inside and out even before you push the key into its dashboard slot to start it. The plush leather front seats are comfortable and look suitably luxurious, although the dashboard’s design will be familiar to anyone who’s ever spent time in a VW Group product.
When you do get out on the road, it’s a competent performer. Performance from the turbodiesel engine is reasonable, rather than outstanding, although you’re rarely left wanting more. The six-speed manual gearbox has ratios that are nicely spaced and ideally suited to motorway cruises.
Indeed, this is one car where the official combined economy figure is easily in reach if driven with a bit of consideration. We achieved an average of 57mpg on our 300-mile test route, with 64mpg being displayed on the trip computer on one section of motorway.
Around town, the stop-start system is unobtrusive, although you’d be better served speccing the six-speed DSG auto’ model if you can sacrifice some of the economy, as this gearbox is better suited to a car of the Passat CC’s character, particularly in traffic.
Problems? Well, the ride is the most prominent one. Although comfortable at higher speeds, more abrasive surfaces at low speeds have a tendency to be made even worse by the large 18-inch alloys clad in 235/40 tyres.
It’s also not the most engaging car to drive, its chassis feeling its age. It does feel sharper to drive than even the latest VW Passat, although it’s someway off the engagement levels of the BMW 3-series.
Should I buy one?
Even three-years after its introduction, this is a segment the VW Passat CC almost has to itself. The new Mercedes CLS is larger and almost double the price, while swoopy saloons-come-hatchbacks including the Vauxhall Insignia and upcoming Hyundai i40 lack the style and sophistication the Passat CC exudes.
It may not be as dynamic or practical as a BMW 3-series saloon, but it’s an interesting alternative nonetheless.
VW Passat CC BlueMotion Technology
Price: £25,780; Top speed: 132mph; 0-62mph: 9.8sec; Economy: 60.1mpg; CO2: 125g/km; Kerb weight: 1550kg; Engine: 4cyls, 198cc, turbodiesel; Power: 138bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 236lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox: 6spd manual