You wait years for one chop-roofed luxury four-door GT coupe and then two come along at once.
Only a few days after driving the BMW X6 for the first time, I found myself behind the wheel of the new Passat CC. Like the BMW, it is coupe-ified version of an existing car. And like the BMW it feels remarkably different to its more upright sister. Somehow, the lower roof and smaller glass area of the CC delivers a more luxurious feeling than the cabin of the more upright and homely Passat saloon.
Perhaps, like the X6, it is the cosseting sensation delivered by a very slightly more enclosed cabin – a trick that the similar-idea Rover P5B Coupe managed to pull off in the ‘60s. The CC’s rear cabin treatment is almost identical to that of the X6, with twin rear seats separated by a large storage console.
From the outside the CC also looks much more expensive than its £21,000 entry-price. With the sweet-spinning 1.8 TSI engine, the saloon costs £19,000. The swooping lines of the CC add just £2000 to the showroom price. Which, considering the premium normally charged for two-door coupes, looks like remarkable value.
And there’s not much loss of practicality if you want the slick looks. You have to duck to get in, but the rear headroom is adequate for 95 per cent of people, the boot is still pretty huge and the cockpit has a very pleasant ambience. It’s not a hot-shoe driver’s car, but the CC does deliver unexpected calm and peace, just like a GT car should. And it’ll look great on the driveway.
To my surprise, there’s rather more substance to this concept than just style-led differentiation.