A couple of weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to check out the new Volkswagen CC, the German auto maker's foray into the entry-level luxury market. Having been the passionate owner of two Volkwagens already, I was more than thrilled at the prospect of test driving this introduction on the highways and byways of the Windy City. Over the years, Volkswagen had managed to chip away at my reverence with some poor design choices (such as the sweeping chrome details that have been added under their signature grills), but seeing the CC on the morning of our group test drive, old sentiments came surging back.
Car design has regrettably suffered over the past decade. There are few bold statements and very little separates one model from another. The CC, which stands for "comfort coupe," also eschews bold statements, but manages to distinguish itself with a collection of subtle gestures and fine detailing.
Although technically a four door sedan, the CC maintains the feel of a coupe with its low, sporty profile, a feat made possible through using frameless doors and a tapered, almost clipped rear. On the exterior, the CC is marked by a graceful line which begins at the top of the front wheel wells and connects with the rear tail lights. Subtlety continues on the rear where the suggestion of a spoiler (so often an eyesore on most cars) is notable above the lozenge-like tail lights. The car also comes with some clever options, such as the VW badge that flips to reveal a rear-view back up camera. I was happy to learn that the design group in Germany remains insistent on the lack of a CC badge.
On the road, the CC performed as one might expect a German engineered car to perform. Although I'd hoped to drive a manual, none were available that day, and so I got behind the wheel of a 2.0T Luxury model which delivers 200hp. Gunning from a red light was a pleasure, but it was the performance on I-94, effortlessly accelerating from traffic slowdowns and into the eighties, that put a smile to my face. In fact, I found myself weaving and speeding through traffic with little hesitation, and I have to believe my foot was made heavier on the pedal because the CC was so silent; I couldn't tell the engine was running. Although the CC isn't being billed as an eco-conscious car, it nevertheless gets a respectable 30mpg on the highway.
The interior befits the luxury moniker. All models, with the exception of the Sport version, come standard with sport bucket leather seats. Brushed aluminum panels on the dash mean that a MacBook Pro would look at home in the passenger seat. Come to think of it, Volkswagen owners nearly always have an affinity for Apple computers, and vice versa. It must be the attention to detail. One of my favorite features of the interior was the panoramic sunroof. Although it only tilts open, the full-width window allowed ample light to stream in while maximizing the perceived volume of the interior.
Readers may recall VW's Phaeton from several years back: a high-end luxury sedan which the company launched to directly compete with Mercedes and BMW. Unfortunately, despite being a gorgeous car, the Phaeton met with poor sales because it simply confused both existing and potential Volkswagen consumers: it was a branding issue. The CC aims to rectify that and place Volkswagen in proud competition with the former manufacturers. Starting at a reasonable $31,990 for the standard Luxury model, the CC is an easy choice for the VW enthusiast looking to upgrade.