A supermodel in the family
When VW first launched the 3rd-generation Passat in North America for the 1990 model year, replacing the unknown Quantum, it was a spacious and interesting offering within the mid-size sedan segment, despite the fact that it looked like a brick. Square headlights, square taillights, square shape. If it's hip to be square, the Mk3 Passat definitely was.
But that was okay, because at the time, every Volkswagen was styled with a ruler. The Passat has become rounder over time, but the German company has just launched a new version of the car that polarizes onlookers and makes them think you've got a much more expensive ride. The Passat CC is the supermodel in the VW family.
It looks pretty good in pictures, but it's stunning in person. The CC draws attention like no other Volkswagen has in a long time, and from its profile, people mistake it for a Mercedes-Benz CLS.
Compared to the regular Passat, the CC is longer, wider and lower. It's also heavier, and seats four passengers instead of five. But never mind the numbers--the Passat CC looks so muscular, so agile, so graceful that it makes the 'other' Passat look like a jogging suit in a wardrobe full of sexy dresses.
The only exterior flaw: the panoramic sunroof is a nice touch, but it only opens about an inch, which is not so nice.
Same powertrain choices
One thing that hasn't changed is what's available underfoot: a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four or a 24-valve, 3.6-litre V6. The latter powers this test car and develops 280 horses and 265 lb-ft of torque. When you choose the V6, however, the 6-speed automatic and all-wheel drive is mandatory. By the way, the 3.6 is still available in the Passat wagon, but not the sedan.
The CC with the six accelerates to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds. That's quick, but the 2.0 TSI model can achieve the same speed with more or less an extra second, so the difference in performance isn't that great. But the V6 is smoother and sounds better.
Obviously, the Passat CC clings better to the road than the Passat, thanks to its lower center of gravity and slightly wider track, and gives the Pontiac G8 and Nissan Maxima a run for their money in regards to handling. Yet the CC loves cruising about town at a relaxed pace, maybe because it likes the attention, and its ride is just right--not too stiff, not too soft.
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