Don’t you hate it when you meet your girlfriend’s sister for the first time only to discover that not only is she prettier but has a better body and is a snappier dresser? I felt exactly the same when I first clapped eyes on Volkswagen’s recently refreshed Comfort Coupe or CC to you and I.
Here is a four door saloon based on the same underpinnings as the humble but hugely competitive Passat but clothed in more svelte bodywork. As part of its mid-cycle nip and tuck Volkswagen have dropped the Passat nameplate in a bid to distance the CC from its sister car.
But is the CC just a Passat in drag or is it a different beast as VW would like us to believe?
Visually the CC couldn’t be more different thanks to its raked back windscreen and much lower roofline. Every body panel is unique to this model and is all the better for it. The front profile has lost a little of the original cars uniqueness mainly because of the new default corporate grill and headlight shape buts it still has plenty of presence. Changes at the rear are more successful with new dark-tinted LED light units that are sleeker than before.
Inside will be familiar to Passat owners as the main dash and switchgear are carried straight over but this is no hardship as its well styled with high quality, sophisticated materials throughout in true VW tradition. The seats are as superbly comfortable as they look; the car I drove was trimmed in sumptuous Nappa leather. Equipment in top GT spec is more than generous with heated and cooled leather seats, three-mode adaptive chassis control (which alters settings from normal to comfort or sport), cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, front fog lights and rear-window tinted glass.
On the road the CC is a thoroughly competitive steer with decent ride comfort and high levels of refinement making it perfect for long commutes. Those attractive 19 inch alloy wheels however highlight the chassis’ weakness when tackling pockmarked country roads but this can be remedied by switching the electronically adjustable dampers (standard on GT spec cars) to Comfort.
Powering our car is Volkswagen’s really rather delicious 2.0 litre TDi diesel engine in 170 bhp formatted to the equally impressive DSG – dual clutch gearbox. As expected with 258lb ft of torque from just 1750rpm making swift progress is a doddle. 60mph appears in just 8.6 seconds with a top speed of 137 mph – on private roads of course. Thanks to the ultra-sophisticated gearbox which switches cogs in the blink-of-an-eye the power on offer is alway easily accessible. This can be enhanced further by selecting Sport mode.
For a coupe the handling on offer is respectable with well managed body roll and plenty of grip. Through challenging corners the CC feels agile and composed most of the time but ultimately lacks the feedback that keener driver love so much. The DSG gearbox also removes the driver’s connection with the action made worse by steering that is over-assisted lacking the pin-sharp responses of a Mondeo for example.
Accommodation compared to more traditional coupes with the CCs extra pair of rear doors is a real bonus. Space inside is however more restricted; legroom is as generous as the standard Passat but the rakish roofline robs rear passengers of headroom to the point where anyone approaching six foot will struggle. Boot space is also down from 565 to 452 litres, but by coupe standards is still very good. The opening however is much smaller so loading bulky items won’t be quite so easy but then again the CC isn’t intended to be a load lugger.
At a shade over £30,000 the CC commands a £4000 premium over its conventional saloon sibling but given the unique style on offer it isn’t to be sniffed at. Its nearest competitor is the Mercedes CLS which kicks of at £47,000 making this particular car seem like good value even after you factor in the less prestigious badge. Fuel economy is also worth a mention, 45.6 mpg around town and 61.4 mpg extra urban.
Volkswagen’s CC is a good example of how you can turn an ordinary saloon in to a much more exciting and appealing product. It may not serve up the driving thrills of a traditional coupe or the cabin space and practicality of a saloon but it sits in a rather alluring middle ground between the two. In GT trim equipment and comfort levels are very good. The engine and gearbox combination I drove is also one of the best around with a near perfect blend of ultra-low running costs and rapid performance making the CC well worth a look.
Volkswagen CC GT 2.0 TDI (170ps) BlueMotion Technology DSG 4dr
Price as tested: £30,280
Engine: 2.0 16v 170bhp
0-62mph: 8.6 secs Maximum Speed: 137mph
Economy: 45.6mpg (urban) – 61.4mpg (extra-urban), 54.3mpg (combined)
Emissions: 137g/km (Band E)