“THIS is the most stunning car I have ever seen, but what is it?’’
The question, from a complete stranger who ran over to see our latest test vehicle in a city carpark, was a valid one.
Aside from the Volkswagen badge, there is nothing to identify the sleek and elegant newcomer. It’s a riddle, wrapped in a beautiful mystery _ no doubt the intention of its maker.
Telling people its name _ Passat CC _ further complicates things.
“So it’s a convertible then?’’ my besotted new friend inquired, referring to the trend where the initials usually stand for Coupe Cabriolet.
“No. CC, in this instance, actually stands for Comfort Coupe,’’ I replied, knowing only too well that the conversation was far from over and I was going to be extremely late for my next meeting.
“But it has four doors, how can it be a Coupe?’’
I stopped to ponder why mobile phones never ring when you want them to.
Once you cut through the confusion surrounding its name, all attention turns to the sublime appearance of the new Volkswagen. It is indeed one of the most attractive vehicles on the road, wonderfully sculpted with classically subtle lines.
The link to Passat is that the CC has the same medium sized chassis.
But it is longer and broader with a wider track to give it greater poise on the road.
Setting it apart is a lower roof, more angular looks and crouched stance.
Passat CC is offered in two variants - a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel and direct-injection 3.6-litre petrol V6, which we had the pleasure of testing.
Prices range from $54,990 for the front-drive diesel to $65,990 for the V6 All-Wheel-Drive (4Motion).
The variants are distinguished by five-spoke alloys for the diesel and 10-spokes for the V6.
The pitch is all about luxury and exclusivity and Passat CC is packed with creature comforts and high-tech features.
There are eight airbags, stability control, ABS with brake Assist, sports suspension and front and rear parking sensors.
Heated electric leather seats are thrown in, along with automatic bi-xenon headlights with dynamic cornering, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, rain sensing wipers, six-CD sound system, tinted windows, fog lights and chilled glovebox.
Two other leading technologies available are Park Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Park Assist automatically guides the Passat CC into a parking space at the push of a button. The driver no longer needs to steer in this case, but instead just accelerates and brakes. When ACC is activated, the Passat CC automatically brakes and accelerates within a speed range input by the driver.
As mentioned, the CC is not a convertible, but does have a generous glass sun roof.
The Volkswagen is a genuine four-seater and while there is ample leg and shoulder room for all occupants, head room for rear passengers is at a premium.
The direct-injection 3.6-litre V6, which unleashes 220kW of power at 6600rpm and 350Nm of torque from 2400rpm-5300rpm, is top-shelf.
Matched to a smooth 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, it can spur the CC from 0-100km/h in a slick 5.6 seconds.
Economy is fair, averaging 10.5 litres of 98 RON per 100km.
There are Sport and Comfort settings for suspension, depending on the quality of roads available. We stuck mainly with Comfort, which easily coped with the lumpy roads left by recent wet weather.
The Passat has big 345mm disc brakes that give you plenty of stopping power. They are a bit touchy, however, until you get used to them.
Backed by its lashings of style, performance and value, the Passat CC will attract Volkswagen fans looking to upgrade, as well as buyers from other brands.
They will enjoy the added bonus of driving a car that’s shrouded in mystery.