FIRST DRIVE

Vw coupe looks for higher ground

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@cars­guide.com.au

Volk­swa­gen’s Pas­sat CC loses the Pas­sat name­plate but gains an­other seat. Sadly the CC also loses some vis­ual ap­peal

A PRE­MIUM new look won’t nec­es­sar­ily at­tract a pre­mium price when the Volk­swa­gen CC four-door coupe goes on sale in June or July.

Vw pre­viewed its repo­si­tioned CC in France last week. The com­pany’s Aus­tralian spokes­woman Nina Wil­loughby says the price won’t re­flect the equip­ment up­grades as the Pas­sat-based coupe is moved up­mar­ket.

The aim is to take sales from the Mercedes-benz C-class Coupe and bmw3 Se­ries.

Final spec­i­fi­ca­tion is still be­ing de­ter­mined for Australia but the car will be bet­ter value when it ar­rives, Wil­loughby says.

VALUE

The CC range will con­tinue with two mod­els in Australia— the 2.0-litre turbo diesel that de­liv­ers 125kw/350nm via the front wheels and the all-wheel drive 3.6-litre V6. The cur­rent ve­hi­cles are priced at $54,990 and $64,990, re­spec­tively.

Cars­guide ex­pects vw to keep price rises to a min­i­mum— about $1500- $2000— to en­hance the value com­par­i­son with ri­vals.

TECH­NOL­OGY

There’s a lot of bling to choose from on the Euro­pean op­tions list for vw australia. Adap­tive chas­sis con­trol is al­ready avail­able but the com­bined side warn­ing and lane de­par­ture sys­tem is a first for vw and one that makes sense in this car. Radar mon­i­tors ap­proach­ing ve­hi­cles, cam­eras fo­cus on lane mark­ings and the safety min­der alerts the driver if there is a car in the rear three-quar­ter

‘‘ blind spot’’ or if they try to change lanes with­out in­di­cat­ing.

Adap­tive cruise con­trol is likely in the stan­dard car to match the C-class. Satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and the adap­tive head­light sys­tem— which dims parts of the high beam to avoid daz­zling on­com­ing driv­ers or the ve­hi­cle in front — also could be on the list.

STYLING

The hor­i­zon­tal grille and trimmed head­lamps dif­fer­en­ti­ate the new CC from the ex­ist­ing Pas­sat CC range. De­sign­ers had no choice with the for­mer— it’s part of the Vw cor­po­rate look— but em­braced the three-bar grille to give the im­pres­sion the new car is wider and lower than it is.

Di­men­sions are vir­tu­ally un­changed from the Pas­sat, with a 1mm trim in length the only dif­fer­ence, and new LED tail-lights con­tinue the flat and clean look at the rear. The re­sult is a typ­i­cally tidy vw style that lets the coupe sil­hou­ette de­fine the car.

A three-seat rear pew is ex­pected to be stan­dard in Australia, though the scal­loped side seats make the cen­tre seat suit­able only for un­der-sized oc­cu­pants. Buy­ers who want the carry-over two-seat lay­out will find it is a no-cost op­tion.

SAFETY

Six airbags and a solid body make the ex­ist­ing Pas­sat CC a five-star car. The CC con­tin­ues this ap­proach and will be one of the safest VWS on the road. The fa­tigue de­tec­tion sys­tem mon­i­tors steer­ing in­puts and, if there are re­peated mi­nor cor­rec­tions of the wheel, it uses vis­ual and au­dio cues to alert a tired driver.

DRIV­ING

The CC drives like a Pas­sat CC, which is no bad thing. The im­proved sound-dead­en­ing works on both mod­els and there is only a muted growl from the base turbo diesel un­der heavy ac­cel­er­a­tion.

The range-top­ping V6 snarls harder but is still sub­dued enough to give own­ers a sense of power with­out be­com­ing in­tru­sive.

The steer­ing is light but di­rect. The lack of feed­back can be for­given as this doesn’t pre­tend to be a sports car.

It feels more up­mar­ket than the Pas­sat but doesn’t have the tac­tile feed­back to chal­lenge a BMW OR Mercedes-benz. It

doesn’t cost as much ei­ther.

VER­DICT

The move away from the Pas­sat name­plate makes the CC hard to pin down.

It’s not a true pres­tige car but it cer­tainly is bet­ter than most ri­vals at the pre­dicted price. And that will give the VW A unique slot in the mar­ket — it has the looks and style to be a pre­mium model but it will come down to pric­ing and spec­i­fi­ca­tion of the Aus­tralian ve­hi­cles to de­ter­mine whether it can find an eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able niche. And we won’t know those de­tails un­til closer to the mid-year launch.

New per­spec­tive: The CC’S styling is typ­i­cally tidy. Hor­i­zon­tal grille and trimmed head­lamps en­hance the im­pres­sion that the car is wider and lower than it is; (above) the qual­ity rear cabin

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