Written by: Don Cheng
Photography by: Don Cheng
It’s no secret that cars have a varying level of importance to people’s lives. There is a category of owners who see it as nothing more than an appliance, something that gets you from point A to B with minimal fuss over the years. These are the kinds of people that stick with what they know, the type to buy generation after generation of Camrys and Accords.
Yet, there’s another type who put up with owning an unreliable car because each breakdown represents a battle scar and adds character to the ownership process – we call this group of people “enthusiasts”. They buy BMWs.
Manufacturers realize this and try their best to capitalize by targeting the wants and needs of like-minded owners. When it’s done effectively, it represents a win-win for all parties: manufacturers make more money and consumers get a car more suited to their lifestyle.
Nowadays, the competition in existing segments has become stiff; manufacturers have been forced to slice out razor thin segments in hopes of developing the next big thing. Sometimes they get it right, conjuring up something so ludicrous and so odd that it becomes something we secretly desire – that’s you BMW X6 M.
But back in 2008, the name of the game was the four-door sports coupe. On paper it looked like an intriguing formula: take the handling capabilities and svelte silhouette of a coupe, remove the inconvenience by slapping on two extra doors and you’re golden.
Turns out that successful execution was a heck of a lot more difficult because as luck would have it (or rather physics), the sleek profile of a coupe came at a price: rearward visibility was garbage. More so, those who couldn’t call “shotgun” quick enough ended up in the back, where headroom and legroom was challenging. Worst of all, a number of four-door sports coupes ended up looking like a stretched version of their two-door counterpart. Alas, enter the Volkswagen CC.
Originally titled the Passat CC, the title was cut short when it received a makeover in 2012. Volkswagen states that the CC suffix actually stands for Comfort Coupe, which is ironic given that rear headroom and legroom was limited. Fast forward to 2016, and not much has changed on the CC’s exterior. The long swooping lines of the car, arcing roofline, and severely angled windshield meld together into a body style that oozes euro lux. Painted in Harvard Blue (new for 2016) the CC certainly is a handsome looking vehicle. The 18’ Lisboa alloy wheels top off the premium look of the car. Superb.
Unfortunately, the good looks of the CC come at a price. The shallow angle of the windshield and arced roofline means those who are vertically challenged should be wary of their heads during ingress and egress. Rearward visibility (and blindspots) is particularly difficult to see thanks to the sloping rear window and thick B-pillars – thankfully there are safety systems in place to manage that.
Once safely inside, the bad news continues. While the exterior still looks fresh and sexy, the interior is quite the contrary. The design language follows Volkswagen’s previous generation of cars. It’s a subtle difference but if you’ve been in any of the new Volkswagens you could tell. The steering wheel just doesn’t look as good as the new Golf’s, the turn signal stalks lack the piano black finish, and the column of dummy buttons on the right side of the shifter feels cheap.
That isn’t to say Volkswagen has forgotten about the interior entirely. 2016 saw updates to the navigation system and now sports a 6.33-inch touch screen featuring App-Connect. App-Connect serves as a hub for devices that support Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and MirrorLink to hook up to the infotainment system. In addition, Volkswagen has reworked the climate controls.
Even with the revised center stack, the aluminum stripe just above the screen and the analogue clock give away the age of the interior. Fun fact: the analogue clock in the middle does not swivel up and down. Despite the aging design, the premium quality of the interior is still impeccable; the feel of the materials and the quiet ride is a testament to that.
For the 2016 model year, Volkswagen ditched their 3.6-litre VR6 Fuel Stratified Injection (that’s VW lingo for direct injection) in favour of their bread and butter power plant: the 200 hp 2.0-litre Turbo Fuel Stratified Injection four-cylinder. And while the old 3.6-litre sent power to the wheels via VW’s Haldex 4Motion AWD system and was available with a six-speed manual, these options have been axed for 2016 in favour of VW’s standard, though excellent, DSG. I know right? A 4-door coupe with a four-cylinder motor and FWD is a tough notion to wrap your head around.
And for the most part, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. The turbo four in the CC gives maximum low-end grunt (207 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm) earlier in the power band, and a lighter motor to make up for the 80 hp deficit over the old VR6. It’s not enough to overcome the deficit, but it’s enough to blur the lines for the majority of owners.
Volkswagen’s DSG dual clutch transmission is still a thing to marvel at when paired with the 2.0-litre motor. Watching the tach snap down after each gear change is an addicting experience no matter how many times you do it. To feed your addiction, VW included a set of steering wheel mounted paddles so you can watch the tach dance around at your whim. But the CC isn’t a one trick pony and actually offers a relatively engaging driving experience – with the one caveat that this is still a full-fledged luxury sedan.
Steering inputs feel sharp and direct, and the CC does a fair job of minimizing body roll in some harder corners. Where the car truly excels at is long distance cruising. The suspension is tuned to soak up the bumps in the road and the car simply eats up the highway kilometers. The cabin does such a wonderful job of absorbing the road noise too. It really hides the sense of acceleration and if you’re not careful you’ll be well over the speed limit in seconds.
So where does the CC sit? Well, our particular tester is about as good as it gets. This fully loaded package rings out to an as tested price of $43,825. That’s a $5,500 premium over its fully loaded Passat brethren. Let’s not forget however that the CC is a 4-door sports coupe and for some, that extra flair of style might justify the premium. It feels awfully like market segmentation for the sake of segmentation, but when you look at the sales figures for BMW’s Gran Coupes, perhaps there’s more to owning a 4-door sports coupe than what meets the eye.
型号 Model: 2016 Volkswagen CC Highline
顏色 Paint Type: Harvard Blue
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $39,750
試車售價 Price as Tested: $43,825
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,711
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,802 / 1,855 / 1,417
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,527
引擎 Engine: 2.0L turbocharged inline-four cylinder TSI
最大馬力 Horsepower: 200 hp @ 5,100 - 6,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1,700 - 5,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed dual clutch automatic (DSG) with TipTronic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: Strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers, stabilizer bar
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Multilink, coil springs, telescopic dampers, stabilizer bar
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: Vented disc
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: Solid disc
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway)- L/100 km: 10.7 / 7.7
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Continental ContiProContact - 235/40 R18