2009 Volkswagen Passat CC: Luxury sedan that calls itself a coupe
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Volkswagen has come up with an interesting marketing tag for its new Passat version. In calling this luxury sedan the Passat CC, the initials stand for Comfort Coupe, but it’s really a 4-door, and by strict automotive definition, a coupe is a car with two doors, front seats and a luggage compartment, though Wikipedia allows that “a coupé or coupe is a closed-car body style, the precise definition of which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and over time.” But even this broad description goes on to point out that “coupés are often hard-topped sports cars or sporty variants of sedan body styles, with doors commonly reduced from four to two…” By any examination, the VW CC is a 4-door is a sedan.
Historically, the CC is not the first 4-door “coupe,” as that honor goes to the British-built Rover P5 Mark II Saloon in 1962; and a fellow Germanic vehicle, the Mercedes Benz CLS, played the coupe card in 2004 for its 4-door.
Upon further inspection, the CC stands on its own as a very lavish, stylish, quiet driver’s car with comforts for passengers. A roofline and stance that borrows from customized California chop-tops of the 1950s is dramatically lower than other Passat versions. The CC’s exterior architecture showcases smooth, liquid lines, frameless doors, a bold and prominent grille, sloping front glass, large panoramic power vent sunroof that reaches out to the roof rails and 18-inch multi-spoke wheels.
Measuring 1.2 inches longer than the Passat, but on the same 106.7-inch wheelbase, the CC measures out at 188.9 inches in length, 73.0 inches in width, 55.8 inches in height (a full 2 inches lower than Passat) and ground clearance of 5.0 inches.
My Island Gray Metallic test vehicle was adequately powered by the 3.6-liter V-6, 4-Motion option that warbles out 280hp and 265 lbs.-ft. of torque. The set-up provides better wallop than the smaller 200-hp engine also offered. EPA rated at 17mpg in city driving and 25mpg on the highway, I averaged 29mpg on the highway and 24mpg overall during a week of tests throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, as fall colors permeated the region. My CC’s overall average was about 26.3.
Speedwise, the CC is deceptively quick at times. Weighing in at a stable 3598 lbs., my test ride showed limited low-end torque, but still managed a 7-second-flat zero-to-60mph run and several quarter-miles in the low 15s. Acceleration improves at speed, and passing gear kicks in seamlessly when called upon, while there is enough acceleration to weave and pass with no fear. In fact, inside the silent cabin, there is such smooth acceleration that you really have to keep checking the speedometer, because before you know it, you are at or above 80mph, and it’s an easy 80.
The CC delivers a confident ride, with a road-hugging demeanor, low-diving nose and a willingness to corner and hold its lines. The vehicle’s 4-Motion all-wheel-drive system is sure and steady, and anti-lock brakes, anti-slip regulation, multi-link independent sport rear suspension, electronic stabilization program and power steering with variable speed assist help make CC a driver’s car.
Inside the pampering compartment there is seating for four with moderate headroom of 37.4 inches up front and 36.6 in row two, leg room of 41.6 and 37.3 and shoulder room of 56.0 inches and 54.7 in the back seats.
Abundantly endowed, the cabin is outfitted with all the comforts and extravagances one comes to expect from Teutonic automobiles. Leather sport front seats are imbued with12-way power adjustments and memory function; dual-zone climate controls are easy to operate and come with pollen filters; power windows, cruise control, intermittent wipers, multifunction info computer, heatable exterior mirrors, Sirius Satellite radio, power rear sunshade, ultrasonic park distance control system and Dynaudio premium sound system are standard with the CC. Other standard interior items include rear seat armrest with storage and pass-through, automatic headlights with coming home and leaving home feature, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel and self-dimming rearview mirror.
The Black interior of my test CC was enhanced by the optional technology package that included radio navigation system, rear view camera and 6-speed tiptronic automatic transmission.
VW attends to safety concerns within the CC via a driver and front passenger airbag supplemental restraint system, head and thorax side airbags, side curtain protection head airbags, front and rear power-assisted brakes, tire pressure monitoring system and head restraints for all seating positions. In crash tests, the vehicle is NHTSA-rated at 4 stars in front crash tests, 5 stars for front seats and 4 stars for rear seats in side crashes, and it received 4 out of 5 in rollover tests.
Base priced at $39,300, the technology package is a $2460 option that brings the bottom line to $42,630, after $690 destination charges are added.
The VW Passat Comfort Coupe (CC) might not be the small sports coupe the name conjures up, but it handles like a coupe and the “Comfort” is definitely paid off by the car’s make-up.
Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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