- Competes with: Infiniti G35, Lexus GS, Audi A6, BMW 5 Series
- Looks like: A sportier Passat
- Drivetrain: 200-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with six-speed manual or automatic, or 295-hp, 3.6-liter six-cylinder with six-speed automatic
- Hits dealerships: Fall/winter 2008
Volkswagen tried to compete with luxury automakers when it debuted the ill-received Phaeton a few years ago. This year, the company is at it again with the Passat CC. Volkswagen is calling the four-door a coupe, and it has a sloping roofline much like that of the Mercedes CLS. The CC is about 1.5 inches longer than a regular Passat and just slightly wider.
We’re not sure where VW is going with the Passat CC. The company says the driving dynamics will offer a more sporting ride, but there isn’t much talk in the voluminous press kit about much that’s been done to the car to make it perform better than a standard Passat. Engine choices are the same as the regular sedan, with the six-cylinder gaining roughly 15 hp. The minimally wider stance won’t help handling that dramatically, nor will the more aerodynamic shape.
There are a lot more technological gadgets added to the CC, though, including an adjustable suspension system called Dynamic Drive Control, which will probably be an option in the U.S. We usually find systems like this neither dynamic nor interesting in real-world driving.
A Lane Assist program sounds similar to Infiniti’s setup, correcting the Passat CC if it strays into a lane it shouldn’t. All-wheel drive will also be available.
Update: VW says pricing will start in the mid-$20,000 range up to around $40,000.