At first, you’re tempted to criticize the rear seat room of the four-door Volkswagen CC, but that’s because you’re thinking about it wrong. When judged as a four-door sedan, yes, the rear seats may be a smidge on the tight side. But the secret is the CC isn’t a four-door sedan, it’s a four-door coupe. It has the spirited driving dynamics of a coupe, the sporty lines, and exceptional rear seat room—for a coupe.
The CC is cut from the same four-door coupe mold as cars like the Mercedes CLS series, and while the Benz may be a high-end brand with rear wheel drive, this exceptionally refined VW deserves to be mentioned in the same breath.
Our test car was equipped with the 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI four-cylinder that VW criminally underrates at 200hp. If this car only has 200 horses under the hood, every one of them is a Clydesdale. It certainly feels like it gives nothing away in the power department to the pressurized 2-liter mills from companies like Buick and Kia which put out in the neighborhood of 270hp. When you feel the front tires digging for traction through second gear, you’ll agree that VW is likely holding their cards close to their chest on power numbers.
Our test car came equipped with VW’s exceptional DSG six-speed, which has long been one of our favorite paddleboxes. It has one of the most seamless automatic modes of any twin-clutch box in production, and when more aggressive setting are desired, the sport mode is well up to the task, always seeming to be in the right gear for the right condition, and downshifting decisively when needed. Manual mode is equally fantastic, with nicely weighted paddles, and a very natural-feeling shift with little or no delay between paddle pull and shift actuation.
If the CC has a downside, it’s the fact that its low profile and unique positioning has kept it out of the conversation for many shoppers. It’s hard to put your finger on just what other cars someone would be cross-shopping with a CC. It’s “coupier” than a Buick Verano or Kia Optima, but it’s “sedanier” than a two-door sporty coupe like a 3-series BMW. It’s sporty enough to carve up a canyon or surprise a few folks at a track day (especially with a powerplant that pulls it along with true authority until you’ve achieved extralegal velocity), but it’s got enough comfort and features for long stretches of driving, fitting it admirably into the personal-luxury category.
Like most VWs, the CC is probably one of those cars that you either get or you don’t. If you do, you’re in for a treat.
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