A New Flagship
Frank S. Washington, Fri, 20 Nov 2009 09:31:05 PST
ATLANTA Volkswagen doesn't use the term but the German automaker brought us here to test drive its new flagship, the CC. I call it the flagship because it sits atop VW's car offerings in terms of price. To me, that makes it the flagship.
Equipped with either a four-cylinder or a V6 engine, the CC (comfort coupe) is a front wheel drive sedan. Given market sensitivity to the price of gasoline, VW expects 70 percent of CC sales to be the four cylinder engine. The V6 can also be equipped with all-wheel-drive.
The four-cylinder is an award winning engine. It's turbocharged and makes 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. It can be mated to either a six speed automatic or a six-speed manual gearbox. Its EPA rating is 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the hwy with the manual tranny.
The V6 has 280 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. It's only available with an automatic transmission. And the V6 is more fuel efficient than its horsepower would suggest. It gets 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the hwy. It also has a zero to 60 mph time of 6.6 seconds.
VW describes its comfort coupe this way: The CC features a masculine shoulder line, which visually connects the front wheel wells to the taillights, providing the emotional and expressive stance of a sports coupe with all the convenience of a sedan.
In addition to the CC's dramatically lowered rear-swept roofline and well-planted stance. Other distinguishing exterior cues on the CC included frameless doors; flowinglines in the side profile; larger, more prominent brand-specific face with bolder cross-strut chrome grille design; a large panoramic power vent sunroof (it doesn't open) that reaches out to the roof rails and covers the entire forward portion of the roof to the B-pillars.
But I think what will really make the CC go in this market is its interior. Interior fit and finish were superb. It's a facet of all VW cars that I don't think the automaker gets enough credit for. VW has also bestowed the CC with two-tone interiors one is light beige on brown and the other is white on black. There may be more but that's what was here.
We drove from here to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where we saw the site for VW's new assembly plant and stopped for lunch. And then we kept on going until we reached Nashville. Along the way, I found the CC's seats awfully comfortable. There was plenty of back support and laterally movement in the front seats was minimal. The instruments were easy to see and to reach and they were aesthetically pleasing. Too many vehicles lack that triumvirate.
I thought the audio system was outstanding. I plugged my iPod into the auxiliary jack which was housed in the center console. Even when the CC was outfitted with a USB plug in the glove compartment it still had the auxiliary jack. By the way, the plug didn't work. However, we were driving preproduction models.
My other quibble with the CC was the suspension. The torsion in the coil springs and or the shock absorbers could stand stiffening. The CC seemed heavier than it was when I went over bumps in the road or over depressions. Our four-cylinder automatic weighed 3, 374 lbs but the suspension, because of its compression ratios, made the car seem much heavier.
But that was the only real negative about the CC. The average driver probably won't even notice. Oh, VW describes the CC has a four passenger vehicle. The rear seats had ample leg room but rear seat head room was crimped. My head touched the headline when I sat up straight. However, the CC had a 13 cubic foot trunk which seemed bigger than that.
Prices start at $26,790 plus freight charges for the four-cylinder CC with manual transmission.