Sunday, 11 April 2010

Volkswagen Passat CC 2.0TSI

Click on all images to enlarge

Human beings, being consumers, can be a funny lot. When it comes to the obsession of automobiles, they can be very discerning and critical. Take for instance the subject of headroom in a car. A case in point would be the Proton Gen.2 which has the rear headroom much like an under-the-staircase storeroom of a double-storey link-terrace house. The Persona has a slightly better headroom - due to lowered rear seats' bottom et al - but sadly that didn't come before the Gen.2.

Other automakers are craftier. Take Mercedes-Benz for example: their W211 E-Class vs their other 'clone' the CLS-Class, allegedly the world's first 4-door coupe. BMW with their X5 vs their very own X6 SAV Coupe. Volkswagen with their Passat sedan versus their latest Passat CC. Do you hear people complaining about seating only two at the rear and the accompanying sloping roofline that shaves off a significant amount of rear headroom? With rear ingress & egress may be an orthopaedic nightmare for those having Osteoarthritis of hips. No?

Well, that's because it's by choice that these paying motorists are buying a 'coupe' over the mundane regular-sedan version of the same thing. Pity then the folks at Proton didn't name their Gen.2 as Gen.2 coupe or GT (ala 5-series GT?) and the Persona as the Gen.2 sedan, launching time-line of both these vehicles notwithstanding. But we are not here to discuss about that.

I am now writing about a squashed Camry - especially its frontal visage. Yes, that was my initial visual impression when I spotted one of the first new Passat CC running on the road months ago. However, the actual car when parked right before your very eyes instantaneously play tricks on your visual cortex. You'd get a barrage of endorphins shooting a high in your brain - depicting something very handsome, sleek, classy and cutting edge in design - in short: very desirable. So much so, you'd find that the rear double individual seating isn't an issue. So is the smaller shoulder room for bigger sized rear occupants due to the shapely tapering rear flanks. Or that the CC's dashboard may be a tad old-school having been nicked form the sedan sibling. Even the moon-roof for its namesake doesn't open beyond a minute tilt but hell, I didn't care.

Truth be told, I was initially doubting how could a front-wheel driven (FWD) saloon like the Passat CC be selling at a price hovering near to stalwarts like the BMW 320i, Mercedes-Benz C200 Kompressor and to a certain extent, the Audi A4 1.8 TFSI. I couldn't possibly explain the multiple "Wow" factors - not just aesthetic brilliance - in words here. Go to the nearest VW showroom, see the car in the flesh and ask for the keys to a Passat CC tester yourself.

For one, the DCC - adjustable dampers rate in regular speak - in this Volkswagen works solidly well. The chassis doesn't hop and jump as in many of M-Sport spec BMW E90 - not even in 'Sport' mode. Though FWD, its steering rack has better weighting and feel than M-B's hot-selling W204 C200K/C230 V6. Credit also goes out to the VW engineers for their extra-edge over their counterparts in Audi AG e.g. with their quattro A4 (B7) - in both the steering and rear passengers' (calmer) ride composure department.

In all, the Passat CC may be 'soft' compared to the other iconic GTI in the same stable or any BMW 3-series so to speak. Yet the Passat CC is very convincing in its whole package. The CLS-esque looks is simply miles better than the very car it seeks to mimic. With a DSG 'box now standard issue for all 2010 Passat CC and a rear three-seater version coming soon - perhaps by Q3/Q4 this year - it will make a stronger case for this fluidly sleek and avantgarde (no pun intended) 4-door coupe. Oh! Did I forget to mention that the EA888 engine in the 2010 Passat CC has a boosted power ratings that matches the Mk6 Golf GTI's 210 ps/280 Nm (previously capped at 200ps)?

For those who could get pass their blue-propeller and three-pointed star 'inertia', the Passat CC is all a knowledgeable and tasteful buyer's choice that'll keep him/her serene and unruffled on long highway journeys, yet at the same time still able to adrenalise the owner should he/she wants to hurry things up a bit.

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