The new VW CC has just been launched in South Africa with a new look and three engine options. It has its sights set on the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Volvo S60 and Lexus IS250. Can it take on the major players in this segment?

Exterior and interior

The CC gains Volkswagen’s familial face with a new grille, revised bi-xenon headlamps and an updated front bumper. At the rear features a wrap-around chrome strip, more horizontal styling lines compared with the curves of its predecessor and new-look rear lights with LED technology.

The cabin looks good in terms of luxury and perceived quality, but only time will tell how well it will wear. The seats are supportive and comfortable while the cabin’s overall ambiance and execution is classy. I terms of specification, the CC’s tilt at its established rivals is most evident in the list of premium standard features; from a fatigue detection system to chrome trim accents and daytime running lights. The new CC comes standard with the updated RCD 510 radio/6 CD changer audio system with touch screen interface. It’s an impressive system, but I still can’t get over the fact that there’s an SD card slot and no USB port.

Volkswagen has increased interior space slightly by playing around with the dimensions of the car, but the wheelbase stays the same. The new Volkswagen CC is 4 802 mm long, has width of 1 855 mm (excluding mirrors), a wheelbase of 2 711 mm and stands at a height of 1 417 mm. As a result, the new car serves up a more practical 5-seater arrangement than its predecessor. The boot can accommodate 532 dm3 and if you’ve specced your CC to include keyless entry (standard on 3,6 V6 model), you’ll also find a nifty easy open boot function. If your hands are full, simply walk up to your boot, kick your foot underneath the bumper, and the lid will pop open. The key, of course, needs to be somewhere on your person whilst doing so.

On the road

I was able to sample the 2,0-litre TSI version on the launch. It pushes out 155 kW and 280 N.m of torque from 1 700 to 5 200 r/min and is mated with Volkswagen’s six-speed DSG transmission. The engine seems a bit hesitant out of the blocks, possibly due to the transmission or a spot of low-end lag, but it picks up nicely towards the middle of the rev band. However, I found that it loses some of its verve once the revs climb. The CC is probably better suited for motorway cruising than for blasting along backroads.

The launch route along the Gauteng highways and byways were far from perfect, and when the CC had to tackle an uneven surface or two, it did feel a bit floaty. However, it’s not unsettling and when taken with caution, the uneven surfaces weren’t too intrusive. The CC’s overall dynamic composure is, however, impressive; the steering is well weighted and the handling is precise.

Safety

All Volkswagen CCs come fitted with ABS, ESP, hill assist, fatigue detection that monitors the driver’s driving style and concentration by analysing steering behaviour from the beginning and along the journey and an array of airbags.

Overall

As was mentioned at the top of the show, Volkswagen’s new CC has its sights firmly fixed an a number of premium D-segment offerings, but does it have what it takes to post a viable challenge? The new car is certainly big step up from its predecessor – the 5-seater cabin layout adds a welcome dose of practicality, the sharpened new looks give the car a more purposeful air and there’s no doubting the quality on offer. The biggest obstacle to this car successfully taking on the established players in its segment probably rests with its comparative lack of brand cachet, especially when the likes of the C-Class and 3 Series have such strong followings in our market that it would take a seriously impressive product to sway prospective owners. While the new CC may not have that ace up its sleeve at the moment, it’s gradually heading in that direction.

Specification*

Model: Volkswagen CC 2,0 TSI DSG

Engine: 2,0 TSI

Power: 155 kW at 5 300 r/min

Torque: 280 N.m at 1 700 r/min

0-100 km/h: 7,3 seconds

Fuel consumption: 7,8 L/100 km

CO2: 182 g/km

Top speed: 240 km/h

Price: R395 950

Maintenance plan: 5 years/100 000 km

Service intervals: 15 000 km

 

Model: Volkswagen CC 2,0 TDI DSG

Engine: 2,0 TDI

Power: 125 kW at 4 200 r/min

Torque: 350 N.m at 1 750 r/min

0-100 km/h: 8,6 seconds

Fuel consumption: 5,5 L/100 km

CO2: 144 g/km

Top speed: 220 km/h

Price: R373 800

Maintenance plan: 5 years/100 000 km

Service intervals: 15 000 km

Model: Volkswagen CC 3,6 V6 DSG 4-Motion

Engine: 3,6 V6

Power: 220 kW at 6 600 r/min

Torque: 350 N.m at 2 400 r/min

0-100 km/h: 5,5 seconds

Fuel consumption: 9,3 L/100 km

CO2: 215 g/km

Top speed: 250 km/h

Price: R469 405

Maintenance plan: 5 years/100 000 km

Service intervals: 15 000 km

*manufacturer figures

For a full list of specifications, you can download the spec sheet by clicking on the documents tab in the top right hand corner of the image block.