By Len Ingrassia
CNHI News Service
— Be certain of this.
The 2013 VW CC is not for everyone. The entry-level luxury sedan is perhaps too refined to fall into the Volkswagen stable. It might be more at home in an autobahn environment with flashing LED lights in the passing lane.
Some may recall the VW Phaeton introduction in 2004. The full-sized $100,000 luxury sedan was built on a Bentley platform. It was powered by a W-12 engine, decked out with limousine style interior and intended to compete with the Mercedes-Benz S Class, Lexus LS and BMW 7 Series.
The Phaeton was withdrawn from the U. S. market following a three-year sales flop.
While the CC price tag is a long way from the six-figure Phaeton, it still may run into price resistance with high-end trim levels north of $40,000.
Designed to distance itself from the popular Jetta, Golf and Passat models, the CC has aimed its target audience at the Acura TSX, Infiniti G and Buick Regal buyer.
Introduced in 2009, the CC is available in six trim levels with prices ranging from the low $30s to $40s depending on equipment and option packages. Even the base car is well equipped, however, and will satisfy the discriminating buyer without the need for extras.
Standard equipment includes automatic bi-xenon headlights, leatherette interior seating with eight-way power front seats, dual zone climate control, sound system with touchscreen interface, Bluetooth connectivity and 17-inch alloy wheels.
As you move up the model ladder, wheels become larger, exterior styling tweaks are added along with full leather interior, heated windshield washers and rear-view camera.
Most models are powered by VW’s legendary four-cylinder turbocharged engine that delivers stellar performance. As the name implies, the top of the line VR6 models include a 3.6-liter engine with 80 more horsepower.
I was impressed with the styling of the Lux model during test week. While technically a sedan with four doors, the roofline retains its Coupe look. Front and rear fender styling tweaks add to the sporty look and feel. It is attractive and feels much larger than its mid-size roots.
In repeated testing from zero to 60 miles per hour, the CC clocked in at 6.1 seconds, incredibly quick for a four-cylinder and equal to industry times for the V6 model.
Following criticism of its four-seat cabin in last year’s model, VW re-tooled its 2013 interior and says it will seat five. Well, sort of.
Picture four bucket seats inside a sedan with center console between each. That was the 2011 interior. Now picture two comfortable bucket seats up front with two recessed bucket seats connected with matching upholstery in the rear. The elevated center seating area is 10 inches wide compared with 20 inches for each outer seat. So much for the fifth seat.
A refined interior is driver friendly and has easy-to-reach controls for media, cabin atmosphere and engine vitals. This may be nit picking, but I sensed a certain amount of frustration with media and Bluetooth adjustments that seem intuitive on other cars and were clumsy on the VW. Perhaps a longer learning curve is needed.
The CC offers a refined and luxurious ride for the discerning driver. With good looks, performance and high fuel economy numbers, there is not much wrong with the CC.
Len Ingrassia is an automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.