The new DS3, customise every feature to suit your style
When the whole styled-more-elegantly-than-a-sedan-counterpart (or four-door coupé for short) genre started really booming around five years ago, Volkswagen naturally wanted its cut and gave us this car, the CC (which stands for Comfort Coupé).
As its international name implies the sumptuously sculpted CC is based heavily on Passat underpinnings, and when the Passat underwent a major revision in 2011 it didn’t take long for the CC to get a parallel treatment. On test here is the latest CC in flagship 3.6-litre all-wheel drive trim.
Just being slightly more elegant and sumptuous than the Passat is already quite an achievement in itself. The Passat’s not a shabby car to begin with as it’s super comfy and spacious, but in brutal honesty is a bit plain around its cookie-cut sedan edges.
The CC in comparison is very sexy as proven by the amount of thumbs up it got from onlookers. Many more anyway than I’ve noticed in the Passat we’re long-term testing. Having a Passat in our fleet was also quite handy for a side-by-side evaluation, where it was clear that the interior of both cars is near identical, barring the 3.6 CC’s fancier climate-control system
It’s also important to note that this CC’s engine and 4Motion drivetrain combination isn’t available in a Passat body in our market, so if you’re determined to have six cylinders driving all four wheels in your middle executive-sized VW you’re stuck with this one.
Is the extra R75 000 for this drivetrain worth it over the next CC in the range, a front-wheel drive two-litre petrol? It’s an interesting debate, but I’d say mostly yes.
A JEWEL OF AN ENGINE
Unless you live in snowy Lesotho, or your driveway’s paved with greasy glass marbles, the 4Motion system is mostly wasted here in SA. It does provide a less torque-steery pull off in certain (read aggressive) situations, with push coming from the rear wheels but many drivers would hardly notice. Anyway, it’s this 3.6-litre narrow-angle V6 engine that’s the real charmer here.
This is a very distant relative of the old 2.8 VR6 than many torque mongers like myself fell in love with 20 years ago, and I’m glad to say that all of its original attributes are still there.
The rev-range, from bottom to top, is creamier than warm milk tart and it’s got a buttery gurgle from the exhaust to match. I also noticed that the additional weight of this lump, which is much bigger than your standard 2-litre, gave the CC a more compliant ride.
A naturally-aspirated power delivery is also a huge breath of fresh air from all the laggy turbo engines these days, and this CC pulls off from a stop with no hesitation whatsoever.
From there it’s smooth sailing up through the gears with a healthy dollop of torque to see it through each one. This engine’s marriage to VW’s superb dual-clutch DSG transmission is a match made in heaven, even if it is VW’s older six-speed unit. Many VWs today have moved on to newer seven and even eight-speed DSG gearboxes, but still this one shifts as slickly as the best of ‘em.
The 220kW and 350Nm outputs equate to a 0-100km/h sprint of 7.8 seconds at Gauteng altitude, with the quarter mile coming up in 15.7. Again the weight added by all-wheel drive no doubt has an adverse affect on straight-line performance, but it’s still substantially quicker than both four-cylinder petrol and diesel Passat and equivalent CC models.
That said, our average fuel consumption of 12.3 litres per 100km was also substantially thirstier than its less-endowed siblings.
In standard trim the CC 3.6 is feature rich, with one in particular standing out as seriously cool. Park Assist is nothing new in cars today, but the CC’s Generation II version not only guides into parallel parking spots for you but can steer into normal perpendicular ones too. Activate it by pressing a button once, and at speeds up to 40km/h the car will suss out potential docking spaces by radar; and then magically steer its way into ones it sees fit all by itself. Genius.
Our test unit, with all of its expensive options, such as a panoramic sunroof (R9300), towbar (R7150) and rear-view camera (R5400) comes in at just over half a million bucks. It’s easily the most expensive passenger car Volkswagen sells in SA, but it’s also the most comfortable and well equipped. Worth it? Probably not for most people looking in this category.
But the CC’s not meant for most people. The Passat is. - Star Motoring