7. November 2011
Look in the trunk. Seriously. The trunk. The afterthought, it seems, in many vehicles. Sure, lux vehicles have gone to lining them. To using more sophisticated opening mechanisms. But pretty much, trunks are like closets where stuff gets stored, so whether or not the floor has been finished or the walls and ceiling painted is not particularly important.
But in the case of the Volkswagen CC, the trunk has been designed. Or I should say the interior of the trunk appears to have been executed in such a way that it is something someone thought long and hard about. There is nothing particularly fancy about it. It is finished on the inside. It is lighted. It is long and fairly rectangular. It appears to be a place not where you’d just throw stuff but position and arrange things.
Am I making too much of something that is contextually small in what is truly a striking vehicle? Possibly. But it seems to me that if someone pays attention to things like the trunk, you can be fairly confident that they’ve paid attention to the bigger things like the engine and transmission.
This CC is equipped with a 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder engine and a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic with Tiptronic control. The turbocharged engine provides the pep, as in 200 hp @ 5,100 rpm and 207 lb-ft of torque at 1,700 rpm. The dual-clutch automatic, which has two wet clutches (one for the even gears and the other for odd) that overlap so that as soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the appropriate clutch opens and the other closes, provides good fuel efficiency, an EPA rated 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
Back in 2008, when the CC was first introduced, I had the opportunity to go to Germany and speak with designer Oliver Stefani about the exterior design execution for the CC. More than any other Volkswagen, outside of the Beetle, the CC has provided a benchmark of superb lines and execution. Long, low, lean and with a long hood and short rear deck (over the aforementioned trunk space). In effect, there is a horizontal look to the front, with the wide grille flanked by trapezoidal headlamps. This is an approach that is used by subsequent Volkswagens, yes including the recently introduced Beetle (i.e., in terms of the low and horizontal).
While one might think: “Midsize sedan [it is actually in the EPA Compact category for fuel ratings, but that’s predicated on interior room, not overall dimensions]; seating for five (with the fifth person not in the least bit comfortable, no longer how short the ride,” the CC belies that by providing seating for four: there are two places in the rear seat, with a console and armrest between the two highly bolstered and comfortable seating positions. The materials are first rate, such as aluminum trim that’s based on bauxite, not petroleum, and wood from trees, not barrels. The Lux package includes such things as a 6.5-in. touch screen display for navigation and audio and a panoramic sunroof.
The electromechanical, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system has variable-speed assist. I found that under most driving conditions the steering was such that it always felt as though something substantial was being piloted, not the lightness that some steering systems have, which seem to be more well suited to gaming systems than real cars. With a front strut-type suspension with coil springs, telescopic dampers, and low-mounted aluminum control arms and a multilink setup in the year, the CC’s ride was Germanically stiff without being punishing.
It isn’t too often that we’re able to note that something was assembled with a laser rather than with a sequence of spot welds. But the bodyshell of the CC is laser welded, which makes it strong but light (lasers don’t require the flanges necessary when using a spot welding gun, which helps reduce mass without giving up anything in the way of strength: arguably it makes the structure stronger because whereas spot welds are like this O O O O O, laser welds are like this __________________: a seam rather than a series of separated spots).
The MSRP for the 2012 CC Lux Limited is $34,665. (The destination charge is an additional $820.) For the style and substance that is provided, it is more than reasonable. And not only are you getting “German engineering,” with this car you’re also getting German manufacturing.
Engine: 2.0-liter inline four, turbocharged
Material: Cast iron block; aluminum alloy head
Horsepower: 200 @ 5,100 rpm
Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm
Transmission: Dual-clutch automatic six-speed
Wheelbase: 106.7 in.
Length: 188.9 in.
Width: 73.0 in.
Height: 55.8 in.
Base curb weight: 3,367 lb.
EPA: 22/31 mpg city/hwy