Volkswagen Passat CC 3.6 V6 FSI

Other News Materials 15 April 2008 06:12 (UTC +04:00)

This is the range-topping version of the new Passat 'Comfort Coupe', powered by a 298bhp 3.6 V6 engine and driving four-wheel drive transmission via a six-speed DSG gearbox. ( Autocar )

And it's going to be a rare car in Britain. Volkswagen estimates it will shift just under 6000 CCs in a typical year - and only two per cent of them will have the V6 powerplant, suggesting only about 100 a year will be registered here.

As befits its status of range-topper, the V6 CC gets the new DCC 'adaptive chassis control'. This system adjusts the damper settings as well as the weight of the electro-mechanical steering, giving the driver a choice between normal, sport and comfort modes.

Interestingly, this generation of 4Motion all-wheel drive system does not require any wheel slip before it sends power to the rear wheels. VW calls the system 'full time' and says 100 per cent of the engine's torque can be directed to the rear axle.

Like many modern V6 engines, the Passat CC's motor needs to be stoked-up to extract all its available performance. Power peaks at a zingy 6000rpm, although the specifications claim that the full 258lb ft of torque is on offer from just 2400rpm to 5300rpm. The engine in our test car may still have been tight, but it still needed well over 3500rpm before the car felt like it was really shifting.

Of course, the combined extra weight of the six-pot engine and the four-wheel drive system adds 200kg to the CC's bulk compared to the 1.8 TFSI version - the equivalent of more than two average-size passengers. Even so, VW's official figures say the V6 CC should hit 62mph from rest in just 5.6 seconds - thanks in part to its quick-shifting DSG gearbox.

On winding roads the V6 CC is quick, has plenty of grip and boasts a surprisingly compliant ride. Few would expect this model to be an uncompromising, driver-focussed machine, and it isn't. But it is a comfortable, brisk tourer - and one which manages to induce a sense of well-being in its occupants.

There's not much compromise involved in plumping for the CC's sharp and distinctive looks over the saloon's four-square practicality. Indeed, the Passat CC is more useable than you might expect thanks to its commodious 532-litre boot and adult-sized space in the rear.

But unless you really need four-wheel drive, and can live with the V6's thirst and top-band CO2 emissions, this probably isn't the one for you. The smaller-engined turbocharged four-cylinder versions give away little in pace and return better fuel economy - they are where the smart money goes.