We feared for the CC.
Yes, Volkswagen did give it a variation of the corporate face, but it's been masterfully applied. It works, and the linear form looks far more contemporary than the fascia of the outgoing model.
The lights and grill form a crisp lockup, not unlike a well-designed Braun razor.
When it comes right down to it, a lot of what the CC is about is looks. It was one of the first ones out of the gate with the 'four-door coupe' craze that has swept across Germany — basically very sleek sedans that sacrifice a bit of rear comfort for luxurious, more coupe-like aesthetic.
There is still a tons of substance behind the style, mechanically and in the interior, but the enhanced image is why it exists completely separate from from the 'normal' Passat.
And on those looks, it succeeds brilliantly. In photos it looks clean and inoffensive, but in person it can stop you in your tracks.
We'll try to avoid the word "sleek" — but there's almost no way around it. It's a sexy, smartly designed four-door that looks like it costs twice its $36,000 MSRP.
Four frameless doors emphasize the coupe-ness, and welcome you to a beautiful, almost lounge-like interior.
Under the hood is the same 2.0T we've loved in a variety of VWs, paired with a faultless six-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG). The small turbocharged motor delivers 200 horsepower in that signature 2.0T way, with silky smooth application of power that swells into a rush of power as you get into the boost.
We loved the powertrain and overall seamless operation, but ran into just one hitch: the ride quality. Over smooth pavement it rides decently, but throw in cracks, dividers or bumps and you will quickly feel as if you're participating in the Dakar Rally.
A skateboard would be better over speed bumps. It's baffling how the suspension could be tuned so badly.
Entering the cabin reveals a black interior filled with brushed aluminum and some of the coolest looking, ribbed leather seats we've seen. They're 12-way adjustable and comfortable, too.
Space in the rear is ample, even for six-footers, in spite of the swoopy roofline.
The linear design theme of the interior is a refreshing change from most of what's put there, and it's beautifully executed.
Volkswagen interior controls and HVAC commands are some of the best around, and CC continues this pattern.
The slender shoulder line of the CC hides a spacious trunk.
Our Volkswagen CC with the Lux package rides on shapely 18" wheels with 235/40/R18 tires.
If anything it seems to have grown more premium. Despite the weirdly-harsh suspension setup, the CC is a smart-looking, well, designed car with a fantastic interior and a surprisingly fun engine and drivetrain. It has improved in almost every imaginable way.
We shouldn't have been worried at all.