BMW 3 Series 320i 2012 review
With 12 million sales around the world since its introduction in 1975, the BMW 3 Series is the...
Browse over 9,000 car reviews
Sorry, there are no cars that match your search
Sorry, there are no cars that match your search
Four-door coupes make a lot of sense in today’s world. As the baby boomers get older and their limbs get stiffer they want the convenience of a four-door sedan, but love the idea of driving a sleek, stylish two-door coupe.
Mercedes-Benz began the four-door coupe trend with its CLS in the early years of the 21st century. Volkswagen’s Passat CC was the first of the affordable cars in the class. In an interesting move the German giant has decided not to call the all-new model a Passat, but simply a ‘CC’. Giving it a market niche all to itself within the extensive VW range.
The CC range consists of two models in Australia. The 125kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbodiesel delivers 125kW/350Nm via the front wheels and is priced from $54,990 while the petrol all-wheel drive 3.6-litre V6 starts from $64,990.
In a cheeky move Volkswagen is aiming the CC at the upper crust German marques, albeit at the lower specced versions of standard sedans, not the coupes. The local importer says it would just love to steal buyers from the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Volkswagen CC comes with the choice of two engines – a 3.6-litre V6 FSI petrol putting out 220 kW of power and a 2.0-litre TDI common-rail turbo-diesel delivering 125 kW. Both engines produce 350 Nm of torque, the petrol between 2400 and 5300 rpm, the diesel from a low 1750 revs.
This V6 FSI powertrain can accelerate the big coupe to 100 km/h from rest in just 5.6 seconds, the sort of acceleration that required a gas guzzling V8 engine only half a generation back.
On test we found the VW CC using only eight to ten litres per hundred kilometres around town. Getting petrol consumption below seven litres per hundred when touring was simple with a bit of attention to economy driving.
Both engines sit beside a six-speed DSG double-clutch automatic that has a semi-manual mode using either the gear lever or steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
New generation Volkswagen CC follows the latest VW design theme at the front with its ultra-neat nose having a slim horizontal shape in the grille and head and foglights. These blend well with the lowset bonnet.
Viewed from the side the CC has sleek lines that pull the shape into a low profile admired by all who commented on the car during our recent week’s review.
The large VW badge in the bootlid acts as the boot handle and also houses the rear-view camera. Thus keeping up the uncluttered look that’s such a feature of the rest of the CC.
Despite the low, sleek exterior, cabin headroom has not been compromised. There’s 955 mm (949 mm with panoramic glass roof) in the front and 922 mm in the rear seats. It comes as no surprise that we found ourselves closer to the roof in the CC than in a conventional four-door sedan, but at no time did we feel cramped. Friends in the back seat for a mid-range trip made similar comments about their seating positions.
Those in the rear compartment greatly appreciated being able to get in and out through normal doors, instead of having to crawl past folded front seats as is the norm in a two-door coupe. They added that you have to be aware of the lower than average door opening, particularly when getting into the CC.
Soft-touch cabin surroundings and leather trimmed seats continue the feel of the exterior quality of the Volkswagen CC. We really loved the optional ambient lighting system that provides a relaxing lounge-like atmosphere at night.
The boot is relatively shallow if you compare it with a four-door sedan of the same size, but that’s to be expected. Cleverly, the boot can be opened by making a kicking movement under the rear of the car making life much simpler when both hands are carrying stuff. You need to have the key in your pocket or bag so that the CC senses you’re authorised to open the bootlid in this manner.
Standard safety features include Driver Fatigue Detection; Side Assist that warns of vehicles in blind spots if you haven’t set the mirrors correctly; Lane Assist that prevents unintended wandering between lanes by intervening in steering; and City Emergency Brake function.
Our test car was the petrol, which not only has the extra smoothness provided by a V6 engine and petrol injection, but also VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system. The latter provides added traction on slippery surfaces or when pulling sharply out of a side street into a small gap in heavy traffic.
Just the thing for helping us make time during the school holiday period on the Gold Coast where we are plagued by dithery drivers slowing us locals up. Apologies to all you folks from down south who do the right thing...
On road handling and comfort are good, with a nice compromise seeing the CC riding well on all but the roughest of sealed surfaces. Even when it did hit near-Outback roads and Australia’s notorious coarse-chip surfaces it wasn’t overly upset.
Handling is neutral at normal driving speeds and remains so even when we started to push our test CC hard on our favourite stretches of hilly roads. Go really hard in a sporting manner and you can feel the heavy front engine location pushing it into marginal understeer. But a lot of that is cancelled by the all-wheel-drive system.
Volkswagen CC’s not really aimed at full-on sporty coupe drivers, but will certainly please those who look at cars as mere providers of transportation.
Lowest price, based on 10 car listings in the last 6 months