Volkswagen unveils Passat CC
Longer and wider than the saloon, it boasts more interior space and is designed to woo buyers who find the standard model a bit too straightforward.
The engine range is made up of three petrol units and two diesels.
The entry-level 158bhp 1.8-litre petrol unit accelerates the Passat from 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds and on to a 138mph top speed. Average fuel consumption of 37.1mpg.
The 197bhp 2.0-litre petrol model goes from 0-62mph in 7.6sec and has a top speed of 147mph. Its average fuel economy is 35.8mpg.
The range-topping 296bhp 3.6-litre engine is linked to a four-wheel-drive system. It propels the car from 0-62mph in 5.6sec and a limited top speed of 155mph. It records 28.0mpg.
There are two 2.0-litre diesel engines, with 138bhp and 168bhp. Cars with the lower-powered unit travel from 0-62mph in 9.8sec and have a top speed of 132mph, while those with the higher-powered engine have a 0-62mph time of 8.6sec and top speed of 141mph. Fuel consumption is 49.0mpg and 47.0mpg respectively.
A manual six-speed gearbox is fitted as standard, although buyers of the higher-powered models can opt for a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox.
Advanced features on the Passat CC include Lane Assist, which counter-steers the car if the onboard computer decides the car is drifting out of its designated lane. VW says the system intervenes only if a driver doesn't indicate before changing lane. It's easily over-ridden by the driver.
The system works at speeds above approximately 50mph on roads with dashed or full white lines, and will operate even when it is foggy or dark.
Another feature is Dynamic Drive Control, which changes the car's suspension and power steering settings according to conditions. It features on models with 168bhp engines and above, and offers three settings: normal, sport and comfort.
As its name suggests, Park Assist guides the CC into a parking space, with the driver only having to operate the accelerator and brakes, but not the steering wheel.
Automatic Distance Control (ACC) uses radar technology to maintain the gap between the car in front and help avoid frontal collisions.
Puncture-resistant tyres are also an option. Constructed from a special material, the rubber in the tyre envelops objects that penetrates the tyre, and maintains a seal when the item is removed.
Occupants of the CC will benefit from four individual sports seats, with the rear pair separated by an armrest that doubles as a storage area.
Perhaps the most quirky design feature is the rear windscreen, which appears to extend into the boot lid thanks to clever use of glass-effect paint.
Other striking aspects of the design are a panoramic sunroof, an electrically controlled rear window screen and a choice of three leather steering wheel designs.
In addition, standard safety equipment includes eight airbags and stability control.
The Passat CC will go on sale in July, priced from around £19,500.
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