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First Drive

2016 Volkswagen CC Black Edition 2.0 TDI 184 review

There’s a new special edition Volkswagen CC, the Black Edition. Is it worth the additional outlay over the standard car?

Words ByAlan Taylor-Jones

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The Volkswagen CC has been quite a success, with more than 300,000 sold worldwide since the original Passat CC was launched in 2008. Standing for Comfort CoupΓ©, it offers four-door practicality with a bit more glamour than the more staid saloon on which it’s based.

So, what’s new here? If we’re honest, not much. Rather than another facelift, this Black Edition model seems to be designed to keep people interested until the next generation CC is released. It's available in GT or R-Line trim, and it’s the latter we’re looking at here.

For a Β£650 premium, you get gloss black door mirrors, window surrounds and front grille, along with a sunroof and heated front seats. You can have a manual or dual-clutch automatic gearbox, but engine choices are limited to the familiar 2.0-litre TDI motor with either 148bhp or the 181bhp of our test car.

What is the 2016 Volkswagen CC R-Line Black Edition 2.0 TDI 184 like to drive?

Thanks to the combined efforts of its 181bhp TDI engine and swift shifting automatic gearbox, the Volkswagen CC gets up to motorway speeds without breaking sweat and there’s easily enough urge to overtake safely on a typical British A-road.

However, despite the best efforts of VW’s XDS electronic differential lock, the CC can struggle to put all of its power down from a standstill. It’s far too easy to get the front tyres squealing and you’ll feel the steering wheel moving in your hands, too. Once you’re rolling though, it’s never an issue.

As standard, you get 18in alloy wheels, although our test car was fitted with optional 19in items. They may look good, but they do the ride no favours; even with the standard adjustable suspension set to Comfort, expansion joints thump through the car and those inside it. It’s worse if you’re unlucky enough to catch a pothole.

Unfortunately, Comfort mode also allows quite a bit of float and wallow from the body. Ramp it up to Sport and there’s no issue with body roll, but you do feel even more bumps in the road; Normal mode offers the best compromise.

Even in Sport, you’d never call the handling engaging. The steering is well weighted, but doesn’t offer any feedback from the front tyres during cornering. Push the CC hard and you’ll find more than enough grip for most situations before the front end gently washes wide.

What is the 2016 Volkswagen CC R-Line Black Edition 2.0 TDI 184 like inside?

Step inside the CC, and you’ll understand why this is called the Black Edition. Apart from a few chrome rings around the dials and some metal effect trim around the gearlever, the cabin is very dark.

The dashboard is black, the seats are black, the headlining is black and there are trim pieces in carbon effect, which are - you guessed it - mostly black, too. Add heavily tinted rear windows and even the standard sunroof fails to brighten up the interior.

Quality is, for the most part, very good, however. The top of the dashboard and door trim are delightfully squishy and all the controls feel solid and have a pleasing feel. But wshile this CC is good in isolation, you can tell it’s from a generation before the current Passat.

While we’re comparing this to the Passat, you might want to think twice about the CC if you’re planning on carrying adults in the back regularly. Leg room isn’t an issue, but the swooping roofline does eat into head room significantly. The boot is a good size though; it’ll swallow golf clubs or a couple of suitcases with ease.

Should I buy one?

According to Volkswagen, around 80% of CC buyers will be business users. With that in mind, we’d suggest shying away from this particular variant. The engine may have plenty of punch, but CO2 emissions of 130g/km put benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax at 26% - a fair bit higher than the best saloons and coupΓ©s out there.

Truth be told, the 148bhp diesel will offer more than enough pace for the vast majority while proving cheaper both to buy and run. We’d also be more tempted by an entry-level CC, a car which still gets plenty of equipment for considerably less money than this Black Edition. Better still; hold fire until the all-new CC goes on sale.


What Car? says

Rated 2 out of 5


Rivals

Audi TT

BMW 4 Series


Volkswagen CC R-Line Black Edition 2.0 TDI 184

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

Price from Β£33,485

Power 181bhp

Torque 280lb ft

0-62mph 8.1sec

Top speed 144mph

Fuel economy 56.5mpg

CO2 130g/km