Rick DeMeis is former site editor, Automotive DesignLine, and now seeks work as a freelance technology editor/writer (http://www.linkedin.com/in/rickdemeis).
You know this car is different as soon as you look at it. Shaped somewhat like a Mercedes but with surfaces sculpted like a BMW, the only badges on the Volkswagen CC sedan are the front and rear VW logosand it turns heads as well with its lunging, rakish looks and aggressive, optional alloy wheels on the luxury model I was lucky enough to have for a week.
Handling is lively and the 200 hp (207 lb-ft torque), turbocharged 4-cylinder engine provides adequate pop. The leather interior fits the luxury name, but inexplicably, the rear seat cannot hold three passengers, even in a pinch because between the two "buckets" is a roll-back consol rather than a leather surface.
Especially nice touches are side-turning lamps, which dim as they turn off, and the under-mirror lights to spot puddles etc. when the remote key opens the locks. Rear vision is restricted by a high rear deck, so to increase safety there is an Optical Parking System. This is "optical" only in the sense that a display you "look at" shows the location of obstacles detected by the ultrasound sensors in the front and rear wrap-around bumpers. As the name implies, the system also has a parking mode.
Mileage in my limited driving was in the low 20 mpgs around town with the air conditioning on, but jumped to under 30 on the highway. With pricing ranging from $27,100 (6-speed manual, 4 cylinder) to $39,300 (6-cylinder, all-wheel drive), there should be a CC for a wide range of buyers.