The ‘middle management’ sedan market is choc-a-block full with some quality metal, highlighted by the usual German suspects from Audi with the A4, BMW’s 3 and Mercedes’ C-Class. There’s no doubting their respective merits, where each provide exceptional quality and, of course, a bit of high brow swish.

But what if they’re all a bit too, well, obvious? Where might the discerning customer turn? Volkswagen is surely hoping it is toward their half sedan, half coupe CC – a car I think offers something a little different.

Volkswagen’s CC caused quite a stir when it first poked its sleek nose into South Africa and will no doubt continue to do so in 2012. Effectively the new model is nothing but a facelift, grafting VW’s corporate face and tail onto the existing structure.

Similarly, VW has done little underneath the skin. So the CC is still a competent, confident, comfortable drive. On the open road it feels exceptionally solid and predictable, moving where you want it to with minimal fuss. However show the CC a bit of winding road and it will fail to excite, despite the addition of a fancy electronic differential.

First thing you’ll notice when you hop inside is the spacious cabin that belies its coupe-esque exterior. There’s almost enough room to take your dog for a walk – and definitely enough to remain perfectly comfortable in both the front and back on a long trip.

The second thing you’ll notice is how well the CC has been stitched together – exactly what we’ve come to expect from German manufacturers and VW specifically. There’s a real appeal in the way the deep, bucket seats and beautifully crafted dash cocoon occupants much more snugly than your typical saloon.

What you might not notice immediately is the extra sound deadening that makes the CC remarkably quiet, along with some active safety options like fatigue detection. Then there are the clever little additions that show VW has spent many, many hours considering the customers every need; such as the fold away tow bar, or the hidden iPod storage bay in the cubby hole.

You’ll find one of two petrol motors, or a diesel, under the bonnet. Mine came with the smaller of the two petrol units, being a 2.0 litre TSI motor that puts its 155kW onto the road through a six speed double clutch auto ‘box. I have a major gripe with the gearbox because it is hugely dim-witted off the line – to the point that it is dangerous when turning into fast moving traffic. Once on the move however it’s slick, seamless changes blend into the background and keep the motor operating in its sweet spot.

While many may believe the CC is nothing but a Passat in a fancy dress – there’s a lot more to VW’s middle management run about than first meets the eye. Its sleek, coupe-esque design, remarkable attention to detail and GT-like ability on the open road gives the CC that much sort after USP (Unique Selling Point for those outside of middle management).

Price: R395 950
Engine: 2.0 litre TSI
Power: 155 kW
Torque: 280 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7.3
Top speed (km/h): 240
Fuel consumption (l/100km): 7.8 (claimed)

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