When you walk into the VW dealership this is the car your eyes will find first. It’s the company’s design star — the Volkswagen CC. And when I tested the redesigned model last year it was in a front-drive trim with the 4-cylinder turbo and a dual clutch transmission. But this time, I’m driving the range-topping VR6 4Motion Executive and it’s impressive in a number of ways. Just when I thought the CC had lost a little bit of its mojo this tester arrived — the flavor of which is far more succulent than the 3 versions slotted below it. Though most of the recent VW styling redefines bland, this CC shows there is still hope. You can’t beat this paint and rim combo of Fortana Red and 18″ Lakeville wheels. The meaty Conti rubber also adds to the aesthetics as well as to the CC’s stellar stickiness. All told, it’s the best looking CC I’ve ever met. But what had me constantly surprised all week was the level of performance that exists. Perhaps it’s simply been too long since my last CC V6 test drive, but I don’t remember this kind of sound, this level of acceleration or the CC’s road carving ability.The 4Motion system combined with the A-level tires keep this car amazingly well-planted no matter what your right foot commands. With 280 horsepower and a beautifully matched 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters this powertrain is exceptionally satisfying. And the confident grip of the all-wheel drive system sending as much power to the rear as needed is a perfect fit for the eager chassis.Though the handling is crisp the ride quality is still VW smooth — the perfect blend for such a car. It’s comfortable, quiet and self-assured. So what’s new this year? Well, following Ford and BMW’s lead the CC’s 13 cubic-feet of trunk space can now be accessed with a swipe of the foot. And if you want to spread that room into the rear seats that can be done easily as well. Despite the coupe like profile the rear seats sit low to ensure there’s enough head room for adults. Leg room is spacious, too. From the front, you’ll be treated to somewhat firm yet supportive quilted leather seats with heat and cooling and even a massage on the driver’s side. VW’s typical low cowl means excellent forward visibility and the Bi-Xenon adaptive headlights and bright turning lamps make nighttime driving that much safer. VW’s OnStar-like subscription service called Car-Net is here, too. The look and feel of the cabin are very pleasing to the senses
but the amenities are borderline adequate for a $40,000+ car. The navigation screen could use a processor as fast as the engine’s as functions are often slow to react and if you’re looking for a USB port you’ll have to enter the glovebox where a special compartment houses an iPhone cable.The color information display in the gauge cluster is a helpful, modern touch but if you’re interested in the new suite of safety offerings like side blind zone alert, you’ll have to be satisfied with this traditional back-up cam because VW doesn’t offer other types of radar or camera-based systems on the CC. As tested, this most luxurious CC model is priced at $43,760 and that includes everything you see here as there are no options.Of course by choosing the 3.6-liter engine you’ll also pay more at the pump, as gas mileage on premium is rated at 20mpg combined — 5mpg less than the turbo. That said, the ownership experience is greatly enhanced with the V6 4Motion Executive — a midsize alternative for the driver who demands more from the typical 4-door offerings. .