Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Most Passat CC models are diesels and the good news is that these latest versions use common rail technology. Compared to the older TDI engines, they’re dramatically better all round with little ‘clatter’ at idle, a smoother nature plus significantly less noise at cruising speeds. The 2.0 TDI with 138hp reaches 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds while the 168bhp version gets there in 8.6 seconds.

Both return an average of 50mpg and are available with a six-speed DSG automatic gearbox which is fitted with two clutches to provide super smooth and fast shifts. In 2011 VW fitted Bluemotion technology to the 138bhp version of the two-litre diesel that reduced CO2 emissions to 125g/km and improved fuel consumption to a claimed average of 60mpg. The Bluemotion version comes with a six-speed manual and is also available with DSG.

The petrol line-up starts with a 1.8-litre TSI developing 160bhp and a 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds, while economy is 37mpg. A 2.0-litre TSI is also available which produces 200bhp for a 0-62mph time of 7.6 seconds. This is the same engine that is fitted to the 2005 Golf GTI and it's responsive and eager. The top model is the 3.6-litre V6 FSI which comes with the 4MOTION four-wheel drive system as standard.

It boasts 300bhp and sprints from 0-62mph in just 5.6 seconds. It's fitted with the six-speed DSG as standard while economy is 30mpg - acceptable given the performance it offers.

The Passat is a well known family car, but the CC signals a major change in handling to provide a more sporty drive. This was the first Volkswagen model to be available with an adaptive chassis known as ACC, which has three different settings allowing the driver to firm up or soften the ride. Though the standard CC is well balanced and feels competent, the electronic system gives the GT model extra finesse that rewards enthusiast drivers.

It takes the press of a button to switch from normal for urban use to comfort for relaxing cruising and then through to sport, the setting that sharpens the suspension and steering, making it even more nimble.