VOLKSWAGEN’S stylish CC may still be a Passat at heart but clever work by the giant German firm has transformed the car into a four-door coupe with more elegance and excitement.

And despite putting on the style and making some sacrifices in terms of space, the CC remains a practical vehicle and one you can buy with your head as well as your heart.

The classy treatment and generous provision of equipment comes at a price, however, with the range starting at £24,050 (on the road) for the standard 160PS 1.8-litre petrol TSi to £30,160 for the 177PS 2.0-litre TDi GT with BlueMotion technology and sixspeed auto DSG transmission.

The CC is now a model in its own right and is providing stiff competition against premium models from other manufacturers.

It is certainly different visually to the Passat and adding to the sleek look is the low bonnet, raked windscreen, lower roof line, streamlined bumpers, chrome side window surrounds and chrome side and rear protective strips. And the build quality inside and out is excellent.

As one might expect from VW, the CC comes with some topbracket petrol and diesel motors while there are just two specifications – standard and GT, both of which offer BlueMotion technology.

The BlueMotion cars with their brilliant fuel returns and low emission levels are becoming increasingly popular because of their lower running costs. For instance, the 140PS 2.0-litre TDi unit with a six-speed manual gearbox has CO2 emissions (g/km) of 120 and a combined fuel return of more than 60mpg.

And the fuel saving devices, including a stop/start system, are not fitted at the expense of performance as the 140PS CC doesn’t hang about with a 0-62mph acceleration time of 9.8 seconds and a top speed of 133mph.

On the road the CC gives a supple and comfortable ride with the minimum of road and wind noise.

And driving pleasure is increased with the optional adaptive damping control which alters the setting from normal to comfort or sport.

Although the chassis is largely unchanged, handling is very good and body roll kept well in check.

The press-on driver will find the car’s strong grip hugely reassuring while drivers on lengthy journeys will appreciate the car’s high level of refinement.

However, the CC may not serve up all the driving thrills of a traditional coupe or the cabin space and versatility of a fairly large saloon but the vehicle is great to drive and is surprisingly practical and plush.

The interior is similar to the Passat with the dash being clearly laid out and the controls nicely to hand. There is plenty of space in the front and despite the sloping roof line, the car has the advantage of being able to sit five adults comfortably. The boot space is reduced but is still large by coupestyle standards.

The equipment lists for the standard and GT models are as long as your arm. Safety and security are tops with airbags galore, ABS and supportive electronic braking and stabilisation programmes.

Comfort and convenience includes battery regeneration, stop/start function, parking sensors, climate control, bi-Xenon headlights, driver’s alert system, 18in alloy wheels, touch screen navigation/radio system and Bluetooth. The list goes on... On the inside of the GT, soft leather upholstery adds a touch of class.

Options on the GT include a more expensive navigation/DVD radio system and adaptive chassis control.

ROY LEWIS road tests...

Volkswagen CC GT 2.0-litre TDi Bluemotion 140PS six-speed manual.

Price: £27,885 (on the road).

Top speed: 133mph.

0-62mph: 9.8 seconds.

Fuel: 60.1mpg (combined figure).

Verdict: More style and elegance, refined, high level of equipment, great to drive, comfortable, fuel efficient, well built, pricey but worth the money.