The engine that powers most of the CC line is the excellent 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder, making 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Base Sport models comes standard with a six-speed manual, while Volkswagen's nice, quick-shifting six-speed DSG automatic is now optional on four-cylinder models. Both offer sprightly performance; the manual transmission is nice in the CC, with a nice clutch takeup, though its linkage is a bit notchy.
Volkswagen's narrow-angle V-6 (called the VR6) is optional, here in 3.6-liter guise and making 280 horsepower. It has a different character entirely—rather gruff and vocal, and needing to be revved to extract its torque. The engine functions pretty well with its six-speed automatic, but upshifts can be lumpy and downshifts hesitant. Overall, because the four makes its torque down low and the six needs to be revved, the four is actually the more drivable of the two—and the VR6 in its mandatory 4Motion guise doesn't seem any perkier (while using a lot more fuel, at just 17 mpg city).
The VW CC handles well, but overall it's unremarkable due to overboosted, feather-light steering that lacks any sense of road feel; we also feel that the four-cylinder model handles a bit better, though. Brakes are also a disappointment—they're too touchy and tough to modulate, though they are strong and capable.