At the front, the new radiator grille has strong horizontal lines that represent Volkswagen's new design DNA, flanked by new bi-xenon headlights and topped with a reprofiled bonnet. The bumper is different, too, with a new extra air intake, and silver-coloured 'winglets' that frame the fog lights.
Along the side, the frameless doors are carried over from the previous model, but more sculpted sills, revised bumpers and the new bonnet add up to create a subtly updated silhouette.
The rear bumper has also been completely redesigned, with more emphasis on horizontal lines and a reworking of the characteristic chrome strip. The tail lights are new as well, not just in their more dramatic design, but in their use of LEDs. The numberplate lights are also now LED. As before, the Volkswagen logo doubles as the handle for the boot, and it can now optionally contain a rear-view camera. There's one last change at the rear, too: 'Passat' has been dropped from the name.
While the name may have changed, a list of standard equipment remains and expands to include features such as the standard driver alert system, as found on the Passat, and front head restraints with four-way adjustment, to reduce the risk of whiplash. New options include High Beam Assist, which automatically controls dipping of the headlights; Side Assist, which monitors the vehicle's blind spot; Lane Assist and adaptive cruise control with City Emergency Braking function; front climate seats with massage function; and an electrically deployed towbar.
From launch, the UK engine range will comprise 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS or 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS petrols and a 2.0-litre TDI common rail diesel with either 140 or 170 PS. All models with 170 PS or more also now get a standard XDS differential, an electronic cross-axle traction control system for improved traction and handling.
The CC will make its world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show before going on sale in the US in early 2012. Retailers in the UK will start taking orders for the new car around the same time with first deliveries due in March. More details including pricing will be available nearer the launch date.