DETROIT – Volkswagen AG joins Germany’s 4-door coupe craze with the highly stylish Passat CC unveiled at the North American International Auto Show here.

The new model is one of 12 vehicles VW CEO Martin Winterkorn promises to unleash over the next three years as VW looks to challenge Toyota Motor Corp. globally and make a bigger dent here in the U.S. market.

In addition to its luxurious lines, the Passat CC packs a lot of technology, including VW’s first application of lane-departure technology and what the auto maker calls Dynamic Drive Control, which offers three settings for the car’s suspension damping and steering.

Lane Assist is activated by the driver and functions at speeds of 40 mph (65 km/h) or more. Using a camera mounted near the inside mirror, it detects when the car is unintentionally wandering out of its lane. If it is, the system corrects the steering automatically in what VW says is a “very continuous and gentle” manner. The driver can override the system with little force, the auto maker says.

The 4-door coupe also boasts park assist technology, which guides the vehicle into a parking space at the push of a button, and intelligent cruise control that can maintain a set speed and distance from the car in front.

VW’s “Front Assist” technology helps avoid collisions, using a radar sensor to monitor the distance to the vehicle ahead and automatically pre-condition the brakes for emergency activation, shortening stopping distance.

The car’s Mobility Tire System uses tires consisting of a highly flexible rubber mixture that self seals around a penetrating object (such as a nail from the road) in order to maintain air pressure.

Eight airbags and electronic stability control round out the safety technology aboard the Passat CC.

The 4-seater model measures 188.8 ins. (479.6 cm) in overall length, 1.2 ins. (3.1 cm) longer than the standard Passat sedan. The new model also is marginally wider by 0.4 ins. (1.1 cm) in the front and 0.6 ins. (1.6 cm) in the rear, but its sleeker profile has trimmed 2 ins. (5.0 cm) off the top. Helped by a revised front end, the Passat CC boasts a 0.29 drag coefficient.

Visually striking is the car’s large panoramic sunroof, which measures 29.5 ins. (75.0 cm) long and 44.1 ins. (112.0 cm) wide, covering the entire front passenger section up to the B-pillars. The top can be raised 1.2 ins. (3.0 cm).

Inside the Passat CC features a new-generation radio and navigation system, with the top-of-the-line version offering what VW promises is an “intuitive” touch-screen interface. Images from the rear appear on the screen as part of the “Rear Assist” parking feature, also available in the new model.

A full lineup of engines will be offered in the Passat CC, including three direct-injected gasoline engines and two common-rail diesels.

Gasoline powerplants start with a turbocharged 1.8L TSI DI 4-cyl. rated at 136 hp and a 2.0L version that produces 167 hp. VW’s 3.6L FSI V-6 will be available with 296 hp in the European market and 276 hp in North America.

The diesels, 138- and 168-hp versions of VW’s 2.0L TDI engine, will be offered only in Europe.

Standard is a 6-speed manual transmission, but a 6-speed automatic and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission are optional, depending on the model. All-wheel drive is standard with the 3.6L V-6.

The Passat CC will be built at VW’s Emden, Germany, plant. It will hit dealerships in Europe in the second quarter and roll out in the U.S., Canada and Japan, in that order, in the fourth quarter.

dzoia@wardsauto.com