A sleek offering from the German auto maker is sure attract potential buyers away from other premium brands. The Arteon has become Volkswagens new halo car, slotting above the passat in the model range and replacing the recently discontinued CC. The Arteon is more upmarket and larger than its predecessor and it’s now called a five door ‘fastback’ rather than a four-door coupé. I remember as the 2017 Geneva Motor Show neared that Volkswagen presented a successor to the CC, and the Arteon was named. Although, the German automaker wouldn’t look at it as a replacement as they have repositioned it quite a bit higher than the CC. Regardless, it shares the same platform, engines, chassis and interior as the Passat but it has improved styling and power. Volkswagen says the Arteon combines the design elements of a sports car and elegance and space of a fastback. When I first saw the Arteon while browsing online I had to do a double take. It’s clearly a striking looking car. Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen Head of Design explains: “The Arteon combines the design elements of a classic sports car with the elegance and space of a fastback. “An avant-garde business-class gran turismo, it speaks to the heart and the head alike.”
But that body is a thing of beauty – sculpted bonnet, pronounced shoulder line, wide stance, fastback tail and classic GT proportions. The dramatic-looking front is dominated by a radiator grille that encompasses the full width of the car and extends into the large LED daytime running lights. The Arteon’s rear end is clean and modern, with features like a rear-view camera hidden away behind the Volkswagen plaque. Finished in six colours, the new Arteon comes in striking Turmeric Yellow, Pyrite silver, Manganese grey, Crimson red, Chili red or Atlantic blue. It looks as glamorous as a Passat sedan looks conventional and that’s before you go add the optional 19-inch chennai alloy wheels or go for the larger 20 inch options.
The old Passat CC had some issues with rear-seat headroom and vision out of the rear window, both of which have been sorted out with the new car although those over six foot might have some difficulty. Overall its very spacious and accommodating.
Its overall dimensions are larger than both the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW’s 4-Series Gran Coupe and the 2481mm wheelbase (up 131mm on the Passat CC) makes its rear seats roomier than both of them, too, offering a claimed 1016mm, or more than a metre. At 4862mm, its overall length is 95mm longer than the base Passat sedan and 65mm longer than the Passat CC. The Arteon is decently comfortable for five passengers and inside you would know you were in a Volkswagen with it being neatly designed and easy to operate all the techy stuff. The 8-inch touchscreen is neatly integrated into the dashboard and is very responsive with plenty of options. A larger 9.2 inch is also available. All models except the base model come with Active info Display which is the instrument panel to you and I. Giving clear display for content such as rev counter, speedometer and mileage indicator along with detailed information about your trip and driver assistance systems in your direct line of site on the dash display.
The elegance model pictured comes with alcantara and leather seats, as does the R-Line model. Full leather is also an option should you want it. The boot has a 563-litre capacity which is 23 litres down on the Passat saloon. With the rear seats being able to fold too a 1,557-litre load bay is accessible.
In Ireland the Arteon is available in three trim levels: Arteon, Arteon Elegance and Arteon R-Line. Standard equipment includes LED lights front and rear, 8“ touchscreen with navigation and eight speakers, 18“ alloys, VW’s latest infotainment system and App Connect, ErgoComfort seats, predictive cruise control, park distance control and rain sensing wipers. The Elegance model adds leather/Alcantara upholstery, ambient lighting, voice control, Active Info Display and rear view camera. The R-Line models add 19“ wheels, ‘R-Line‘ steering wheel and seats, running rear indicators, new dynamic cornering lights with predictive beam control anticipate when a bend is approaching and illuminate it before the driver actively turns into the bend, and adaptive chassis control on the 240hp model.
Based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, which also underpins vehicles like the Audi TT, the Arteon is a little bit sporty and a little bit luxurious. The Arteon has a choice of three power outputs of the 2.0-litre TDI engine with either 150hp, 190hp or 240 hp being the highest output which comes with 4MOTION all-wheel drive technology. The Arteon has a 150hp 1.5 TSI Petrol engine option along with a 2.0 TSI 190hp option. We expect the 2.0-litre TDI 150hp to be the big seller and this comes with either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The larger 190hp and 240hp come in a 7-speed DSG.
The Arteon feels comfortable as you get behind the wheel for a motorway trip and it’s a nice place to be. Steering remains weighty and responsive, the suspension easily damps out impacts from the few bumps I encounter, and the cabin remains impressively quiet. You may never find the need or at least the opportunity legally to put the foot down in the Arteon but it’s responsive to a point and impresses and you should eat up motorway miles at ease. I’d probably be inclined to pick up a larger output diesel engine, such as the 190hp or 240hp if the budget allowed. Around town and on country roads it also was more than capable. With no noticeable body roll and plenty of grip the chassis is adapative to whatever roads I threw at it during my time with the Arteon. The larger wheels do look awesome I must admit and I know what I’d be going for if I was making a purchase but in saying that you’ll probably find the 18 inch options more easy to live with over the longer term.
For regular driving, you can choose the Comfort option in the Driving Mode Selection system for a smoother ride, lighter steering and more relaxed drive train, however it can feel a tad lazy. I prefer the cars normal setting for performance behaviour that’s just right and engineered as the best day to day option. Sport mode is too firm for all but the most frantic of driving but as a plus it brings with it the best and most intuitive weighting and directness to the steering feel. Normal mode is where it’s at but always nice to switch it into sport and feel a better connection with the car.
The Arteon seamlessly blends luxury car segment sophistication with its latest generations safety tech. The Arteon has full five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests with an excellent 96 per cent for adult occupant safety. It comes equipped with the VW Group’s ‘Emergency Assist including Emergency Lane Change Assist’ system. How does it work? Well it activates when you’re using the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist systems (the latter nudges you back between the road lines if you stray) in tandem, provided you don’t respond to prompting to take over the steering manually. If you don’t respond to prompts, the onboard computer decides you may be asleep, or worse. If there is any suggestion that you are about to leave your lane unintentionally, Lane Assist alerts you and begins a gentle counter-steering action. Driving becomes safer and more comfortable, especially on long or monotonous journeys.
The Arteon is no doubt stylish and grabs attention when your out and about. If this is going to be a company car at least it’s something you can enjoy looking at compared to some alternatives which are a little drab. You also get the benefit of very good safety tech and an easy to use infotainment system. Space is also good so it ticks all the right boxes including value for money. I’d recommend a bigger engine such as the 2.0-litre 190hp diesel as while the drive was good there was times when I just felt a little under-powered.
Model: Volkswagen Arteon Elegance
Engine Size: 2.0 TDI
Fuel Type: Diesel
Acceleration: (0-100km/h) 9.1 seconds
Top Speed: 220 km/h
CO2 Emissions: 116g/km
Road Tax: €200 per year
Base Price: €43,295
Our Test Model: €52,497