15 Jan 2018 | 02.06 pm
Roadtest: Volkswagen Arteon
Fastback styling that’s a foretaste of the new family look
15 Jan 2018 | 02.06 pm
For fleet buyers looking for something different, the Volkswagen Arteon opens up a jaded segment, writes Mark Gallivan
Fifteen years after the Volkswagen Phaeton flopped as a premium luxury rival for Mercedes, BMW and the Audi A8, the Volkswagen Arteon arrives to claw back VW’s bruised ambition. Priced from €44,425, the new Arteon is VW’s flagship saloon that competes against a growing range of SUV alternatives and the likes of BMW’s 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class saloons. The Arteon range is a 2.0-litre diesel-only line-up in a choice of Bluemotion, Elegance and R-Line specifications.
Based on the Passat, the Arteon’s is uncannily similar to the Sport Coupe GTE Concept that Volkswagen showcased in Geneva two years ago. It’s a large proportioned car – at 4,862mm in length (BMW 3-Series is 4,633mm) – showcasing a fastback styling that’s a foretaste of the new family look. Testing the almost range-topping Arteon R-Line 2.0-litre TDI 150hp DSG, it wandered innocently into BMW’s 420i M Sport Gran Coupé territory.
The Arteon looks fabulous, with unfiltered concept car looks, has an excellent 795mm of rear legroom, and a hatchback opening with 563 to 1,557 litres (with rear seats folded) of boot space that will swallow eight suitcases. The question remains: is the Arteon sufficiently elevated above the solid Passat for buyers to choose it over the equivalent medium-sized BMW or Mercedes?
The four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel engine threw up no surprises, as it’s a unit that powers many other Volkswagen models. The test car had 150hp and 340Nm, and Volkswagen claims 0-100km/h in a leisurely 9.1 seconds and 220km/h maximum speed in a combined 4.5L/100km (62.8mpg). The engine is no firecracker from standstill but on motorways it’s refined and frugal. The seven-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox is smooth and shifts gears imperceptibly, making the Arteon a pleasantly relaxing car in which to tackle long journeys. However, keen drivers may yearn for more some more fun.
The Arteon’s large cabin – almost Skoda Superb in size – comfortably seats four adults. Behind the wheel, you sit tall, so there’s good visibility and all the controls are sensibly placed. The 12.3-inch digital Active Info Display behind the steering wheel works well, and there’s a secondary 8-inch centre infotainment screen that is crisp with fast reactions. Standard equipment across the range includes LED lights (front and rear) and tri-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control with predictive speed control and dynamic road sign display.
Also standard is Volkswagen’s remote Car-Net Security and Service package that remotely connects the vehicle offering an emergency call service, roadside assistance and remote service scheduling alerts. Volkswagen says this technology will be available in other models next year. This is the level of technology that rivals only ever offer as expensive options.
In a segment awash with same-again premium car choices, the Arteon is a stylish breath of fresh air, and picks up the Volkswagen CC’s baton of the most appealing fastback saloon under the €45,000 price bracket.
Model: Volkswagen Arteon 2.0TDI 150bhp DSG
Price: €53,553 as tested (starting at €44,425)
Fuel: 4.5L/100km combined cycle
Road Tax: €390
Verdict: Premium box successfully ticked. Misses some driving sparkle.