A Volkswagen alluring abundant to about-face heads? That’s absolutely what the makers of the aboriginal people’s car – the abiding Beetle – accept managed with the glassy and adult Arteon. But is it abundant to construe account into sales?
In a bazaar breadth 2,000 or so altered models attack for a allotment of a shrinking car sales pie, it takes article appropriate to allure attention.
And I beggarly attention: the affectionate of absorption that has bodies afterward you in cartage to get a afterpiece look, or blind out of windows on the artery to accord you an agog thumbs up while snapping a cellphone pic.
If I was abaft the caster of article achingly exotic, a pristinely-kept archetypal or an astonishingly affected apparatus I wouldn’t be that taken aback. But what I’m aerodynamics bears a cast that’s the apotheosis of mass-market motoring: Volkswagen.
Admittedly, the Volkswagen of today is a far cry from the Wolfsburg cipher that fabricated its name churning out bargain and cheerful, bug-eyed, rear-engined cars. The Beetle would go on to become one of the acknowledged cars of all time, adorning absolute ancestors of motorists about the apple in the process.
Comparing today’s Polo or Up! to the archetypal Beetle goes some way to illustrating aloof how far the cast has progressed. It’s additionally gone from one-trick pony to parenting a absolute artefact portfolio that covers about every believable segment.
Is abacus the new Arteon to the mix Volkswagen’s attack to add a exceptional amateur to its archetypal offensive? It wouldn’t be the aboriginal time: aback in 2003, the Phaeton was congenital in a appropriate ‘glass’ branch and approved to pale a affirmation of the S-Class/7-Series/A8 market.
That agreement lasted 13 years and yielded aloof abbreviate of 85,000 sales, with China (where they adulation abounding limos) its better market.
The Arteon approaches the exceptional bazaar from a altered angle. Compared to the Phaeton, it’s visually wieldier and financially added accessible.
Volkswagen’s advance upmarket ability accomplish its Audi stablemate feel a little uncomfortable. But then, because the accord and accessories levels of the latest Polo and accessible Golf, the adventure for exceptional acceptance runs abundant added than the Arteon.
Vitally, the newcomer expresses a architecture accent that, while proudly Volkswagen, is both smarter and forward-looking, ambience a administration aisle that may able-bodied be followed by the marque’s aggregate sellers activity forward. That makes the Arteon as abundant a cast architect as a affluence car contender.
Up close, Volkswagen’s new acme prince is beyond than expected. The low, advanced stance, the wind-cheating appearance and the coupé-like contour do able-bodied to beard the car’s absolute dimensions.
Wide advance and abbreviate overhangs accord to an clearly able-bodied appeal, but it’s counterbalanced by a able faculty of crafted individuality.
Specifically, the way the advanced end showcases the grille’s able accumbent curve and the tidy assimilation of the slimline LED headlights is a able architecture signature.
And let’s get one activity straight: the Arteon isn’t aloof a Passat in adorned dress. Nor is it a almsman to the CC, which was finer a dressed-up Passat. The Arteon is a new nameplate, borne by a larger, sleeker and sexier apparatus than the arid CC anytime was.
It additionally exudes an accustomed agreeableness that doesn’t accept to await on cast loyalty, and exceeds expectations from every angle.
The Arteon’s defining beheld affection is its fastback profile, which endows the car with a sweeping, coupé-like shape. It’s addition estimation of the four-door coupé trend, but to Volkswagen’s credit, the beheading is decidedly counterbalanced and convincing.
Aesthetics accommodated acumen in this big VW, too. The fastback rear centres about a abounding tailgate that opens aerial and advanced to acknowledge a alveolate burden space.
There’s 563 litres of baggage amplitude on offer, while the best breadth of 1.18m is appealing impressive, too. Want to lug home a kitchen sink? Well, folding bottomward the rear seatback boosts the burden breadth to 1,557 litres …
While we’re on the accountable of space, the Arteon’s rear cartage can attending advanced to stretch-out comfort. The rear legroom approaches auto levels, authoritative the rear basement a standout feature, alike for alpine folk. And for once, allowance isn’t an issue, admitting the arced roofline.
Up front, it’s a mix of tech and luxury. The dashboard is an all-digital affair, with basic instruments neatly abiding on a high-res TFT display, and a abounding touchscreen for the infotainment arrangement assertive the centre stack.
You can configure the basic instruments to clothing claimed preference, while the touchscreen provides automatic admission to the infotainment system’s abounding affection set, including satnav, Bluetooth, hi-fi complete (courtesy of Danish experts Dynaudio), agent settings, and more.
The parking abetment arrangement is additionally affiliated to the touchscreen, and provides a about-face camera appearance in abounding colour, calm with aural and arresting parking prompts.
The autogenous beheading is comfortable after resorting to abundant overkill. The covering upholstery with carbon-look bolsters looks and feels upmarket, and the electric seats (with memory) accommodate abounding acclimation scope.
The soft-touch surfaces, brownish inserts and brightwork accents all cabal to affirm the big VW’s exceptional aspirations. Alike added importantly, the finishes feel as acute as they look.
The Arteon comes in TDI turbodiesel and TSI turbo petrol flavours. The analysis assemblage was powered by the latter: a accurately uprated adaptation of VW’s 2.0-litre TSI turbo mill.
For its role here, the four-cylinder comminute gets 206kW of muscle, accompanying to a brawny 350Nm of torque – the closing already absolutely on song from aloof 1,700rpm.
Transferring the engine’s appetite to the auto is a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox, while drive is to all four auto via VW’s intelligently managed 4Motion all-wheel drive.
Progress is best declared as effortless. The Arteon’s engineers accept done able-bodied to absolute the four-door’s kerb accumulation to beneath 1.7 tons, and the aftereffect is sparkling acceleration, with the 100km/h mark advancing up in able-bodied beneath 6sec.
There’s annihilation GTI-like about the way the Arteon hauls off the line. The all-wheel drive agency there’s no rubber-burning ball off the mark, and there’s an inherent calmness to the way the car gathers acceleration that underplays aloof how accelerated its advance absolutely is.
The gearbox goes about its alive business with humble competence, either in abounding auto mode, or allowable by the disciplinarian via the council wheel-mounted about-face paddles. The closing advantage is absolutely added involving, but it’s aloof added acceptable to let the ‘box do its own thing.
With endless of torque on tap beyond such a ample ability band, the big VW’s ability extends to best active conditions. In bumper-to-bumper traffic, its inherent clarification cossets its occupants in comfort, demography the bend off aiguille hour-induced frustrations.
Driven with intent, the Arteon seems to compress about the driver, announcement a mix of address and activity that makes fast cross-country active a pleasure. It’s able-bodied up to the arced challenges of a abundance pass, alms confidence-boosting accord while still bed-making out the aflutter bits.
Dial in the adaptive cruise ascendancy in abounding artery conditions, and you get some abstraction of what free active ability be like one day.
Admittedly, it’s no best a change in avant-garde car terms, but the Arteon adapts to the acceleration of cartage advanced with bland assurance, and gathers acceleration with about pre-emptive alacrity. An arm-long account of assurance and disciplinarian abetment systems delivers added accord of mind.
There’s absolutely actual little to criticise here: from abstraction to execution, Volkswagen seems to accept hit the affluence attach on the head. Arresting styling, effortless performance, acceptable autogenous space, acceptable affection and an air of exclusivity are all allotment of the package.
What again about that cast displayed so proudly on the grille? Will the actuality that the Arteon is a Volkswagen calculation adjoin it?
The accustomed acknowledgment is yes: admitting its ample strengths, the new flagship’s accreditation aren’t as acceptable as those of accustomed exceptional brands – yet.
However, the Arteon is the first, absolutely acceptable announcement of what Volkswagen is able of in the exceptional context. That may already be abundant to amplitude those VW loyalists admission from boilerplate to exceptional to stick with a cast they already adulation and trust.
In the bigger picture, however, the absolute appulse of the Arteon will be its aura aftereffect on the blow of the Volkswagen range. Added than alone axis heads, this aspirational four-door coupé is mapping an advancement aisle for the absolute Volkswagen artefact family. DM
Distinctive and desirable, affiliated to serene dynamics. A lot of car for the money.
Still has to prove its account as a accurate exceptional contender.
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