Volkswagen’s new flagship pulls out all the stops to impress
- Glamorous five-door coupe style
- Loads of space for people and luggage
- Powerful engines, DSG and 4Motion standard
- Generous standard equipment
- Cutting-edge safety equipment
- UK specification yet to be confirmed
- Likely to be expensive
- Can’t match premium rivals’ image
- Not an especially green choice
- Could be tricky to sell on
The VW Arteon is described by its maker as a five-door gran turismo, which in less fluffy terms means it’s essentially a more attractive – and pricier – five-door coupe alternative to the Passat.
But perhaps such plain dealing is uncharitable, for Volkswagen has put a great deal of effort into this car, combining a strikingly distinctive design that moves way beyond the safely conservative ethos of the Passat with impressively generous interior space and a strong emphasis on safety. I
ndeed a number of active safety systems make their Volkswagen debut on the Arteon, and it scores a deserved five-star rating in the Euro NCAP test.
It is, in other words, the company’s new flagship. But does that mean you should consider one over more premium rivals?
Volkswagen Arteon rivals
Following on from the four-door Volkswagen CC coupe – known as the Passat CC before its facelift – the Arteon sees everyman VW upping its premium game in an effort to challenge the likes of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and its in-house rival the Audi A5 Sportback.
Although they share a number of engineering details, including the underlying MQB platform architecture, the Audi and Volkswagen are not carbon copies, as the two VW Group products have different dimensions; the Audi is lower, while the Arteon is longer, wider and has a greater distance between its axles, making the cabin bigger.
Less highfalutin Arteon rivals include the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport – and any number of conventional mid-size saloons and fastbacks.
Volkswagen Arteon engines
Arteon buyers get a choice of just two engines in the UK at launch, one petrol and one diesel:
- 2.0-litre TDI twin-turbo diesel with 240hp
- 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrol producing 280hp
They both offer plenty of power, which explains why VW is also offering them with 4Motion four-wheel drive as standard. You also get a seven-speed DSG twin-clutch automatic transmission as part of the package.
Volkswagen Arteon trim levels
The Arteon is also available in just two UK trim levels: Elegance and R-Line. As their names suggest, one places an emphasis on luxury, the other offers a sportier ethos.
Although UK specification is yet to be finalised, both are likely to come generously equipped as standard, probably with a 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav, a digital instrument cluster and 18-inch alloy wheels available on both models.
Other – likely optional – equipment highlights include an advanced adaptive Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) system, opening panoramic glass sunroof, three-zone climate control, front seats with massaging function, heated steering wheel and a two-tone Nappa leather interior.
The Parkers Verdict
This is a stylish, spacious take on the rarefied five-door coupe market. The engines are powerful, standard equipment should be generous and the Arteon is both easy and comfortable to drive. It also offers more passenger room than its immediate rivals, with a high-tech-yet-user-friendly interior.
In other words, it’s a typically Volkswagen product – supremely competent in every department. The question is whether you, as a buyer, value this competency over the image and also the driving dynamics offered by more recognisably premium competition.