Volkswagen Aims Upmarket With Flagship Arteon
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Volkswagen is on a major offensive, ably demonstrated by the raft of new models coming out of the Wolfsburg factory.
A new Polo and Up! GTi should keep small car enthusiasts happy and constant updates keep the best-selling Golf at the top of its game. In tune with the times, the German company has also launched its new T-Roc and Tiguan Allspace SUVs.
However, it is always helpful to have a flagship model, something classy and aspirational.
Charged with that task is the new Volkswagen Arteon, a prime example of which has recently graced my driveway.
There are traces of the Passat saloon in its looks, but its wide stance and low roofline give the Arteon an elegant, coupe-like profile. It’s a good looking car, in my humble opinion.
The concept works for sister company Audi, ably demonstrated by its A5 and A7 Sportback models.
A quick look at prices shows that the Arteon and A5 Sportback can both be had from a little over £31,000. Whether the allure of the four rings badge proves too much, only time will tell.
A comprehensive range of petrol and diesel engines are available and in tune with the mood of the day, I chose to test the 190PS 2.0-litre petrol engine, ably assisted by the VW Group’s seven-speed DSG self-shifting gearbox.
It’s a combination that works well, the refined turbo-charged engine delivering plenty of power across the rev range. Gear changes are almost imperceptible and there are discreet steering wheel mounted paddles if you wish to take full control.
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Those aiming to cover a large annual mileage will be better off with a diesel engine. The 150PS 2.0-litre motor is listed at 62.8mpg for the combined cycle and should better 50mpg without too much trouble.
Many motorway hours spent behind the wheel allowed me to appreciate the hushed and refined cabin. Wind and road noise are conspicuous by their absence and the engine only makes its presence felt if you venture to the very top of its rev range, something that is seldom required.
It should be noted that the test car had the optional ‘Acoustic Pack’ fitted (£535). This comprises of sound insulating safety glass in the front side windows and additional interior noise suppression. Probably worth ticking that box.
Aiding long distant travel is the adaptive cruise control, a particular favourite of mine. It takes the strain out of driving on a congested motorway by maintaining a safe distance from the car in front. This latest version incorporates road recognition, whereby it uses the satellite navigation to predict bends, roundabouts etc.
On a couple of occasions on an empty stretch of the M6 it warned me of bends ahead and applied the brakes. A technical glitch I suspect...
Another worthwhile option fitted was the Dynamic Chassis Control (£820). Offering a choice of Eco, Normal, Comfort and Sport settings, it added much to the driving experience and passenger comfort. I opted for comfort mode most of the time, only selecting sport when a little fast cross country motoring was the order of the day.
However, the Arteon is no sports car, no does it pretend to be. Its role is to insulate its occupants from the outside world and it does so very well.
Equipment levels on all models are good, so expect to find leather upholstery, VW’s Active Information Display, three-zone climate-controlled air conditioning and LED headlights regardless of the spend.
Those looking to give their Arteon a sportier look can specify R-Line trim (£785), though I suspect the wider 19” alloy wheels as part of the package may prove to be a mixed blessing.
The Arteon is a big car with a long wheelbase. As such there is plenty of leg room in the back for even the tallest of adults. Headroom is not quite so generous – blame the sloping roofline.
The generous 563-litre boot is accessed by a large tailgate. Some electric assistance might be welcome here as it is rather heavy.
The rear seats fold away if required leaving a capacious 1,557-litre space.
Volkswagen has quite modest sales forecasts for the Arteon and should have no trouble achieving or exceeding them. The smart range-topper will especially suit the high mileage business driver who wants to cut a dash and arrive at journey’s end refreshed and ready for work.
My high mileage week with the Arteon passed quickly and with many motorway miles to cover this week, I wish it still graced my driveway.
Volkswagen Arteon Elegance
190PS 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine
Seven-speed DSG gearbox
Price £33,505 (£39,660 with options)
BIK tax 26% (20% tax band)
0-62mph in 7.7 seconds
Top speed 149mph
Combined economy 47.1mpg
Emissions 135g/km CO2
Area/rear view camera (£765)
Acoustic Pack (£535)
Electric, heated front seats (£1,045)
Heated rear seats (£335)
Dynamic Chassis Control (£820)
Keyless entry (£455)
Tyre pressure monitoring (£135)
Park Assist (£645)
Emergency Assist (£525)
Atlantic Blue paintwork (£595)
Volkswagen Aims Upmarket With Flagship Arteon, 21st February 2018, 8:58 AM