What’s the German word for ‘stunning design?’
While old CC is still a looker, Arteon may be one of first cars Volkswagen’s built since the Karmann Ghia to be positively poster-worthy. A long, low and wide stance coupled with a sloping roofline and big turbine-style rims, both not unlike Tesla Model S, give this VW some serious curb appeal. Dare I say it, it’s easily as head-turning as Audi A5 Sportback with which it shares a platform, if not slightly better-looking from the front. Attention to detail in Arteon’s design is what makes it really special, with thoughtful touches like wide chrome grille slats extending into shape of LED running lights and hood creases and overhang giving this VW an intimidating but enticing grin.
The spirit of the Comfort Coupé lives on
I should quickly note changes coming to US-bound Arteon over this Swedish-spec car, 7-speed DSG automatic will be swapped for an 8-speed automatic in American Arteons and front-wheel drive will be standard. Other than differences in trim levels, some options and a touchscreen infotainment screen with actual volume and tuning knobs, what you see here is what you’ll get over there. And what you will get is still to be celebrated, as Arteon will come equipped as standard with LED headlights, adaptive damping suspension, basic smart safety technology and handsome 18-inch alloy wheels. Each Arteon will also pack ubiquitous 2.0 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder engine found in almost every Volkswagen Group product, this time with 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It is not nearly most exciting engine, to drive or to listen to, but ushers Arteon along to 60 mph in just over 5 seconds, plenty of pace for the average Joe or Jane. The real star is that adaptive suspension system, which gives Arteon a supple ride without completely isolating driver from feeling what’s going on with road below. It can be firmed up by selecting Sport mode, but unless you love a shakier experience, this sedan should be left in Comfort for optimal results. If you want a budget backroad bruiser with luxury looks and tech and a sensible price tag as this Arteon is unlikely to set your hair on fire when really pushed to the limit.
As competent inside as it is stirring to look at
While sheet metal is positively stirring, Arteon’s interior emphasizes function over form, with an emphasis on material quality. The dashboard-width vent design is reminiscent of recent Audis, but more like that of current European Passat that’s been around for years now. Still, everything you touch feels top dollar and if you are willing to shell out, technology doesn’t disappoint either. Apart from well-working electronic nannies like adaptive cruise control, high beam assist and an overhead view parking camera, star of the show is optional virtual gauge display, similar to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. It can display navigation map, vehicle information, your current media selection and makes it so you rarely have to avert your gaze from what’s directly in front of you. There is also plenty of rear leg and head-room for even above-average height adults despite its coupe-like shape and the trunk is relatively huge thanks to “fastback” design that turns what would normally be a trunk lid into an enormous rear hatch, capable of swallowing multiple large suitcases or 2 weeks’ worth of groceries.
A very strong effort, but who’s going to buy one?
All in all, Arteon is darn impressive. It looks great, has Audi-level tech and quality for a decent discount, and can do everything a family sedan can and more, thanks to its smart fastback design. It will get you where you need to go quickly and without drama thanks to excellent available 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and it may turn a few heads on way there too. But ask yourself, who is going to spend nearly $45’000 for a specced-out German executive 4 door that’s not from a luxury brand? Sure, Arteon will be sold at a base price of closer to $35’000, but base models are never the biggest sellers and if value was only consideration for this type of buyer, Kia would sell more K900s than Mercedes sells S-Classes. Instead, the K900 is one of the slowest-selling cars in America year after year.