Picture the scene. You have circa 45k of your hard earned funds in your paw and you tell your spouse/brother/ best mate that you’re off to buy a car and you’ll bring it around later. You arrive home and call everyone out to laud you on the fruit of your endeavour. Very probably there will be questions, most of them on your choice, some of them on your sanity and some more on what you did with the rest of the dosh – Say Hi to the VW Arteon.
Now before you get into a tizz, we need to park all the prejudice that immediately prevents us bypassing the VW badge and seeing the quality and indeed quantity of product that’s affixed to Volkswagen’s largest family/executive, four-door, five-seater Grand Tourer.
The chances are that many will find it seriously difficult to put 45k towards this German marque, with no such quibble if it was the far side of four rings, a star on its bonnet or Bavarian blue and white insignia. And for me it is the unhealthy mixture of badge snobbery and ignorance that will prevent some from sampling this very substantial offering from VW, where they will discover one very talented road companion, as a car wholesomely worthy of a place in your driveway.
The purchasing paradox that sees no problem in placing the Golf as a premium acquisition, now finds difficulty in looking at the Arteon with the same spectacles. And while it is generally accepted that VW products are cultured, clothed and civilised above many of their peers, the opinion on Arteon during my test drive invariably magnetised to its price and the temerity of VW in stepping into the Executive Lounge, effectively outside its station in life. How dare it?
Having covered in excess of 1,500 kilometres during my week in the Arteon I parked it each evening, delighted after another long driving day. Without trying to be either angelic or frugal the fuel computer told me that over my week the Arteon averaged a real-world 5.4litres/100kms – 45mpg – a figure that others more restrained than I, could undoubtedly better.
The Arteon looks great, drives really well across motorways, through the stop/start traffic of most of our Irish cities and for a substantial car, while no GTi, provided enough to entertain when the road went curly. It is quiet, refined, well equipped and is spaciously enhanced. Carrying a myriad of safety, comfort and infotainment features, the Arteon will left me not wanting, the adaptive cruise control and lane departure working well together on the long stretches of my mundane motorway miles, the term Grand Tourismo worn easily.
Format: Four-door, five-seat, coupe hatchback
Drive: Front-wheel drive
Engine: 2.0 TDi
Transmission: 7-speed DSG
CO2 rating: 116g/km
Road Tax Band: A4
Annual Road Tax: €200
Boot Space: 563 litres
Boot Space with rear seat folded: 1557 litres
Price: Arteon from €39,650: Elegance from €42,295, R-Line from €44,650
And so as you know
- 4862mm long
- 1,871mm wide
- 1,450mm high
- 563 litre boot space
- 4,767mm long
- 1,832mm wide
- 1,476mm high
- 586 litres boot space
Some of the Competition
Mercedes-Benz CLS, BMW 4 Series Grand Coupe, Jaguar XE, Audi A5 Sportback
One look at the Arteon and the profile reminds you of a car that went before, the front end dominated by the grill, the headlights nigh on covert and the cars overall footprint bigger than what you initially thought it was. Once you realise it is not a CC or a conventional Passat, the walk around and window-peering through the pillarless doors tells you that this is unquestionably a Volkswagen, but not as you know it.
Typical VW. Everything it its place and a place for everything. Clear dials, tactile switchgear, the now ubiquitous centre console large screen and those lateral vents as seen in Passat, going from one side to the other, all combine to give a familiar and dependable air to the Arteon. I would have liked to see a newer persona in the Arteon, the said vents, while visually nice, would collect more dust than a Dyson.
The driving position is very good, the seats excellent over my 1,500 kilometres and overall, a very comfortable place to be. The facility to put the Sat Nav map up between the tachometer and speedometer, as seen in Audi, adds class and convenience. No one should complain about the Arteon’s room, or the fit and finish, and on a visit to the boot area, will find it could be declared an apartment in D4, such is the apace on offer.
On the Road
With so much mileage to do during my week, the Arteon worked out as a great companion - large grand tourers should be like that. Being a coupe-esque design, I expected vision to be somewhat restricted, but happily I was able to keep informed of my surroundings without developing whiplash.
Drivers will get a very decent drive out of the Arteon, its well capable of making tarmac disappear, all the while keeping itself composed. Being a big car it liked to be warned about changes in direction and horseshoe bends, its favourite tipple being good secondary roads, as distinct from tight mountain passes.
Over my week and without too much restraint on my part, the Arteon returned very acceptable fuel economy, the 150bhp, 2,0 litre TDi, an ideal cross country cruiser.
On any other car in its range the VW badge is lauded and held in high regard. In introducing Arteon into the executive segment, that badge may be seen as working against a car that promises plenty, offers much, delivers aplenty, all with a street style that is one of VW’s best ever, capturing glances easily. It is an audacious car and one that I could live with easily.
The Arteon will be compared to the players in this segment, their lineage established and defended with eloquent vigour. Volkswagen’s decision to create a large executive deserves more than immediate dismissal. As a new offering from a company with the heritage of providing cars with longevity and equity, the Arteon may take a while to find acceptance. Until then it may be a rare sight new and a sought after second-hand buy. The Arteon, now the flagship of VW, may find the seas a tad rough for a while.
Tony Toner - Motoring Correspondent for BeepBeep.ie