SUCH is the sexy shape, flowing lines and low-slung purposefulness of the latest model. As well as, looking even better, it is actually much more useful thanks to the addition of an opening tailgate instead of a conventional boot, writes Jon Smith.
The shape was ready-made for a hatchback design and its introduction has nothing to spoil its rakish profile. And the new boot is just gigantic with space for 563 litres of luggage – that’s more than many estate cars.
Despite its practical nature, it’s one of those cars that look fast even when standing still.
Based on the Passat, VW’s own Mondeo, the Arteon started life as the CC and now competes with classy badges like the 4-Series BMW and Audi A5 Sportback, both also five-door coupes.
There’s the usual vast array of engine choice available through the communal VW Audi treasure chest. Here, we sample the 2.0 TSI which packs 187bhp and endows the generously proportioned five seater with a 147mph maximum and acceleration to 62mph in an acceptably swift sub-8 seconds.
So, is the Arteon a sports saloon or a family holdall with racy new clothes. Probably the latter because despite good handling characteristics and decent punch, it feels more VW than BMW. The steering is less communicative, the ride not quite as poised and the engine note marginally less crisp.
Yet it’s a great all-rounder with an excellent dual clutch automatic gearbox, bags of power and a driving ease that allows it eat up the miles effortlessly. And the cabin is refreshingly uncluttered with modern simplicity being the salient message.
In R-Line trim as driven here, the 20-inch alloys shod with low profile rubber do little to reduce the harshness of the ride. And over pot holes and the frequent pock marks that litter our roads, they tend to thump and crash around a bit.
Nothing wrong with the Arteon’s roadholding – plenty of grip and entirely predictable if lacking in driver engagement.
Passenger space is almost as generous as luggage room with ample space between front seat occupants and sufficient legroom in the back for folk to stretch out. Rear headroom is less plentiful due to the car’s coupe profile but no problem if you’re under six foot tall.
Rein in the punchy, easy-to-rev two litre engine and it will stretch the miles nicely – we regularly saw 40mpg. But allow yourself to be tempted by the available power and you’ll see the consumption rise to around the 30mpg mark.
The seven speed auto box is a beauty which takes the hassle out of town driving without detracting from the car’s sporty role. Steering wheel paddles add a bit if extra control and involvement.
Whether you regard it as a posh Passat or a poor man’s Audi, the Arteon has elbowed itself a worthwhile space in the model structure.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TSI R-Line
Mechanical: 2.0, 4 cyl, 187bhp petrol engine driven by front wheels with 7 speed automatic gearbox
Max speed: 147mph
Combined mpg: 35.2
Insurance group: 27
CO2 emissions: 178g/km
BiK rating: 37%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles