2018 VW Arteon Launch
This beautiful leggy 5 door execu-hatch replaces the VW CC, which was renamed from the Passat CC. The name is made up of the words “Art”, because the car is a work of art, and Eon, a supreme deity.
If the name does your head in, ignore it. Just use your eyes, and your heart.
VW execs insist it is a new model, but if, like me, you loved the CC, Arteon will make you swoon.
It starts with drop-dead gorgeous looks:
The coupe silhouette not only looks fast, and sexy, but there is something cutting edge about it.
Chrome bars across the grille integrate a complex, intelligent, headlight design. Smart high beams, integrated DTRLs and indicators, and gaping intakes, make the face look classy, and very expensive.
The new VW corporate look will be rolled out as new models come online.
Around the back, a mini spoiler, and integrated reversing camera/VW emblem top off an LED lit hatchback-back. The emblem is also the handle for the hatch. The camera only appears when the it is active. This keeps the lense schmutz free.
Don’t miss the 4motion badge, which is VW’s version of Quattro all-wheel-drive.
In between, a 6-window design makes for a cozy, low-slung cabin. The graceful roof line makes getting into the back a chore, but a worthwhile one.
The optional 20” have graphite blades stolen from a jet engine, and are my choice. Regardless of wheel choice, a full size spare can be found under the floor in the boot.
I did ask exactly what the MQB platform consists of, and exactly how different sized cars can be used on it, but didn’t understand the answer!
VW chief, Michael Bartsch, says the Arteon is the pinnacle of VW design. It is the future direction of the VW design language.
Glen Reid, Australian product manager for Arteon, spec’d his new hatch in a single R-line model. He hinted that other models may well appear in future, but for now, this is your lot.
Leather covers all seats, with an embroidered R-line insignia in the front. All are heated, with the front seats having electric adjustment, of course.
The elegant dash continues the Volkswagen language of the past decade. The simple, uncluttered look is well laid out with a Teutonic attention to detail.
The impeccable look has highlights including an analogue centre clock integrated into a line of vents.
It is underlined by some smart engine-turned aluminium trim with a slightly Art Deco look about it.
Below is a fluted column of controls, starting with the touch-LCD infotainment interface. A tapering centre stack has buttons for automated parking, drive mode selection, and vehicle settings.
Importantly, Apple Carplay/Android Auto are standard.
You can make a call, send a message, and play music, without having to lift a finger. Simply say “hey Siri” and she does it all for you, as long as you’re in cell range.
VW started the day by collecting us from the airport in Hobart.
A fleet of Arteons conveyed a gaggle of journalists in limo-style silence. We sat in the capacious rear cabin, and even a 191cm man having oodles of leg room.
The overall feel is one of calm, considered, luxury. Watch out Audi!
Every gizmo known to modern man has been lavished on Arteon.
Clever headlights, with high beam assist, allow the VW to put oncoming drivers in a dimmed zone, while keeping the rest of the road brightly lit.
Rear blinkers make a regal sweep across the rear end in the direction of the turn. All lighting is bright, power-saving, LED.
The real news is the passenger and driver protection, both active and passive.
When on the move, Arteon uses an advanced suite of radar and cameras to monitor itself, and other road users.
Active cruise control keeps you from getting too close to the car in front, and has a queue-assist function for heavy city traffic.
Active Lane control applies torque to the wheel, but as always, the driver can override. With most modern systems, the driver is always in control.
Side traffic is also monitored.
Arteon will take autonomous action if another vehicle changes lanes unexpectedly. It will try to avoid contact with other vehicles by braking and/or changing lanes.
Should you become incapacitated, the VW will dab the brakes to wake you up. If you don’t respond, it will change lanes, and come to a stop at the side of the road.
It also does this if there has been a collision and avoids a secondary event by making sure the car doesn’t roll off a cliff, or into other traffic.
We didn’t try the automated parking, but have used it in other VWs, and it works brilliantly. Although if you can’t park a car, perhaps you should reconsider your ability.
The virtual dash puts driver info either on a configurable 12” LCD where the dials would normally be, or in the HUD. A nifty glass panel deploys from the top of the binnacle to display speed, lane control, cruise control, and Satnav directions.
The HUD also shows various warnings.
Satnav can also be displayed as a full map on the centre stack LCD, or the driver’s 12” LCD, or both.
The centre LCD shows a selectable 360° camera view which can be switched to different views, including a front view.
The front grille has a wide angle camera, handy when entering a busy intersection. Poke the front forward slightly, and the screen displays side traffic at T intersections.
The same for the rear camera, which also has cross traffic alert, and will warn you if a P-plated ute is bearing down on you at Bunnings, as you back out of your spot. Rest assured, your petunias are safe as churches.
There is a plethora of airbags, 9 airbags in all, including side curtain, and knee units.
Finally, an active bonnet fires pyrotechnic charges to instantly raise itself in the event of collision with a pedestrian.
It increases the distance between the top of the engine, and the under side of the bonnet. Although the bonnet will be ruined, the pedestrian will be a little less so than if he had hit the engine block.
Studies have shown a vastly increased chance of survival when an external airbag is also used. The Arteon does not have this as yet.
In a word: sublime.
Arteon has a slightly detuned version of the Golf R driveline.
A BlueMotion 2.0l turbo petrol has a respectable 206kw and 350Nm. A claimed 5.6second 0-100 dash is quick, but it doesn’t feel brutal. Torque kicks in around 1800rom and continues through to 5,600rpm.
It is coupled to the 7speed DSG with sport mode and paddle shifters.
Spirited performance doesn’t have to mean devastating fuel bills.
Drive modes allow a luxurious feel, that converts quickly to firm-sportiness, at the flick of a switch. Along with the fixed modes, there is a variable suspension option operated by a slide control on the touch screen.
Glenn Reid says you can adjust from super soft, to “past firm”. Surely that just means, “soft to hard”.
If you like your ride soft, your steering light, and a brisk throttle for performance, this is the control for you. Your drive, your way.
The car is very much watched over by the gods of safety.
Although it makes for a better, safer experience, VW says it is no substitute for good driving.
Rough roads, twisty, sporty drives, and smooth highways were dispatched with equal aplomb. You waft along in a pampered cocoon, with discrete reserves available even in the most unassuming of drive modes.
A claimed 6.3L/100k should get a theoretical road trip of just over 1,000km out of the 66 litre tank. That means a careful driver might make a road trip from sydney to either Brisbane of Melbourne on a single tank.
That’s something you can’t currently do in your fancy schmancy electric car, no matter how much it costs.
Even on the large 20”, the cabin was quiet. More importantly, the jet-turbine-like wheels didn’t ruin the ride.
There are rear fog lights, but the front cluster has an all-weather function.
Who hasn’t been dazzled during daylight hours with some nong who has forgotten to switch off the fog lights?
Front fogs are replaced by a system using the static turn lights, in combination with smart LED headlights, to illuminate the road without blinding the driver by causing a white-out.
Bright lights will reflect off mist and fog obscuring anything in front in a snow-like glare.
On the move, Arteon is constantly looking out for you. The lane guidance cuts in and out as the road lines appear and disappear. You can rely on it only as long as the lines ae clearly marked. The steering wheel eerily moves in your hands.
When parking, low speed auto-braking should stop you from hitting other cars, bollards, garage doors, and walls.
I strongly suggest you don’t test it.
The 360° cameras can be used to make sure there is nothing around the car before you get out. A top-down view is handy in areas where someone might be lying in wait to cosh you over the head, and nick off with your wallet.
There is a kick-to-open function on the rear hatch, but I defy you to get it to work.
The sound, especially the optional upgraded Dynaudio system, is brilliant. The subwoofer transports the deep tones directly into your chest. It sounds high-end, because it IS high-end.
The stunning looks, cosseting cabin, and nippy performance make the premium $65,490 price look a bargain.
Only a few options are available. A few extra shekels will get you: turbine wheels and fancy Dynaudio sound for $2,500, with another $2,500 getting a sliding glass roof.
I’d leave the roof, but the wheels and sound are worth every penny.
Better still Glenn, stick it in, gratis, please!
VW value the customer experience. They even have a Customer Experience Director, Jason bradshaw. His nebulous task is to ensure a flawless Volkswagen “experience”.
I tried to ascertain exactly how that is done, but it seems to involve the waving of a magic wand.
There is no manual option, but the 7speed DSG operates far faster than all but the most skilled driver. And, in traffic, why bother with anything else.
Although I didn’t experience it here, ultra low-speed creeping can be a challenge. The clutches grab and release making a slightly jerky park in tight spaces. It is something you get used to.
I only have one question: would you seriously buy an Audi A5 fastback when the uber-sexy Arteon is in the showroom next door?
I think not.
Engine: 2.0L turbo petrol, 206kw/350Nm
Fuel: 98RON, 7.5/100k, 66L tank
Performance: 5.6seconds 0-100k
Options: glass sliding roof $2,500, 20” graphite wheels/Dynamic Audio, $2,500