2018 Volkswagen Arteon Launch Review

2018 Volkswagen Arteon Road Test, Review

2018 volkswagen arteon

The Volkswagen Arteon is here to replace the Volkswagen 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 seems a bit odd, ignore it, and just use your eyes.

Volkswagen execs insist it is a new model, but if, like me, you loved the CC, Arteon will knock your socks off.

volkswagen arteon side profileIt starts with drop-dead gorgeous looks:

The coupe silhouette has movement from the front to the back.

Chrome bars across the grille integrate a complex, and very smart, headlight design. Smart high beams, integrated DTRLs and indicators, and gaping intakes, make the face look classy, and very expensive.

Around the back, a mini spoiler, and integrated reversing camera/VW emblem top off an LED lit hatchback-back. Don’t miss the 4motion badge, which is Volkswagen’s version of Quattro.

In between, a 6-window design makes for a cozy cabin. The graceful roof line makes getting into the back a chore, but a worthwhile one.

Optional 20” look like graphite blades stolen from a jet engine. Regardless of wheel choice, a full size spare can be found under the floor in the boot.

Arteon shares the scalable MQB platform with other VW Group models such as: Audi A3, TT and Q2, Volkswagen Tiguan, Golf  and Passat, as well as a brace of SEAT and Skoda cars

I did ask exactly what the platform consists of, and exactly how different sized cars can be used on it, but didn’t understand the answer!

On the Inside

Volkswagen Australia chief, Michael Bartsch, says the Arteon is the pinnacle of VW design.

Glen Reid, product manager for Arteon, spec’d his new hatch in one single R-line model. He hinted that other models may well appear in future, but for now, this is your lot.

Leather seats with an embroidered R-line insignia in the front, and all are heated. Front seats are adjusted electrically, of course.

The elegant dash continues the Volkswagen language of the past decade. It is simple, uncluttered, and well laid out with a Teutonic attention to detail.

Highlights include an analogue centre clock integrated into a line of vents.

It is underlined by some smart engine-turned aluminium trim.

Below is a column of controls starting with the touch-LCD infotainment interface. A tapering centre stack has controls for automated parking, drive mode selection, and vehicle settings.

volkswagen arteon interiorImportantly, 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.

Volkswagen started the day by collecting us from the airport in Hobart. A fleet of Arteons transported a gaggle of journalists limo-style. We sat in the capacious rear cabin, with even a 191cm man having oodles of leg room.

The overall feel is one of calm, considered, luxury. Watch out Audi!

The Tech

Every gizmo known to modern man has been shoehorned into Arteon.

Smart headlights with high beam assist allow the car to put oncoming drivers in a dimmed zone, while keeping the rest of the road well lit.

Rear blinkers sweep majestically across 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 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.

Lane control applies torque to the wheel, but as always, the driver can override, and is in control. Side traffic is also monitored.

Arteon will take action if another vehicle changes lanes unexpectdly. It will try to avoid contact by braking and/or changing lanes.

Should you become incapacitated, the Volkswagen 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 on 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 360° camera view which can be selected to different views, including a front view. The nose of the car has a wide angle camera when entering a busy intersection for example.

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, you petunias are safe.

There are 9 airbags 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.

The Drive

In a word: delicious. Arteon has a slightly de-tuned version of the Volkswagen 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 seven-speed DSG with sport mode and paddle shifters.

Drive modes allow a luxurious feel, that converts quickly to sporty 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.

If you like soft ride and light steering, but a brisk throttle for performance, this is the control for you.

The car is very much watched over by electronic nannies.

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. A claimed 6.3L/100k should get a theoretical road trip of just over 1,000km out of the 66 litre tank.

Even on the large 20”, the cabin was fairly quiet.

There are rear fog lights, but the front cluster has an all-weather function. It replaces traditional fog lighting by using the static turn lights in combination with smart LED headlights to illuminate the road with blinding the driver by causing a white-out.

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.

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 cameras can be used to make sure there is nothing around the car before you get out. That’s 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.

The Summary

The stunning looks, cosseting cabin, and nippy performance make the premium $65,490 price look ok. You can pay an additional $2,500 for the wheels and audio pack, and another $2,500 a sliding glass roof.

I’d leave the roof, but the wheels and sound are essential.

volkswagen arteon rear stylingVolkswagen value the customer experience. They even have a Customer Experience Director, Jason Bradshaw. His nebulous task is to ensure a flawless Volkswagen “experience”.

There is no manual option, but the seven-speed 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.

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.

The 2018 Volkswagen Arteon is priced from $65,490.

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