2018 Volkswagen Arteon Review
This is the Arteon, Volkswagen’s new boldly-styled four door fastback
Pros: Striking styling, space and practicality, refined drive
Cons: Rivals sharper to drive, expensive with options
This is the Arteon, Volkswagen’s new boldly-styled four door fastback that carries on from the firm’s successful CC range. The Arteon takes aim at the executive market and it blends standout styling with a luxurious cabin and Volkswagen’s latest technology to compete with cars such as the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. We spent a week with this high-specification R-Line Arteon to see what it is like to live with on Irish roads.
What is it like?
The Arteon is one of the most distinctive designs in Volkswagen’s recent portfolio. The Arteon’s low-reaching chrome front grille and front LED headlights appear as one flush design, while lengthy sculpted lines run along the bonnet and sides lend it lots of road presence. Our test car is a high specification R-Line, which features an upgraded R-Line bodystyling kit, chrome detailing and various other upgrades for added flair. It even has large optional 20-inch Rosario wheels and a panoramic sunroof, although the Chili Red paint scheme was a cause for controversy. It’s likely that the Arteon’s design will age well for many years to come.
As you might expect, the Arteon’s cabin is suitably premium and filled with Volkswagen's latest and greatest tech. The centre console is dominated by a glass-faced touch screen system which is very responsive to use, while the dashboard features sculpted air vents and a traditional analogue clock. Volkswagen’s Active Info display presents speed and other functions in vibrant digital fashion and is controlled via various buttons on the sports steering wheel. The driving position is comfortable with a large range of adjustment available and lots of shoulder and head room, while the minimalist design of the centre console creates a strong sense of space.
R-Line specification adds a suite of interior upgrades including ambient interior lighting, a sports steering wheel, chrome detailing and alcantara upholstery for a sportier finish. Space and practicality is strong, with enough room to accommodate four adults in comfort on long journeys, although the sloping roof design limits headroom for taller passengers in the rear seats somewhat. There is an enormous 563 litres of space in the boot which is easy to access thanks to the liftback design, although the boot door is heavy and requires muscle to lift.
The Arteon is available with a range of powerful TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines in Ireland. The TSI petrol range includes a 1.5-litre TSI (150bhp), 2.0-litre TSI (190bhp) and a range topping 2.0-litre TSI with 270bhp. The diesel range includes a 2.0-litre TDI in 150bhp or 190bhp variants. The Arteon is also available with front-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive, along with a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or a DSG automatic transmission. We drove the 2.0-litre TSI with 190bhp and a DSG gearbox, and it is responsive with the sprint from 0-100km/h taking under eight seconds. We averaged around 40 MPG during our time with the Arteon 2.0-litre TSI with DSG, while annual motor tax is rated at a lowly €280. At the time of writing, the Arteon isn't availble with any of Volkswagen's hybrid or electric powertrains.
Out on the road, the Arteon is comfortable, refined and well-suited to long motorway hauls. It is based on the same MQB platform as the latest Volkswagen Passat and various other Volkswagen Group models too. Cabin noise is minimal, and it absorbs bumps with aplomb, although the large 20-inch wheels on our test car are a little on the firm side. The Arteon is best-suited to comfort and long-distance cruising, though it isn’t as engaging to drive as the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. Most drivers won’t mind this fact however, as it serves up lots of comfort and confidence from behind the wheel.
Prices for the Arteon start from around €40k for the base 1.5-litre TSI petrol model. As standard it is well equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and rear lights, tinted rear windows, a leather steering wheel, driver’s seat electric lumbar adjustment, heated seats, an eight-inch touch screen system and a suite of safety aids such as a driver alert system and hill start assist. The mid-specification Elegance model adds alcantara cloth upholstery, upgraded 18-inch alloy wheels, tinted rear lights, scrolling indicators, voice control, Volkswagen's Active Info digital driver’s display and a reversing camera.
The range-topping R-Line Arteon adds 19-inch black alloy wheels, R-Line body styling and interior upgrades, Advanced high beam control and lots more, while our test car has a suite of optional upgrades to the tune of €3,987, including 20-inch wheels, Apative Chassis Control and Volkswagen’s Technology Upgrade Pack.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
The Volkswagen Arteon is big on style, space and standard specification, which are means it will prove succesful in the premium executive class. It is a clear winner in the styling stakes, with distinctive features to stand out on the road. It’s also very refined for long distance drives and a great all-rounder, with low running costs in diesel guise. That said, it isn’t as daring to drive as rivals such as the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, while high specification models come with a steep price tag. Although the Volkswagen Arteon lacks the prestige badge of an Audi or BMW equivelant, it is an enticing package and one to be shortlisted.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TSI 190HP R-Line
Prices from: €39,650
Price as tested: €49,170
Annual Road Tax: 280
Engine: 1984cc four-cylinder petrol
Top Speed: 240km/h
0-100km/h: 7.7 seconds
Transmission: DSG Automatic
Body style: Hatchback
Boot Space: 563 litres
Audi A5 Sportback
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe