The 2018 Volkswagen Arteon Is A Gorgeous Grand Tourer But I’m Not Sure Who It’s For

Volkswagen really needs to endorse what it wants to be when it grows up. Or gets out of a financial and regulatory jail sentence, we guess. And a new 2018 Volkswagen Arteon sedan has somehow emerged as a print child for this problem.

Before a diesel intrigue liaison unfolded, VW was chasing increase during all costs, cheaping out on once-proud stalwarts like a Passat and Jetta, that used to be aspirational economy cars that we didn’t mind spending a bit some-more to have given we got to gloat about “German engineering.” Now they’re both let swift specials, and have mislaid many of that all-important impression that gave a code a foothold in this republic in a initial place.

But before that, VW was spending crazy income on smashing nonsense projects like a Phaeton W12 and Touareg V10 TDI, both of that are hilariously dangerous and forever lovable, if not usually given of that “why a ruin would anyone ever build this? we adore it” factor. You could call it character, maybe, and while VW’s stream offerings make sense, they miss a lot of that.


This new temperament flip-flopping is accurately given we consider a Arteon is a ideal essence of Volkswagen in 2018: a great-looking high-quality knockoff Audi fastback sedan for a universe that’s trade all a sedans in for crossovers. Oh, and it’s not quite as costly as a oppulance automobile yet is still flattering damn pricey, generally for a Volkswagen.

China’s gonna adore it though. And a we reckon a few of we will too.

(Full Disclosure: we wanted to get behind into a automobile broadcasting diversion so badly after relocating to Sweden for grad propagandize that we asked Volkswagen to loan me an Arteon for a weekend highway trip. They did, and this examination came out of it.)

What Is It, And Why Does China Want It?

The Arteon is a deputy for a effusive yet somehow still on sale CC, a automobile that was good to demeanour at, decent to drive, and superbly ambitious, yet never unequivocally got a possibility to shine. Believe it or not, a CC indeed outsold a Passat in a U.S. for a integrate of years behind in 2010 and 2011, as a last-generation Passat was in a twilight years. we consider I’m intuiting a trend here.

Regardless, a Arteon does several things differently from a CC. First of all, it’s got a name. Yes, we know CC stood for “Comfort Coupé,” yet that name sucks even worse than reminding all of a core manager owners on a daily basement that they forgot to duplicate their trainer on an critical email. But given “Arteon?” Sounds like a Pokémon that was cut from a final game, if we ask me. And who asked for a CC deputy anyway?


I have a answer: it’s China. See, China loves large sedans with prolonged wheelbases, lots of legroom, and subtle-but-aggressive looks. They also adore German cars, yet notwithstanding how it might seem, not everyone in China can means an Audi during a moment. Enter a Arteon.

It rides on Volkswagen’s modular architecture, with a closest involuntary ties to that of a new Jetta, yet is longer, wider, some-more spacious, and heavier (but some-more on that later) than a aged CC. It also looks approach better, and has improved tech, fit-and-finish, and powertrain options.


Or option, we should say, as a U.S. chronicle usually gets front- or all-wheel-drive, an eight-speed involuntary transmission, and a entire 2.0-liter TSI turbo four-cylinder, this time creation a medium 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

It Looks Pretty Good

You’re damn right it does. The Arteon immediately tender me in cinema when it debuted, both as a judgment a few years ago and in prolongation form some-more recently.



In person, it’s even some-more imposing, nonetheless some of a philharmonic is mislaid when finished in a tasteless tone like “Mangan Grey Metallic,” that will substantially finish adult being one of a many renouned hues.

Up tighten is where a visible sum unequivocally shine, as a Arteon’s pointed touches are what make it such a flattering altogether package. The tilted behind roofline and discretionary turbine-style wheels are immediately suggestive of a Tesla Model S, a automobile we find a lot some-more tedious to demeanour during than a ubiquitous open gives it credit for, yet a large one nonetheless.

The Arteon takes these highlights a step further, though, with a large front beak to remind us that a ICE is still alive and good (though rather small), and overwhelming skinny chrome slats that extend ideally into a pointy LED headlights.

Sharp creases accoutre a hood and physique panels, and a behind tapers off somewhat ceiling to give it a forward-leaning stance. The whole automobile is much, much wider than you’d initial think, generally on a parsimonious roads of Europe, and truly pulls off a “four-door coupe” thing improved than many others that have tried. I’d even put it adult opposite a Audi A5 Sportback in a head-turning department.

Inside And Tech

Inside, you’ll find a lot of customary VW fare, yet it’s some-more polished overall, and that’s alright with me. The dashboard echoes that of a European marketplace Passat we don’t get and new Audis, with a full-width opening pattern that looks grand yet is busted a bit by a cheap-ass time bursting a core vents. A large touchscreen that thankfully isn’t bolted on like an iPad adorns a core stack, and a same aged VW meridian control knobs and buttons that have been around for a while now are right below, that is a informed if old-fashioned touch.

The R-Line indication also uses a same steering circle from a GTI and Golf R, that is good given it’s ideally thick and a pleasure to use in energetic driving, that we unfortunately won’t be doing too many of, yet I’ll get to that. The seats are good too, providing copiousness of support and sporting a mistake CO demeanour on a top leather panels that’s kind of foolish yet also kind of cool, OK?



In back, a Arteon is quite impressive, as a CC was always a bit compromised for behind chair passengers. There’s copiousness of headroom for even above-average tallness adults, and legroom is massive, roughly on standard with some full-size oppulance sedans. This will make a Chinese happy, indeed.

I’d also like to give Volkswagen’s designers a shout-out for creation a Arteon a genuine liftback sedan, and not some half-assed appliance for no reason. The box packs about as many things as a Passat yet is forever easier to entrance interjection to a behind window removing a ruin out of your way. The seats overlay comparatively flat, too, so we can fit longer equipment with many larger palliate and reduction grunting and swearing.

The genuine celebration square of this interior is a Digital Cockpit sign cluster, substantially (sorry, we had to) matching to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit system, and a finish fun to use and demeanour at. It can uncover a full-resolution GPS map between a gauges, media information, automobile specs like tire vigour and other vitals, and possibly or not all a reserve nannies are on or off, all while gripping your eyes towards a highway and distractions to a minimum.

Speaking of nannies, they are a-plenty in a top-of-the-line Arteon, yet luckily, they can simply be incited off with a aforementioned Digital Cockpit interface and are comparatively unimportant for complicated active reserve systems. There’s blind mark monitoring, line keep assist, adaptive journey control, and all that good stuff, that we substantially shouldn’t spend income on if we unequivocally don’t wish to, yet that also make prolonged highway drives a ruin of a lot some-more relaxing. A massage-enabled driver’s chair helps, too.

On a Road

Unfortunately, many of a Arteon’s best qualities have been overwhelmed on already, yet it can still reason a possess when we indeed get to a business of going places.

The informed 2.0T engine does a pursuit like you’d design it to: with decent energy and pace, yet fundamentally no impression whatsoever. we was astounded to find that VW estimated a Arteon’s 0-60 time during about 5.5 seconds with 4Motion all-wheel-drive equipped, yet carrying tested it with my possess ass, we can endorse that’s not distant off.



Fuel economy isn’t bad either, as we averaged tighten to 30 mpg (or about 8 l/km) over a march of my small highway trip, and that was with an all-wheel-drive model. Those pointy looks are good for aerodynamics too, thankfully.

While a U.S. is saddled with an 8-speed automobile in all Arteons, Europe gets a 7-speed dual-clutch DSG, that is still a good gearbox as distant as automatics go. Shifts are frail and clean, and all of a aged quibbles that used to disease this box are all yet totally gone, including iffy programming and an inability to yield effectively during unequivocally low speeds.

Where a Arteon let me down was in a doing department. If you’re in a marketplace for possibly this or a Golf R (for what will expected be a identical price), only get a Golf. You’ll appreciate me later.

I mean, a doing is fine, yet that’s about it. There’s not many coercion on turn-in, and while a weight and feedback are dialed adult when selecting Sport mode, it’s still not scarcely as good to toss around as many other complicated VWs, even a Passat. Your best gamble is to use a Individual expostulate mode settings to name Sport for a steering and Comfort for a adaptive cessation system, and let a springs do their thang while we relax and listen to Seal or something. we don’t know man, it’s your life.



I do also feel thankful to scream out a all-wheel-drive system, as it kept me from spinning into a tree several times notwithstanding branch a traction control off and unequivocally giving it a beans. As it turns out, Sweden doesn’t plow many of their roads down to a pavement. It’s fundamentally only a packaged covering of sleet and a authorised requirement to fit sleet tires to your automobile that keeps we from exiting a road. The Arteon feels planted on a highway too, yet I’m gonna go forward and marker that adult to a one time we went to convene propagandize adult in New Hampshire.

Who’s It For?

Ah, yes. We’ve finally come to a pivotal question. Who is a Arteon for, anyways? Outside of China, of course. We’ve already figured that out.


Aside from them, a Arteon is ideal for a very, unequivocally specific American buyer: one who wants a German automobile yet a new German car, not a approved pre-owned German oppulance car, and still likes to expostulate a sedan for a backseat accessibility and reduce float height. Oh, and he or she is looking for something a small sportier. Well, not actually sportier, yet sportier-looking.

And he or she owned a Passat behind in a ’80s or ’90s and unequivocally desired it and doesn’t know given he or she hasn’t bought any Volkswagens given afterwards yet wouldn’t mind shopping one again, he or she guesses.



And therein lies a problem. Well, one of a problems. Volkswagen claims a Arteon will be a lot cheaper when it reaches a States, yet a indication we tested—a Swedish-market GTR indication with all-wheel-drive and fundamentally all a options—came out to over $60,000 when we cause in stream sell rates.

Granted, we can’t review cars with sell rate prices, and we don’t design any Arteon sole in a U.S. to design that number, yet a Arteon is costly over here. And it’s got many other oppulance options good within that cost range.

Not only that, yet a Kia Stinger GT that Patrick only drove is a one you’ll wish as an enthusiast, as it packs many of a same tech, good looks, and fastback application for a poignant discount. Not to discuss a choice for rear-wheel-drive and a twin-turbo V6.

Or only buy a Golf R like we all know we were deliberation anyways.


If we can understanding with comfort over corner-carving competence, don’t wish a damn thing to do with badge snobbery, and are in a marketplace for a good new automobile in a $35-40,000 range, a Arteon is a illusory choice. And we do meant truly fantastic.



Objectively speaking, it’s one of a best all-around cars for sale right now and creates a constrained box that sedans still have a small gas left in a tank, joke not intended.

I wish a voluptuous four-door fastback is what gets some-more people into different German cars and out of soulless crossovers, yet we can’t assistance yet consider that this is a wrong automobile for Volkswagen right now. Its income would be many improved spent bringing something like a T-Roc to America (which it sadly substantially won’t do), or bringing behind a Passat automobile in Alltrack form to locate a new jacked-up automobile call that’s apparently unconditional a nation. There’s wish that some of a fun will lapse with a brand’s designed all-electric line of vehicles, generally given a microbus is creation a devout return, and who knows, we could even see an electric Beetle to reinstate a one they recently canned.

But until then, it seems VW still has a small bit of soul-searching to do.

Brian León has had automobile bylines during a New York Daily News, Gear Patrol and other places. He now resides in Sweden.

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