By on February 8, 2018

Image: Tim Healey/TTAC

Forgive the headline writer’s apparent shock. He thought Volkswagen was all about SUVs now, yet before him stands a premium midsize fastback sedan from none other than that German utility vehicle giant. Well, “sedan” isn’t entirely accurate.

In the interest of giving passenger cars that extra little bit of added utility, automakers are suddenly pretending it’s the late ’80s again, grafting liftbacks onto the back of sedans from Audi to Buick to VW. The strange-sounding Arteon is no exception. Arriving for the 2019 model year, VW’s Arteon dons a rear liftback as it accepts the role of the brand’s new flagship, replacing the departed CC.

With SUVs and crossovers taking over the world, it’s always interesting to see a new car model appear.

Image: VW

The Arteon may be the CC’s replacement, but it certainly doesn’t share much with the former midsizer. Riding atop VW’s modular MQB platform, the Arteon stretches longer fore-and-aft and takes up more space side-to-side. Its wheelbase measures some 5.2 inches longer than the outgoing model, with shorter overhangs designed with visual athleticism in mind.

Expect a roomier backseat, at the very least.

Unlike the melted cough drop shape of the CC, the Arteon contrasts its continuous, coupe-like roofline (there’s a perennially overused term) with a contemporary body, a pronounced beltline, muscular rear haunches, and a wide, deep grille. Wheel diameter starts at 18 inches in base trim, moving up to 19-inchers on high-zoot models. While not something many talk about, the mere mention of frameless windows gets this author’s heart pounding, and the Arteon promises four of ’em.

There’s only one powertrain listed — a 268 horsepower 2.0-liter TSI four-cylinder mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Torque stands at 258 lb-ft. Unlike many of this car’s premium German rivals, the turbo engine drives the front wheels, though 4Motion all-wheel drive can be added for extra coin.

Calling it “Volkswagen’s brand shaper,” Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of VW’s North American region, says the Arteon is “bolder and faster” than the car it replaces.

“Arteon has the style and performance of a luxury Gran Turismo for about the price of a fully loaded midsize sedan,” he said, hinting that the car’s newness and value might poach sales from rival automakers in the entry-level premium market. Without an MSRP to go on, it’s hard to gauge the car’s value. Still, the Arteon does feature an impressive list of available content, implying the automaker plans to wow buyers with the car’s entry price, then rake it in from higher-margin, higher-content examples.

Standard kit includes a DCC adaptive damping system to ensure a smooth ride with fewer upsets, a start/stop system for added economy, plus forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking (AEB). Blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, and post-collision braking round out the standard driver-assist feature. Of course, buyers can also spring for such niceties as adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, parking assist, and a host of other high-tech goodies.

Image: VW

Inside the cabin, buyers can upgrade their leatherette seating surfaces to real Nappa hide, add ventilation to their backsides, and order a personal masseuse for the driver. An 8-inch touchscreen promises easy integration for any phone user.

Those looking to boost the car’s sticker have the option of adding the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit feature, which places functions like navigation directly in front of the driver, should he or she desire it. Besides that reconfigurable screen, the automaker also offers available Volkswagen Car-Net connected vehicle services. That’s for drivers (or passengers) who really like planning their life through their phone.

Volkswagen breaks down the Arteon line into SE, SEL, and SEL Premium trims. The first Arteons should start rolling into U.S. dealers in the third quarter of 2018.

[Images: Tim Healey/TTAC, Volkswagen]

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56 Comments on “A Car! A Car! – Volkswagen’s 2019 Arteon Is Not, in Fact, a Crossover or Some Such Thing...”

  • avatar

    I’d pick this, I think, over the Regal Sportback, and probably even over the Stinger Premium. Maybe even over the Stinger GT.

    What I really want to know, VW, is while you’re introducing future models, where is the news about when the 2018 Golf R actually going to go on sale in the US?

  • avatar

    Buick called. It wants the LaCrosse back.

    (Check that rear three-quarters view.)

  • avatar

    Umm, looks very Buick-y, but in a good way. Frameless windows? if it’s got a B-pillar, what’s the point?

  • avatar

    I like it. Its classy and handsome, not overwrought or excessively styled.

    I wonder if a manual option will appear at some point, as it was available on the CC. Speaking of the CC, I like that it has a real name this time, even if, in typical VW fashion, its weird and doesn’t roll off the tongue easy.

  • avatar

    With all those new electronic gizmos, expect a plethora of gremlins (post-warranty, of course).

  • avatar

    For some reason it makes me think of Artie Bucco.

    Nice looking car, sort of a cross between a CC and a Fusion.

  • avatar

    I am generally not a fan of Volkswagen’s recent designs, but this looks pretty nice. Thats a lot of horizontal lines on the front, but I could live with that. The fender ports are bit cheesy overkill though IMO.

    The problem with this car, and a lot of VW’s of recent vintage, will probably be pricing as they will probably kill the launch with a $10k premium over similarly positioned and equipped models from other makes.

  • avatar

    All cars and trucks look very angry, but this is a handsome anger. The rear end reminds me of MB though. I look forward to the day when cars look happy again.

  • avatar

    This vehicle is gorgeous and we should thank VW for the opportunity to buy it. The classy, understated Teutonic elegance of this vehicle is so indisputable, anyone who finds its design disagreeable should preface their statement as being strictly opinion…or have their eyes checked. Mein Gott im Himmel.

    • 0 avatar

      What? Styling is subjective? Damn, hombre.

    • 0 avatar

      Sometimes its difficult to see a beautiful design when your eyes have been burned out by so many god awful VW designs of the recent past. So….there’s that. But if your eyesight is intact, from the lack of German engineering gracing your local streets, hopefully you can still see that this is an generally attractive vehicle.

      Wir tanzen im Schwarzwald in unseren Lederhosen

    • 0 avatar

      “and we should thank VW for the opportunity to buy it.”

      Easy there, killer. Let’s not get carried away.

    • 0 avatar

      Take it down a notch if you want to be taken seriously.

      My issue isn’t with the styling, but rather with the badge and the evil company behind it. Mechanically, it’s competent enough for a VW, but the Stinger GT and Regal GS will have their way with it.

  • avatar

    >>> Unlike many of this car’s premium German rivals <<<

    Maybe it should be unlike its rivals by offering a stick-shift.

    Plus, how is this different than an Audi? Is there going to be an Audi equivalent (based on same platform, for example)?

  • avatar

    Maybe there is a future for us car buyers who want a useable trunk.

  • avatar

    Nice looking car – maybe the grille is a trifle oversized but the rest is handsome and balanced.

  • avatar

    It’s a toss-up between this or the Stinger GT for me. Both cars have the aggressive look, but the Arteon seems a tad more elegant. Of course, this is all subjective. I think I’d prefer the power and RWD bias of the Stinger GT, but I wouldn’t mind an AWD Arteon. It would probably come down to price between the two and I’m willing to bet both cars will be heavily discounted by end of year. Heck, if you can wait 2 years, the used deals are even sweeter. The depreciation on ‘luxury’ VW’s and Kia’s are drastic, at least from looking at prices of a used CC, Cadenza, and K900.

  • avatar

    Good looking car, though not as elegant a design as my 2016 CC. It’s funny, I’ve never had so many people compliment my ride and ask me what car is that as the CC, and that was at the end of it’s model run. VW did itself no favours with the anonymous name and non-existent marketing.

    I’ll take a look at it when it arrives in the showroom, wish there was an electric option though.

  • avatar

    I think it looks nice, but I’m pretty sure VW’s dealer body is begging for more volume, and a CC replacement ain’t it.

    Also, in a world where Toyota is putting Adaptive Cruise, Lane Following, etc., in a base bare-bones Corolla, it’s not exactly something to boast about in your near-luxury car; it should be expected. (Here’s looking at you Buick TourX, who only makes them available as part of an option package in the top-level trim.)

  • avatar

    I’ve seen it in person. It looks surprisingly big… too big. Doesn’t wear its size as well as an A7. I advise everyone to reserve judgment till they see it.

  • avatar

    Is TTAC not covering the Chicago Auto Show this year? The Arteon, 500 Turbo, Transit Connect etc… all debuted in Chicago, yet none of the articles says so.

  • avatar

    I like liftbacks with a 4 door bodystyle…IMHO, thats the only way to salvage a sedan into something acceptable.

    Ditto on hating the ‘coupe-like roof’ comments. If it has 4 front hinged doors with 4 blatant undisguised door handles it is NOT a coupe, anymore than Bruce Jenners ‘woman like accessories’ make him a lady.

  • avatar

    Its nice looking. Methinks the demise of the sedan may be a bit overwrought.

    Yeah I know. Liftback….

  • avatar

    If you’re fixing to drop $40+k on pimped Arteon, it would not be a bad idea to check out a CPO A7

  • avatar

    It will have to be significantly cheaper than comparably equipped Audi A5 hatchback, which is nicer looking inside and out. Glad hatchbacks are making a comeback.

  • avatar

    Color me unimpressed. Front grille from Camry/Avalon, front fenders from Taurus. Rear from Lacrosse.

    Does anybody know if this is going to be built in Germany? Or will this come from Tennessee?

    No chance this will match $23K entry level of Accord/Camry.
    No sale.

    And comparisons to Stinger are hilarious. This is quite different class of car.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    At $34k compare it to a Maxima. Sure it’s a Turbo four where the Maxima is V6 powered but you can get AWD in the VW. Plus the VW seems less claustrophobic inside.

  • avatar

    Huh – a VW that I actually like the design of. What next?

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    I hope that dashboard looks better in person than it does in the photo. The full-width vent grille theme died with the previous-generation Malibu, and fitment around the clock looks pretty poor…

  • avatar

    It’s an ugly Passat.

    I can safely say the front “bumper” here wouldn’t be very good at bumping.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    If they could put a Golf R drivetrain in I’d be interested,the S3 is just too small and some aren’t interested in hatchbacks.Price it less than an s4 and they won’t cannibalize Audi.

  • avatar

    Rear three quarter is so generic these days that “looks like” becomes superfluous.
    Like the aggressive grille and hooded Dodge style lights but the very visible black surround of the windscreen jars a little.

  • avatar

    This looks nice, and would actually suit me pretty well. I wonder what it will cost?

  • avatar

    Not bad looking.. does the basking shark mouth better than others.

    A kind of Interceptor/411 redux.Volkswagen doesn’t always catch the market timing with hatch or sedan.

  • avatar

    I like it!

    If VW wants more sales volume, maybe they need to start bringing the Amarok over though.

  • avatar

    I saw the car last year in Europe, it looks better in person than in pictures. Unfortunately I don’t think the engine matches the looks, 6 cylinder would be a welcome addition and it should retain the DSG instead of going with the automatic.

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