A Car! A Car! - Volkswagen's 2019 Arteon Is Not, in Fact, a Crossover or Some Such Thing
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.
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.
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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