By on March 22, 2018

Image: VW of America

Don’t cut yourself cleaning up that juice glass you just dropped.

Yes, it’s true, the company that enjoys carving out slightly sportier iterations of existing models that aren’t actually any faster than stock is at it again. Volkswagen, which brought you screamers like the R-Line Jetta, Tiguan, and Atlas, plans to work the same magic on the brand’s upcoming flagship.

The 2019 Arteon, appearing later this year with a single powerplant and front- or all-wheel-drive, will take on the role of “brand shaper,” says VW’s North American region CEO Hinrich Woebcken, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune from the automaker’s across-the-board product strategy. So, what does R-Line bring to the swoopy CC’s replacement?

Wheels. Big ones, man. Ticking the box next to the R-Line package nets buyers 19- or 20-inch aluminum wheels, a revised lower bumper with larger air intakes, a blacked-out spoiler, and R-Line signifiers everywhere else.

Inside the liftback sedan, leather adorns the R-Line’s wheel and shift knob, while paddle shifters appear on the steering column to help tame that eight-speed automatic. Meanwhile, stainless door sills remind you each time you step into the car that it isn’t just a regular Arteon. No, sir.

Image: VW of America

Like its stablemates, the mild-rodded Arteon doesn’t go in for any of that fancy go-fast stuff. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is the sole power source in this ride, and it’s good for 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Adaptive damping comes standard on all models, helping smooth out the road’s rough edges, and there’s a suite of driver assist features to keep insurance adjusters at bay.

The Arteon’s entry price is rumored to sit around $38,000, which, if true, places about a $3k gap between it and a Passat SEL Premium with all the options. We’ve had a couple of convos here at TTAC concerning VW’s likely source of Arteon buyers, and upselling at the dealer never fails to get a mention. Other buyers sight simply prefer the Arteon’s admittedly attractive outward appearance.

Still, the car’s positioning in the near-premium/entry level premium space, coupled with an unfamiliar nameplate and the fact that any car in 2018 is an increasingly tough sell, causes us to wonder about potential volume. While it doesn’t occupy the same space as the Arteon, sales of the Passat fell 50.3 percent, year over year, in the U.S. last month. Over the first two months of 2018, Passat sales declined 54.4 percent, despite a 5.7 percent uptick for the VW brand.

We’ll see the Arteon R-Line in the flesh at next week’s New York International Auto Show, with the Arteon appearing in showrooms this fall. R-Line trim is available at launch.

[Images: Volkswagen of America]

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28 Comments on “In a Shocking Turn, Volkswagen Bestows R-Line Trim on 2019 Arteon...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Where did they get the name “Arteon”, anyway? Was it spit out by a computer? I don’t like it. It reminds me of the made up name for a Silicon Valley startup.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    When I hear, “Wheels. Big ones” – what do I do? right – run away. Brand shaper – haha. Will they sell 10K of these?

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I rather like the name. Sure it means absolutely nothing. But it sounds modern. Really no worse than a lot of the vehicle names out there and nowhere near as lame as some, like Lacrosse, Malibu, HR-V, CH-R, etc, etc.

    Pretty car. I would probably at least check it out if I needed new vehicle in next few years.

  • avatar
    tallguy130

    VW please hear me: First, start naming your cars better. Good god it’s like you are trying to give them dumb or confusing names. I was at an auto show and overheard “that new suv looks nice but what’s a turg”. Second, please include go-fast stuff on the R line! If it doesn’t move the car faster ITS NOT A DIFFERENT TRIM. All auto makers can take note with that.

  • avatar
    duncanator

    At that price just get an Audi.

    • 0 avatar
      a5ehren

      A $38k Audi these days is a mid-spec A4, which gives up a lot of utility compared to this.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        What utility? For the real world use of looking cool while driving to and from work alone with the occasional girlfriend or golf bag thrown in they’re the same damn car.

        Nobody since the CR-V was invented is going to pay new car money to break their back buckling their kids in to knee height car seats.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      So, an attractive car at a price similar to what I paid for my used Audi A5 a decade ago, and with slightly more horsepower to boot.
      And it will be a less common sight on the road, too. Surely this will appeal to some buyers. I like it, though I have never bought a four door.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    According to the SSA, the oldest recorded birth of someone named Arteon was on Saturday, September 7, 1907. It’s estimated that between 1880 and 2016, less than five people named Arteon were born each year. There were nine babies named Edsel born in the U.S. in 2015.

  • avatar
    Rocket

    Steep price estimate. Sure the Stinger is a little smaller, but it’s a better value, and it’s right-wheel drive. Plus, the GT will be on a completely different performance level. For those not buying into Kia’s brand revamp, there’s always the Regal GS. Even the new V60 will be within reach of this. Poor VW still doesn’t get the U.S. market.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    A lot of smoke and noise, signifying nothing, in a sedan segment that others are bailing out of, and for what 3,000 units? Seriously, sell more Audi’s.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Agreed with the premise of the article. R-trim is a body kit intended to fool everyone, especially the buyer.

    VW gotta VW. No GTI wagon, no VR6 in this car, underpowered Tiguan. At least it appears they got the Atlas right. 1/4 is an improvement for them.

  • avatar
    gasser

    The Arteon’s entry price is $38,000?? Wow. I really don’t know if people seeking the spend that kind of $ will think of VW for a car. Also, I doubt that VW dealers can up sell the Jetta/Passat crowd into the Arteon. As to the Arteon replacing the CC, I would have thought that the VW dealers have about a year’s supply of unsold CCs on the lot. Autoweb shows me 307 new CCs available nationwide.

  • avatar
    Mojohand2

    As I write this, there are 9 Audi S4s for sale for between $28 to $35 thousand in the Washington DC area, 2015s to 2012s, with between 14,000 to 40,000 on the clock. Good luck and God bless, Volkswagen.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      Ahhh, but a factory bumper to bumper warranty is worth the huge markup when it comes to VW’s. I agree, that it is not a value proposition at this price.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    I sat in an Arteon at the auto show, and the interior looked as if the appropriate tool for cleaning it was a garden hose. 38 large, my arse.

  • avatar
    zipper69

    What brand’s models correspond to this at that price?

    Pretty slim segment in any case.

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