Volkswagen Arteon Continues Slow Track to U.S.; EPA Numbers Released
Revealed what seems like ages ago, Volkswagen’s upcoming flagship car will arrive in the U.S. as a 2019 model — halfway through 2019. Bearing the inelegant name Arteon, the new range-topper had its boat trip delayed by a new European test cycle that impacted the certification and release of numerous German vehicles.
It could be argued that, in the 13 months since the Arteon’s big reveal, consumer interest in midsize sedans — even ones with liftbacks — has eroded even further. No matter. VW’s going to give its CC replacement a shot. A sign of the Arteon’s impending arrival comes from just-released EPA fuel economy figures that won’t blow anyone’s minds.
Borrowing the MQB platform used by its Atlas and Compass stablemates, the Arteon dons a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic. Drive wheels are either the front set, or all four.
According to EPA figures spotted by the eagle-eyed Bozi Tatarevic, a front-drive Arteon returns 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined. Add all-wheel drive, and those figures fall to 20 mpg city, 27 highway, and 23 combined.
In AWD guise, the Arteon matches the city economy of the hulking (and rare) FWD Atlas, and beats its highway and combined mileage by just 1 mpg.
While the Arteon’s persona isn’t well fleshed out — is it a sports sedan? Luxury sedan? Value premium midsizer? All of the above? — the lack of an available engine upgrade or hybrid variant doesn’t exactly make the model a “big tent” for buyers. Then again, the same can be said of other range-topping models.
In terms of fuel economy, the Arteon’s solidly lacklustre figures (which might matter not a whit to buyers), pales in comparison to other German sedans. Take the BMW 530i, for example. That four-cylinder, rear-drive sedan beats the front-drive Arteon by 2 mpg in combined driving and 3 mpg on the highway. In 540i xDrive guise, the midsize, six-cylinder Bimmer (320 hp, 330 lb-ft) tops the AWD VW by 1 mpg combined and 2 mpg highway.
The same can be said of the Mercedes-Benz E300 4Matic, a four-cylinder midsize sedan with a nine-speed automatic. Compared to the AWD Arteon, a 3.0-liter Audi A6 Quattro delivers an extra 2 miles of combined and highway driving for each gallon it consumes.
Suffice it to say the Arteon’s no gas sipper. And, if that mattered to American consumers, GM’s Lordstown plant would be a beehive of activity today. The Arteon will have to impress in other areas — refinement, value, style — in order to capture the U.S. consumer.
Expect to see pricing closer to the model’s summertime release.
[Images: Tim Healey/TTAC, Volkswagen]
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- Dukeisduke I still think the name Bzzzzzzzzzzt! would have been better.
- Dukeisduke I subscribed to both Road & Track and Car and Driver for over 25 years, but it's been close to 20 years since I dropped both. I tried their digital versions with their reader software (can't remember the name now), but it wasn't the same. I let it lapse after a year.From what I've seen of R&T's print version, it's turned into more of a lifestyle thing like The Robb Report. I haven't seen an issue of C/D in a while.I enjoyed both magazines a lot when I was subscribing. R&T for the road tests (especially the April Fools road tests), used car reviews, historical articles, and columns like Peter Egan's Side Glances and Dennis Simanitis's Technical Correspondence. And C/D for the road tests and pithy commentary, and columns like Gordon Baxter's, and Jean Shepherd's (that goes way back to the early '70s).
- Steve Biro It takes very clever or amusing content for me to sit through a video vehicle review. And most do not include that.Tim, you wrote :"Niche titles aren't dying because of a lack of interest from enthusiasts, but because of broader changes in the economics of media, at least in this author's opinion."You're right about the broader changes in economics. But the truth is that there IS a lack of interest from enthusiasts. Part of it is demographics. Young people coming up are generally not car and truck fans. That doesn't mean there are no young enthusiasts but the numbers are much smaller. And even those who consider themselves enthusiasts seem to have mixed feelings. Just take a look at Jalopnik.And then we come to the real problem: The vast majority of new vehicles coming out today are not interesting to enthusiasts, are not fun to drive and/or are just not affordable.You can argue that EVs are technically interesting and should create enthusiasm. But the truth is they are not fun to drive, don't work well enough yet for most people and are very expensive.EVs on the race track? Have you ever been to a Formula E race? Please.And even if we set EVs aside, the electronic nannies that are being forced on us pretty much preclude a satisfying driving experience in any brand-new vehicle, regardless of propulsion system. Sure, many consumers who view cars as transportation appliances may welcome this technology. But they are not enthusiasts. I don't know about you, but I and most car fans I know don't want smart phones on wheels.There is simply not that much of interest to write about. Car and Driver and Road & Track are dipping deeper into nostalgia and their archives as a result. R&T is big on sponsoring road trips for enthusiasts - which is a great idea. But only people with money to burn need apply.And then there is the problem of quality in automotive writing. As more experienced people are let go and more money is cut from publications, the quality and length of pieces keeps going down, leading to the inevitable self-fulfilling prophecy.Even the output on this site is sharply reduced from its peak. And the number of responses to posts seems a small fraction of what it used to be. This is my first comment since the site was recently relaunched. I don't expect to be making many in the future.Frankly Tim - and it gives me no pleasure to write this - but your post makes me feel as though the people running this site have run out of ideas and TTAC's days may be numbered.Cutbacks in automotive journalism are upsetting. But, until there is something exciting and fun to write about, they are going to continue. Perhaps automotive enthusiasm really was a 20th century phenomenon..
- THX1136 I think that the good ole interwebs is at least partially to blame. When folks can get content for free, what is the motivation to pay to read? I'm guilty of this big time. Gotta pay to read!? Forget it! I'll go somewhere else or do without. And since a majority of folks have that portable PC disguised as a phone in their pocket, no need for print. The amount of info easily available is the other factor the web brings to bear. It's perhaps harder now to stand out. Standing out is necessary to continued success.In an industry I've been interested (and participated) in, the one magazine (Mix) I subscribed to has become a shadow of it's former self (200 pgs now down to 75). I like print for the reasons mentioned by another earlier. I can 'access' it in a non-linear fashion and it's easily portable for me. (Don't own a smarty pants phone and don't plan to at the moment.)I would agree with others: useful comparison reviews, unique content not easily available other places, occasional ringers (Baruth, Sajeev, et al) - it would be attractive to me anyway. I enjoy Corey, Matt and Murilee and hope they continue to contribute here.
- Daniel J I wish auto journos would do more comparisons. They do some but many are just from notes from a previous review compared to a new review. I see where journos go out to a location and test drive and review a vehicle on location but that does absolutely nothing for me without any comparison to similar cars. I also wish more journos spent more time on seat comfort. I guess that doesn't matter much when many journos seem to be smaller folks where comfort isn't as important. Ergonomics are usually just glossed over unless there is something very specific about the ergonomics that tick the journo off. I honestly get more from most youtube reviews than I ever do about reviews written on a page.