First Drive

First Drive: Volkswagen Arteon TDI Elegance

Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TDI 150 DSG Elegance
The story: Volskwagen’s replacement for the CC is designed as a more stylish and classy model able to compete with the BMW 4-series and Audi A5 Sportback. After initial doubts, the 150hp diesel is part of the launch line-up.
Category:Upper Medium
Key rival:Audi A5 Sportback
On sale:Dec 2017Now

Having originally stated back in the summer that its new Arteon would only come with higher-powered engines, VW has had a change of heart, which means its new four-door coupe will be much more accessible as a result.

The plan was to only launch with 240hp diesel and 280hp petrol engines, but the 150hp diesel and a 190hp petrol have been added, with a 190hp diesel and an entry 150hp petrol to follow and so complete the line-up. The 150hp engines are the only ones to be offered with a manual gearbox, because everything else gets the seven-speed DSG automatic as standard.

Which all gives the stylish car a much friendlier entry point of 116g/km of CO2 and a price of less than £34,000. Still, that’s a hefty chuck of cash for a posh Passat, which the Arteon is little more than on some levels. That said, it’s in line with the Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI and the BMW 420d Gran Coupe, not to mention the new Kia Stinger grand tourer.

The 150hp diesel needs to be worked quite hard, but is otherwise fine for a car this big, and the emissions figure is reasonable, although it puts it a BIK band higher than the Audi or BMW.

Volkswagen Arteon Image 3The Arteon is more attractive than its German rivals, on the outside at least. It’s less successful inside, because the interior looks like it’s lifted from a top-end Passat. Good, but still a Passat. However, it has the practicality advantage of a tailgate rather than the Passat’s saloon shape.

Excellent standard equipment includes an industry-leading safety system known as predictive cruise control. It uses the front camera and route information from the navigation to automatically adjust the car’s speed as it approaches roundabouts, junctions and bends. It’s not perfect, and has to be a back-up to the driver rather than offering any sort of reliable autonomy, but is the next step for such advances, and a fine party trick with which to impress passengers. When the cruise control is set, it will also automatically adjust the car’s speed as the limit changes.

The Arteon isn’t a match for the BMW to drive, but as a classy and stylish grand tourer sort of car, it certainly has its merits.


paul barker

The verdict

Technology impresses more than the driving experience, and the interior could be a bit more special, but the Arteon is a classy alternative to the existing flash four-door coupes.