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16 Jun 2017 | Text and Photos by Desmond Chan. Direct from Hanover, Germany

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Step Up

Composed, elegant and well-rounded, the brand new Volkswagen Arteon signals the brand's intentions to take the next step up.


The brand new Volkswagen Arteon is the Wolfsburg brand's latest offering, a Gran Turismo (GT) that promises elegant styling, dynamic driving and futuristic technology. Like a boxer looking to take the step up to a higher weight class, the Arteon is VW taking the fight to the big boys. 

To find out if this is really the case, we've headed up to Hanover, Germany, (just west of Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg), to drive the new model.

The sloping roofline creates a sleek silhouette on the Arteon

Slick and sleek

At first glance, you are immediately struck by the Arteon's design. As far as VW cars go, the Arteon is as bold and arresting as they come. It's telling that the name, 'Arteon', is derived from the word 'art' and 'eon' - the Arteon is meant to be beautiful and eye-catching, and 'eon' ties it to its China-only Phideon.

The first thing that strikes you about the Arteon is its sleek silhouette. The GT fastback design gives it a sweeping look that is oddly evocative compared to the more conservative design language you see on most other VWs. At the front, there is an aggressive grinning chrome-lined fascia, flanked by two large, bold air intakes (in R-Line trim) that adds to the car's dynamic look.

From the onset, the Arteon seeks to impress, and on the looks front, it certainly does.

The Active Info Display makes it easy to keep track of the navigation directions, especially when you are surrounded by German road signs you definitely don't understand

Digital modernity

Inside, the Arteon continues to impress. Built on the MQB platform, the Arteon's wheelbase is 50mm longer than the Passat. This translates to additional space inside, especially at the rear where the three passengers will have ample space to stretch their legs.

VW also wants the Arteon to excel when it comes to daily usability, and in this department the car has 563 litres of boot space, expandable to 1,557 litres with the rear seats folded down. In comparison, similarly sized fastback models like the Audi A5 Sportback and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe both have 480 litres of boot space.

The Arteon also features the Active Info Display, where you get the digital cockpit as standard. This puts essential information on a fully digital dashboard, allowing you easy access to anything from navigation to your phone contacts to changing the music track.

The cabin remains to be positively and intuitively VW-familiar

Furthermore, you can keep track of your speed and the next direction from the sat nav via the head-up display. The new generation touchscreen infotainment system also ditches tactile buttons you may be familiar with in older models, allowing more screen real estate. The infotainment system is also very intuitive and easy to use.

Smarty pants

The Arteon features the latest in safety and assistance technology from VW, such as front, side and rear assist to create a proactive passenger protection system.

The generous 563-litre boot can be expanded to 1,557 litres

The most impressive technology is the new Adaptive Cruise Control with predictive cruise control. More than just keeping to a particular speed and maintaining a fixed distance from the car in front of you, the car uses GPS and sat-nav information to regulate your speed within speed-limited zones, such as the small towns around Hanover that have a 30km/h or 50km/h speed limit. This means that even if you set the cruise control at 90km/h, the car will automatically slow down as you enter these zones, and subsequently speed up once you have cleared the speed-limited zone.

Also, predictive cruise control means that the car takes into account upcoming bends in the road and will slow down accordingly, and will speed up again once you exit the bend. We were told the car is even able to negotiate roundabouts, but we must admit we weren't brave enough to test it out. What this means is that even on non-highway roads, you could technically drive with just your hands and without using your feet.
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