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Arteon 2.0 TSI R-Line 4MOTION | Volkswagen

Date of Release: May 2018
Number of Reviews 1

Rated as a global leader in the hatchback and SUV segments, Volkswagen has traditionally struggled in the premium sedan space. Introducing their latest weapon in retaining their loyal customer base, the all-new VW Arteon. Placing the emphasis on ART, the German automaker launches yet another beautiful GT in this competitive segment.

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The Torque Rating:  

Generic:

Value
Safety
Exterior
Interior
Performance

Sedan Lifestyle

Looking good
Long distance comfort
Pot hole absorption
Boot space
Entertainment

Design

The Arteon combines a fresh look from VW whilst still retaining a few iconic components. Striking, sleek, sweeping are words that come to mind when trying to describe this all-new model. In a word, Volkswagen wants you to think that it’s simply ‘beautiful’.

Performance

Drawing on the engine and drivetrain from one of the most aspirational performance cars in South Africa, the Arteon 2.0 TSFI produces 206kW from its 2.0l turbo petrol engine and sends that power via the exactly the same 4Motion drivetrain found in the Golf VII R. This GT has wings!

Safety

A key pillar in the design of any VW. The Arteon has you covered with excellent traction, ABS and EBD, multiple airbags, pedestrian-friendly pop-up bonnet and more. It's got the ultimate nod of approval with a 5 star Euro NCAP safety rating.

THE TORQUE REVIEW

For many South African’s, this would be their dream car lifeline:

1st car: VW Polo Vivo

2nd car: VW Polo

3rd car: VW Golf GTI or Golf R

And then, perhaps, their 4th car would be a VW Tiguan or Touareg. But, it’s at this stage in the customer’s lifeline that VW is most concerned about. They know customers leave for brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Of course, the more family conscience individual still has great options in the form VW’s SUV’s mentioned above but some of us want to retain that car-like performance and handling. In the past, models such as the CC and Passat have come and gone (we predict the Passat won’t be around for much longer), not producing the sales results VW would have hoped for. Customer retention into the premium phase is an important objective for VW and they are hedging their bets on the all-new VW Arteon – by the way, this isn’t pronounced like the great Formula 1 champions, Aryton Senna’s first name, but rather Art – tea -on.

They say it’s all-new and in some ways it is:

  • Being VW’s flagship sedan, it’s up there with VW’s most expensive cars. Prices start from R599,900 and climb up to R699,900 (excluding optional extra’s)
  • It has a fastback glass boot similar to the one you’ll find in the Audi A5 Sportback
  • It has an all-new headlight and wrap-around bonnet design
  • It’s based on the same MQB chassis you’ll find in the new Polo, Golf and a few other VW’s, but this is the largest version of that great chassis. We can confirm the extra length hasn’t taken anything away from that stiff, superb feeling. In fact, it feels a touch more compliant than the Passat.

The Arteon also includes some of the best bits from one of VW’s most popular cars, the MY17 VW Golf VII R.

  • A potent (slightly detuned) 206Kw / 350Nm 2.0l petrol turbo engine that powers this large car from 0 – 100Km/h in a mere 5.6 seconds (yes, that’s much, much quicker than the iconic VW Golf GTI).
  • That sublime, as good as it gets, new generation 7-speed DSG dual-clutch semi-automatic gearbox
  • And of course, the complete control and great launch one gets from the 4Motion drivetrain 

But it’s not really all-new... When asked why the all-new Arteon doesn’t feature the Gen2 Active Info digital speedo (which is found in the new Polo), the answer was it that the Arteon is based on the Passat and that car was designed and produced before the new Polo. That said, the Arteon does feel and ride better than the Passat. And, there really isn’t much wrong with the Gen1 Active Info display. In fact, the world-class infotainment system and digital speedo are real strengths of this awesome car, even compared to the premium brands we mentioned above. Enough with the comparing, let’s focus in on what this car is all about…

Starting off with exterior styling highlights:

  • The Arteon is actually a remarkably similar production version of the Sport Coupe Concept GTE showcased at the 2015 Geneva Motorshow. VW is very proud of how they brought a ‘showcar’ to life!
  • It has a rather wide appearance thanks mainly to its large horizontal chrome slated grille which integrates nicely into an all-new full LED headlamp cluster (includes active cornering technology).
  • The clam-shell bonnet showcases just how far metal press technology has come – it stretches right over the edge of the car, giving the front wheel arches a nice pair of aggressive shoulders.
  • The lower front bumper is classic VW R-line – we’ve come to like those snarling bull nostrils (read our VW Golf GTI review to find out what we mean).
  • The side profile of the car is elegant, dominated by a single clean line.
  • The 19” (standard) / 20” (optional) mag wheels are very Scirocco-like and are definitely eye-catching.
  • The rear of the car features full LED taillights, an Audi RS-like thin strip boot spoiler and two large chrome exhaust tips.

In short, this car definitely has presence. The overly slated front grille takes some getting used to, but we are confident that it’s a look that will grow on South Africans. Something we are not particularly fond of is the placement of the name-badge, with the Arteon setting a new trend for VW. It’s centred under the VW boot badge. For us, that’s very American or even Chinese L

Moving onto the interior styling highlights, again, it’s world-class and everything you’ve come to expect from VW:

  • We love how the world-class 9,2”DiscoverPro infotainment system is housed where it should be – in the dashboard, and not as an after-thought panel glued to the top of the dash. The interface design is easy to read and control, bolstered with gesture control.
  • The theme of performance combined with beauty continues with the Arteon’s great looking and comfortable Nappa leather seats. We like how the material changes from a matt suede to something that resembles carbon fibre. The massage function is great too! Too bad your front passenger can’t enjoy the same feeling.
  • Rear passenger space is impressive, especially considering how low the roof is in this car.
  • The boot is long and wide but not very deep, mainly due to the fact that is houses a full-size spare wheel. That said, it’s more than enough with 563l on offer.
  • The Arteon comes standard with Dynamic Chassis Control, offering Comfortable, Normal and Sports modes.
  • The sound system is great too – VW calls it DynAudio.

Overall, we love it, however, loyal VW customers might find it a touch all too familiar. It’s a sacrifice one might be willing to make, as the biggest reason you love your VW is primarily on how well they ride and drive. It's definitely on par, if not better, than your classic premium brands. The engine, gearbox and drivetrain found in the petrol Arteon is about as good as it gets for a 4-cylinder car.

Attending the national launch of the Arteon, we were lucky enough to take this new vehicle around the Zwartkops raceway. Like with all vehicles, if you go far to fast into a corner, there is a bit of understeer. However, unlike the Golf, if you smash the power too early coming out the exit of a corner, one gets a healthy dose of controlled oversteer (bound to put a smile on any motor journo). That said, the overall grip levels one gets from the 4Motion system is more than enough for real-world, everyday road driving. We like how the exhaust note changes depending what drive mode you are in.

VW wants us to think this car is a Gran Turismo, but for practical reasons, we are going to classify it as a sedan with a fancy boot. Let’s see how the all-new VW Arteon 2.0 TFSI R-line ranks up against our sedan lifestyle judging criteria:

  • Looking good (4 out of 5): Does your car boost your overall appearance? We only got see the R-line models in the flesh, so we are unable to testify what the entry-level model looks like, but, the R-line models are well designed. The mag design definitely boosts road presence. Choose your paint colour carefully as not all the colours go well with the smoked taillights. The chrome exhaust tips also don’t integrate as well into the bumper as some of the Arteon’s competitor designs do.

  • Long-distance comfort (5 out of 5)Does your car eat up the miles? ABSOLUTELY! With all-new Arteon, you can tackle any well-made road come rain, snow or sunshine. We can’t wait to test this magnificent vehicle through a mountain pass or two. The beauty of having a 2l turbo-petrol vs. a naturally aspirated V6 or V8 is that your cruising fuel consumption will be better. VW claims a combined fuel consumption of just 7.3l per 100Km’s. Things are made even easier thanks to the active cruise control and heads-up display. We would definitely pick the Arteon over a Tiguan for any long distance drive.

  • Pothole absorption (3 out of 5): Is one pothole going to put your baby out of action? This is where the Tiguan and definitely the Touareg has an advantage against the Arteon. The 19” wheels provide perfectly adequate comfort levels on the majority of SA’s roads. As always, be careful we driving post one of our infamous thunderstorms.

  • Boot space (4 out of 5): From briefcase to a family trip – does your boot cater for every need? The massive opening is super practical. The powered boot is supposed to open and close by just sweeping your foot under the back bumper, but, we couldn’t get it to work. Other than stowing very tall items, this boot is perfect for almost every occasion.

  • Entertainment (5 out of 5): Enough said on this topic. This really is the global benchmark.

We really liked this car! In terms of comfort and performance, it’s as every bit of a premium car when compared to its key competitors. And considering the price (prices are difficult to compare as you need to spec the cars in a similar way vs. just comparing their starting prices), it provides good value too! The range consists of three models, but in our opinion, there’s only one model you want:

2.0 TDI 130kW Elegance DSG | R599 900

2.0 TDI 130 kW R-Line DSG | R649 900

2.0 TSI 206kW R-Line 4MOTION DSG | R699 900 << THIS ONE!

That said, this segment is highly competitive. The competitor brand names carry a value that is hard to compete with. Would you rather arrive at your friend’s engagement party in a VW Arteon or an Audi A5? Be honest with yourself… In the Arteon’s defence, the price of R699 900 finally includes the features people really want in flagship – seemingly a first for the VW brand. This has always been a big bugbear for us in the past. In our opinion, the best chance VW has of selling these great cars is via customer retention to people who have enjoyed a similar car lifeline to the one we mentioned at the start of our review. And is good as that 2l engine is, after many years of enjoying that same or similar package in VW’s various models, can you blame someone for wanting something a little more... We can’t. Only time will tell how well the Arteon sells in SA.

If you are interested in test driving this fantastic vehicle, make an enquiry and we’ll put you in touch with your nearest VW dealer.

Likes:

  • That engine, gearbox, drivetrain, chassis combination is WORLD CLASS!!!
  • Spacious, yet stylish interior.
  • VW has finally included the features you want into the base price.


Dislikes:

  • Call us old-fashioned, but we aren’t fans of where VW will be placing the name badges of their various models going forward. We prefer it being right or left aligned, not centre.
  • A big part of what performance loving fans enjoy about a fast VW is that Vrrrr Pha exhaust note. As yes, we realize the Arteon is a somewhat classier vehicle that its hatchback counterpart, but sport mode is sport mode, and a little extra from the exhaust would have gone down well.
  • The Arteon has a wide array of safety systems and driving aids making this car a pleasure to drive both in the city and on the open road. We just assumed a car of this stature would have had lane-keeping assist / semi-automated steering. It doesn’t…


Do you own or regularly drive the all-new Volkswagen Arteon? Tell SA what you love about your car by quickly rating it on THE TORQUERegister today!

WHAT IS ‘THE TORQUE’?

THE TORQUE is an independent platform dedicated to car reviews. Instead of judging a car based on one or two people’s opinions, THE TORQUE allows you to see what like-minded, real people, who actually own or regularly drive the cars have to say about them.

In addition, THE TORQUE team shares their own ‘lifestyle orientated’ and easy-to-understand reviews on selected cars. Combining the two, gives one the ability to make a truly informed purchasing decision on what the best car for you is. After all, buying a car is a big decision! Register today and tell SA what you love about your car!

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