Posted on May 21, 2018
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.
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’.
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!
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.
Date reviewed: 2018-05-21 08:00:00
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:
The Arteon also includes some of the best bits from one of VW’s most popular cars, the MY17 VW Golf VII R.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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