Arteon Is More Than Pretty Street Art
Text by Kannan Chandran, Storm
The Kurkuma Yellow metallic that envelopes the Volkswagen Arteon screams for attention.
But if you set aside the colour, the gran turismo that the German brand is unveiling hints of good form and sleek lines. Seen in silver, you get to appreciate the design elements sans the distracting colour, and you'll see how Volkswagen is chasing its fellow Teutons for the senior executive market.
A new model is not something taken lightly by Volkswagen. In the wake of global competition, changing regulations and the threat of autonomous cars and ride sharing, what role must a new car play? It has to serve as an ambassador for the brand, and show a concerned world that it is responsible and that it will hold to its values.
For Volkswagen, that's a slippery slope to clamber up, but that, it must still do.
The Arteon took around 48 months from planning to delivery, and as a standard bearer its intention was to show the way for the rest of the German brand. And as for the name Arteon, the was an "iterative process with different stages," explains the Volkswagen AG spokesperson. "In general, the positioning, bodystyle and segment are the base for the naming process."
Presumably an arty vibe came through, though it's not overtly obvious.
New Or Continue?
A new model has to make business sense, and there was a lot of thought put into the Arteon's form. Should it be a product succesor or a completely new car. That decision would also depend on how many of its parts can be shared with existing models, to keep costs low.
So, the end result is a new model.
The Arteon makes a smart entry, if not an overwhelming one. The design is not outstanding, even if it is contemporary, with styling cues evident in other German and Korean brands.
But there is a lot of practicality worked into the Arteon, which enjoys 5cm more wheelbase than the Passat.
The huge boot which can be opened by kicking your foot under the rear logo, is able to take four golf bags. And, added to that, the legroom in the rear is more than generous. The features under the clamshell bonnet and behind the dashboard add significantly to the overall experience.
Arteon Loves The Road
Running on new, self-sealing P Zeros, the ride is a fine balance between comfortable and grippy.
The two-litre, turbocharged engine is a beaut. It may not be large, but it does have a sense of purpose, especially in sport mode. The throaty, raspy engine ups the driving fun, as it picks up pace effortlessly and manouevres through twists and turns with confidence.
Even at sedate city driving, it goes about its business efficiently. And with a roomy interior, comfort levels are not an issue.
The more you drive the Arteon, the more it grows on you. The finer touches like the 360° area view when reversing is useful. And the larger blind spot areas that it monitors via the side assist system, should make for safer driving.
A Hit With Some Misses
The dash comes with a large touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android features on board, along with a Dynaudio sound system that can be cranked up quite nicely to deliver good levels of bass and vocal clarity. If you have the media control app, you can fiddle with things remotely via your smartphone.
The driver's instrument cluster changes according to the drive mode selected. And there are options to finetune your selection to get the ideal ride.
While there are many nice new shiny things in the cockpit, the top of the dashboard looks a bit out of sorts with the analogue clock and the plain lines running along the top. The other bit that falls short of ideal is the head up display. It's nice to have it, but that plastic bit that comes up to show your speed and other information would have been better served by the version that throws the information onto the windscreen.
Maybe that will come in the next version of the Arteon.
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