Road Tests

Drive Review: VW’s ambitious (2018) Arteon comes to SA

Do you want in on a deal? A trade secret? Well, allow us to introduce you to VW’s replacement of the Passat CC. It’s called Arteon and yes, it does look quite spectacular as four-door mid-sized sedans go.

The longest wheelbase vehicle VW builds on its MQB platform, Arteon’s defined horizontal grille and sculptured character lines make for a sedan with uncharacteristic presence. In the optional Turmeric yellow paint finish it is a very strikingly styled vehicle.

Beyond the appearance there is a real substance to Arteon and it’s the mechanical bits which we allude to in the first paragraph. There lurks an intriguing stealth deal with this latest Wolfsburg product. It’s something VW’s marketing people won’t allude to, but if you trace the original of Arteon’s componentry and scrutinise its specification, the clues are impossible to ignore.

The local Arteon range is three derivates strong, two diesel and a petrol – all turbocharged and displacing 2-litres. Gearboxes are DSGs throughout: six-speeds for the diesels and a seven-speed dual-clutch for the turbopetrol. Pricing starts at R599 900 for the entry-level diesel, increasing to R649 900 for the same engine with an R-Line styling package and peaking at R699 900 for the petrol.

Numbers will be familiar to most VW fans. The turbodiesel is good for 132kW and 350Nm, with massive range possible due to its 66-litre tank capacity and 5.1l/100km consumption. But it’s not the front-wheel drive diesel which we are truly interested in.

That 2-litre petrol Arteon is the one to have. Although it boosts to a similar 350Nm peak torque output, power is up at 206kW and that’s good enough for a 0-100kph sprint time of only 5.6 seconds. Best of all, if you really know your VW engines that 206kW will appear familiar… Previous generous GolfR? Although Arteon’s driveline software has been recalibrated to avoid the acoustics which accompany GolfRs, the induction noise is very similar.

It’s a credibly athletic car and despite the addition weight (It’s not light at 1716kg), the 4Motion system and immaculately tuned suspension geometry deliver a luxury sedan which admirably combines ride comfort with rewarding cornering dynamics.

Not cheap, but if you like the idea of a GolfR drivetrain in a slightly heavier, but greatly more spacious and stylised sedan body, Arteon 2.0 TSi is very close to being just such a thing.

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