Wednesday June 14, 2017
By Richard Bosselman
FIRST-time fit features for a Volkswagen will provide with a medium-large liftback sedan soon to join the brand’s local lineup.
A spiritual successor to the Passat CC, the Arteon is set to land in September in a single variant, though VW New Zealand’s signal that its $74,990 tag is a ‘starting price’ seems to suggest the plan is to offer the option of equipment enhancements.
Like its predecessor, the Arteon sets out to gain attention from a buyer set that might traditionally put their money into higher-brow luxury fare, including some from the Volkswagen Group.
VW here has not yet cited the competitor set for the car, though it would be assumed that likely candidates would include the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class and Lexus IS.
It has also to explain volume expectations, though experience with the Passat CC would leave them thinking it will be a niche performer.
One plus point for Arteon is that, while also being Passat-based and also sticking to the same four-door and ultra-low roofline recipe used by CC, it is a far more striking car. In material it has just sent out to media, VW NZ talks of its strength being an “avant-garde design (that) embodies the best luxury genes known from premium models.”
Stylistically, the car is characterised by its large bonnet, integrated grille and headlights, swooping profile and longer wheelbase than the Passat. Interestingly, the swoopy shape does not seem to sacrifice space as much as it might look to. VW claims there is more legroom and headroom than the Passat sedan provides. It does concede, however, that luggage space does suffer - at 563 litres, it has 23 litres’ less capacity than the mainstream model.
Of course, with this kind of car, flash and flair are more important than function. As the passenger flagship model, the Arteon gains a number of features that are firsts for Volkswagen.
Most notably these are the Proactive Occupant Protection System which senses a crash before it happens and closes windows and tenses the seatbelts, and the Emergency Assist 2 system.
The latter engages when the driver is using adaptive cruise control and lane assist. If the driver does not place their hands on the steering wheel after the car asks them to, Emergency Assist emits an intermittent gong, while using the brakes and steering to give the driver a jolt.
It can then activate the vehicle’s hazard lights, and uses the side assist feature to indicate and change lanes, eventually moving to the far left or emergency lane and bringing the vehicle to a stop.
Other features include a head up display, area view, adaptive LED headlights, dynamic indicators, frameless side windows, heated rear outer seats, 19-inch Montevideo alloy wheels and unique R-Line seats.
This is in addition to standard equipment such as active info display, power folding door mirrors, 9.2-inch infotainment system with gesture control, app-connect, adaptive chassis control, driving profile selection, tinted rear windows, and a suite of safety technologies including adaptive cruise control, front assist with city emergency braking, side assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist and parking assist.
What about the options? In other right hand drive export markets, the list is relatively modest. There’s a panoramic glass sunroof, Dynaudio premium sound system, 20-inch Rosario alloy wheels and metallic or a pearl effect black paint.
VW NZ has settled on taking the car with just one of several engines available, the 206kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder shared with the likes of the Passat and Skoda Superb. Power is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. VW cites a zero to 100kmh sprint time of 5.6 seconds.