Review: Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 4MOTION - Defying physics
When you want a Golf R but you're a family man and need more space
Here to succeed the Volkswagen CC, the Arteon here is Volkswagen's flagship sedan which takes on models like the BMW 3 Series and also the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
In launching the Arteon facelift in sole R-Line 4Motion format, VPCM really moved the yardstick forward as what was once a fancified version of the Passat is now a Golf R in upmarket office clothing, locally-assembled to give it the price and packaging to seriously challenge long-time segment favourites and arch rivals from BMW and Mercedes.
However, does it really have what it takes to give its more upmarket German rivals a run for their money? Keep reading to find out.
Priced at RM258,019 on the road without insurance, the Volkswagen Arteon is only offered in one variant in Malaysia, with power coming courtesy of the EA888 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 280 PS from 5,100 to 6,500 rpm and 350 Nm of torque between 1,700 and 5,600 rpm.
As before, power is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed DSG wet dual-clutch transmission, enabling the Arteon to sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds. Also part of the package is Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel drive system which was not available in the pre-facelift version.
Standard features include triple-zone automatic air conditioning, automatic lights, rain-sensing automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a 9.2-inch Discover Pro infotainment touchscreen with gesture control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 12-speaker, 700-watt Harman Kardon sound system, Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) adaptive dampers, a 360-degree camera, as well as a hands-free powered tailgate.
Meanwhile the list of safety and driver assistance features include seven airbags, vehicle stability control, blind spot monitoring, and lane keeping assist. Unfortunately, there no autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, or lane keep assist.
On the exterior, key features include a sleek fastback-ish silhouette with a boot that opens upwards like a hatchback, a striking blinged out front grille, full LED headlights, taillights, foglamps and DRLs, quad exhaust pipes, 19-inch wheels, and frameless windows.
Thanks to all of the above, the Arteon is without a doubt one of the sexiest looking sedans in the market. Not only does it look good from every angle you look at it, but it is also sporty enough to appeal to the young crowd, yet matured enough to attract older buyers, making it one of the most desirable sedans at the moment.
Complementing the good looks is a super spacious cabin. Be it head space, leg space, luggage space, or boot space, there is more than enough room to store things, making the Arteon an ideal family vehicle.
In typical Volkswagen fashion, the cabin looks simple but the level of refinement and noise insulation is impressive.
At night, things look a bit more lively thanks to the ambient lighting system, the 9.2-inch central display and the fully digital instrument cluster. The seats on the other hand, provide good level of support and comfort.
The biggest strength of the Arteon is how well it drives. Despite its size, the Arteon is bloody quick and unbelievably sharp, thanks to the 4Motion AWD system.
The 280 PS and 350 Nm which is available from as early as 1,700 is actually more than one could ask for. So, be it cruising on the highway or tackling some twisty bits, the Arteon can do it without breaking a sweat.
If we are to put things into perspective, the 0 to 100 km/h time of 5.6 seconds puts at the same level as a Porsche Cayenne or the Mercedes-AMG A35.
Like any car out there, the Arteon does have its flaws. For instance, it is a long car that measures 4,862 mm, which means that manoeuvring it through tight spots like hotel parking lots can be challenging.
Secondly, as sexy as the car is on the exterior, the interior looks quite plain. As refined as it is, it just doesn't look as exciting as a cabin of a modern day Mercedes-Benz.
And then we have the rear seats which are positioned quite low. So, if you are someone who often travels with your old folks, they may find it difficult to get in and our of the car as they have to pull themselves out of the car.
Last but not least, we have the list of safety features which is still not there yet due to the lack of systems like Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist which are already available in cars that cost half as much.
In all, it is safe to say that the Arteon R-Line 4Motion here is a Golf R for the family man. Sharing the same powertrain package and driving dynamics, the Arteon, despite its size, is just as fun to drive as a Golf R.
On the upside, it is very practical, looks very handsome, and drives amazingly well but on the downside, its size makes it hard to manoeuvre it through tight spaces.
If we are to compare it with models like the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Arteon is quicker, more practical, and to a certain extent, more fun to drive. It is also much cheaper.
So, if you're in the market for a premium European sedan with a budget of about RM250,000, you may want to give the Arteon a test drive and see if it tickles you in the right places.