Johannesburg - Volkswagen‘s new Arteon passenger flagship, released this week in South Africa in a three-model line-up comprising one turbodiesel and one turbopetrol in two states of trim, is being described as a five-door Gran Turismo car.
What that means today, however, is a big, superbly appointed hatchback with a dramatically sweeping roofline, a profile that is well on its way to becoming an industry standard, if not a cliche.
Nevertheless, let’s unpack the Arteon by the numbers - at least until we’ve had the opportunity to drive it later this week - and judge it by what you get for what you pay, rather than by preconceived notions.
What you get is a fairly big car, 4862mm long on a 2841mm wheelbase (which predicates commendably short overhangs at both ends), 1871mm wide and a sleek 1427mm tall. That wide, low-slung stance is emphasised the bonnet, which stretches a long way forward and partially over both wings, and the bars of the grille, which extend into the sculpted headlight clusters, the frameless windows and the wide, steeply-raked tailgate.
The diesel offering is a two-litre four rated for 130kW and 350Nm, on tap from 1600-3500rpm, driving the front wheels via a six speed dual-clutch transmission, while the petrol model has a two-litre TSI delivering 206kW and 350Nm from 1700-1600rpm, driving all four wheels via a seven speed DSG and 4Motion all-wheel drive. VW quotes 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds and 250km/h flat out for the TSI.
The flight-deck layout is based on a line that runs all the way round the cabin, (it actually conceals the air-vents of the three-zone air conditioning) and a sports car-like centre console that slopes steeply up towards the fascia.
The high-tech dashboard features a fully digital instrument cluster (optional on the Elegance, standard on R-Line), an optional head-up display and new infotainment displays from 16.5cm to 23cm, the latter with a tablet-like glass surface that works entirely without buttons, with intuitive gesture control.
Driver aids include adaptive cruise control with front control and emergency braking, incorporating speed limit recognition and navigation data, an active bonnet that pops up to provide a deeper deformation space, particularly for the pedestrian’s head, and a park package that gives you a 360 degree birds-eye view on the infotainment system display.
The base Elegance trim comes with chromed side mirror caps, LED headlights with daytime running lights, LED tail lights with dynamic indicators, 18 inch 'Muscat' alloy wheels, heated windscreen washer jets, keyless locking and starting, aluminium pedals, nappa leather trim with contrast stitching and brushed-aluminium trim, an eight-speaker Apple-compatible infotainment system with auxiliary and USB ports, three-zone automatic aircon, a multifunction leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shift, and progressive steering.
The Arteon R-Line trim spec adds 19 inch 'Montevideo' alloy wheels, special R-Line bumpers, a black boot-lid spoiler, a panoramic sunroof, privacy glass, power folding mirrors, a leather-trimmed multifunction sports steering wheel, a black roof liner and nappa leather/carbon style heatable front sports seats with massage function and R-Line logos.
PRICES (including VAT and emissions tax)
|2.0 TDI 130kW Elegance DSG||R599 900|
|2.0 TDI 130kW R-Line DSG||R649 900|
|2.0 TSI 206kW R-Line 4Motion DSG||R699 900|
These include a three-year or 120 000km warranty and a five-year or 90 000km maintenance plan.
Stay tuned for our driving impressions later this week.