In the beginning there was the Volkswagen Passat CC, a coupé-like version of the Passat. When this model received a facelift in 2012, after four years, the name Passat was dropped. The successor even got a completely new name in 2017: Arteon. With each renewal, the car moved a little further from the regular Volkswagen Passat. In the Arteon you only saw the similarities in the almost identical dashboard.
With the arrival of the facelifted Volkswagen Arteon, the removal is complete. The last bits of Passat have been polished away, now that the Arteon has been given a nicer interior. From Passat-derived it transformed in twelve years into a prominent flagship of Volkswagen. The arrival of the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake is a culmination of this promotion.
Before we dive into this new variant of the Arteon, let’s first talk about the changes that were made during the facelift. The LED lighting at the front now extends to the logo in the grille. Furthermore, the Arteon got new taillights and new exhaust tips. Not that exciting, but it doesn’t have to be: it doesn’t look dated in the least.
Inside, the changes are greater. Nicer materials have been used (such as aluminum) and most elements can now be controlled digitally. Fortunately, the operation via touchscreens is a little less of a puzzle than with the Volkswagen Golf or Volkswagen ID.3, but we continue to long for real buttons.
The Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake is one of those cars in which you can never get enough miles. The sports seats (1572 euros) are like a glove and the smell of leather remains titillating. The chassis is so comfortably tuned that you imagine yourself in a classic French car. This way you can bounce over speed bumps in a residential area just as easily as you do on the highway. If you don’t like so much convenience, you can also switch on a firmer setting. Then you should opt for adaptive shock absorbers (1150 euros).
“The last bits of Passat have been skilfully cleaned away.”
Not only the excellently tuned chassis, the safety systems also contribute to comfort. At the touch of a button on the steering wheel, you can activate an arsenal of assistance systems in one go, such as adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assistance, lane assist and traffic sign recognition. That works surprisingly well. The system automatically adjusts the speed to the prevailing speed limit, while cameras at the front of the car predict the road surface. The suspension and shock absorption are then automatically adjusted.
The third comfort-enhancing element is the luxury that is standard on board. Because Volkswagen is fully attacking the big three German brands (Audi, BMW, Mercedes), it throws its charms into battle with a very complete equipment. 18-inch alloy wheels, a comprehensive multimedia system, keyless entry, digital instrumentation, a four-year warranty and a wireless phone charger are all standard.
The Arteon is available as a diesel, plug-in hybrid, or with a petrol engine, the well-known 2.0 TSI, which is good for 190 hp. The four-cylinder turbo engine is mated to a seven-speed DSG transmission as standard. The gearbox only reacts abruptly when driving off, but once on the road, it shifts imperceptibly to ensure that the speed remains low and that engine noises hardly penetrate the interior. The torque of 320 Nm is available between 1500 and 4100 rpm. It takes less than eight seconds before the sprint to 100 km/h is over and when you can travel undisturbed through Germany again, you can check whether the specified top speed of 233 km/h is correct.
The space is also good. This is no surprise in the front, but adults can also sit in the back without any problems. The headroom is better than in the four-door Arteon, with its more sloping roofline. You don’t have to buy the Arteon Shooting Brake for the enormous luggage space: instead of 563 liters, you can store 565 liters. With the bench flat, it fits considerably more: 1632 liters (sedan: 1557 liters). If you are really attached to a large trunk, it is better to buy a Passat Variant (650 to 1780 liters).
The Volkswagen Arteon falls in between two traditional segments: it is larger and more luxurious than a D-segment car, which includes the Passat and the BMW 3-series. But it also just doesn’t fit between the holy trinity from a segment higher: the Audi A6, the BMW 5-series and the Mercedes E-class. Also with its price it is nicely in the middle: the Passat costs 38,000 euros, the Arteon more than 49,000 euros and the BMW 5-series almost 59,000 euros.
For the Arteon Shooting Brake 2.0 TSI with 190 hp you pay 51,190 euros. Inveterate diesel drivers can save for the 2.0 TDI with 200 hp (57,890 euros). The plug-in hybrid is the entry-level version, with an entry-level price of 48,990 euros.
At the headquarters in Wolfsburg, the life path of the Arteon Shooting Brake will be followed with above-average interest. Volkswagen previously tried to tap into a more wealthy target group, with the luxurious and very expensive Phaeton. As good as this car was, the status-sensitive buyer preferred to move in a Mercedes. The Arteon Shooting Brake is also luxurious, but not very expensive. He deserves a better fate than the Phaeton.
The Arteon Shooting Brake plays with all the clichés about Volkswagen: the Germans don’t play it safe for once and have created a masterpiece. It doesn’t stop with stylish packaging, in terms of comfort, the Arteon can compete with the greatest. What a successful car. Wouldn’t you trade your drowsy SUV for that right away?
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