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As American patrons proceed to snap up a veritable deluge of recent crossovers, it appears that evidently a automotive firm must be both clueless or determined to introduce an all-new sedan, particularly into a distinct segment just like the one which the Volkswagen Arteon will occupy. Alas, VW’s U.S. operation is struggling to promote a dated lineup whereas attempting to make everybody neglect Dieselgate. The fashionable Arteon will do little to handle these issues—that’s the job of the Atlas and the Tiguan, VW’s dynamic duo of recent crossovers—however a minimum of when the Arteon replaces the CC a 12 months from now, it’s going to give VW prospects one thing to gawk at within the showroom whereas they wait on the F&I man.

Going through Ahead

The Arteon’s finest face is kind of actually that: a coupelike mug that appears as if it may grace a brand new Scirocco moderately than a largish sedan to take a seat above the Passat in VW’s lineup. The Arteon’s hood is ridiculously low for such a automotive, rising to simply beneath the waist for its projected common purchaser, a 53-year-old college-educated man, in line with VW. And it’s truly a clamshell hood, stretching because it does from one aspect of the 73.7-inch-wide automotive to the opposite. The remainder of the Arteon’s four-door “coupe” styling eschews the smooth look of the previous CC for a tricky, fastback design with fats haunches and a quasi Kamm-tail hatchback.

When Volkswagen launched the Passat CC again in 2008, pseudo coupes had been on the bleeding fringe of automotive trend, and VW appeared to have its finger on the heart beat of public want. Gross sales within the U.S. had been brisk, rising to just about 30,000 items yearly by 2011, however after a mid-cycle refresh for 2013, gross sales fell off a cliff, dropping to simply over 3000 in 2016. To make issues worse, German VW officers advised us that they felt the CC didn’t obtain sufficient conquest gross sales, a minimum of not as a lot because it cannibalized Passat patrons.

So the Arteon takes a dramatic step past each the CC and the Passat, not solely in styling however in measurement. The wheelbase is stretched to 111.7 inches, greater than an inch longer than the Passat’s and 5 inches longer than the CC’s. This permits for a rear seat that’s exceptionally roomy, as long as you haven’t any plans to make use of the center spot. Leg- and elbowroom are plentiful, and tall passengers ought to be capable to experience within the again with out bumping towards the headliner. Inside accoutrements are just like these within the new Atlas, with high-quality supplies and a practical, if conservative, design that appears good whereas stopping in need of treading into Audi’s luxurious territory. The bags compartment sinks deep underneath the hatch and is roomy sufficient to accommodate a full-size set of golf golf equipment diagonally, whereas a low lift-over peak reinforces a sensible advantage of the inherently decrease middle of gravity of a automotive versus a crossover.

Germanic Manners

Certainly, the Arteon’s dealing with advantages from the automotive being decrease and wider than the Passat. It rides on VW’s MQB transverse structure, which provides the Arteon a stiff construction on which Wolfsburg’s suspension engineers can work their magic. All U.S.-spec automobiles could have VW’s Dynamic Chassis Management, which permits drivers to decide on a base experience high quality from amongst three settings (Consolation, Regular, and Sport) or alter a digital slider within the infotainment system that provides much more variability. Whatever the setting, the dynamic system additionally adjusts robotically, and VW has tuned the suspension to be each snug and responsive, giving the Arteon the types of outstanding street manners we’ve come to count on from the model. This isn’t, nevertheless, a GTI. The Arteon’s steering is exact and direct, however it lacks the suggestions of its smaller model mate.

It additionally lacks the verve of VW’s sizzling hatch. The Arteon is an enormous automotive with an engine that falls in need of delivering the thrills promised by its styling. Our drive was in a Europe-spec automotive with a 276-hp 2.Zero-liter engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission. Whereas it was fast sufficient—VW says the Arteon will hit 60 mph from relaxation in underneath six seconds, and we had no issues maintaining with site visitors on unrestricted sections of the autobahn—it wasn’t so thrilling to drive. Our take a look at automotive was geared up with the elective all-wheel-drive system, which helped push its acknowledged curb weight to greater than 3700 kilos.

Slightly math yields a power-to-weight ratio that’s outmatched by V-6 variations of commodity automobiles just like the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, to not point out VW’s personal Passat. We received’t see the identical powertrain mixture right here, as VW says our model of its company turbo inline-four will make 268 horses and 258 lb-ft of torque and be accessible solely with a traditional eight-speed automated. The front-drive model shall be lighter, after all, however with a base value close to that of right now’s CC (which sells for round $35,000), the Arteon is just not going to land on any most-horsepower-per-dollar lists.

Creature Options

VW seems to be hopeful that an in depth listing of obtainable options—like adaptive cruise management and lane-keeping help—will justify the Arteon’s sticker, though it’s unlikely the headlights that use GPS information to direct their beams round corners shall be supplied within the States. The corporate’s new eight.Zero-inch infotainment display comes commonplace, and its supplementary Digital Cockpit, an idea borrowed from Audi that replaces the principle gauges with an enormous TFT display, is an possibility. This type of tools is attending to be commonplace concern on automobiles even a full class beneath mid-size, which poses a rising downside for would-be “premium” manufacturers attempting to wedge merchandise above the mass market and beneath luxurious purveyors, at the same time as manufacturers corresponding to Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz push downmarket. Whereas VW officers posit that the brand new Arteon is aimed toward poaching prospects from the final two, the truth of the U.S. market would point out in any other case.

There’s nonetheless a 12 months to go earlier than VW launches the automotive right here subsequent summer time, so a few of this might change. Perhaps VW will resolve to raise the suspension an inch and add some cladding and an Alltrack badge to make it a crossover coupe. In all probability not. With just one apparent analogue within the upcoming Buick Regal Sportback, although, the Arteon is bound to achieve giving mainstream patrons an attention-grabbing various to the standard. If that’s not on the core of the VW model’s mission assertion, it must be.

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