THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR MORE CABIN CCs in a premium grand touring car.
Extravagantly priced, cabin compromised, four door, four place grand touring coupes are excused if luxury Teutonic and wearing either a “Three Point Star” [Mercedes CLS],”Blue and White Propeller” [BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe] or Four Interlocking Rings” [Audi A7] on the bonnet.
Apparently the “Four Door Coupe” heard less applause as a premium volume fastback bearing the name of a perfectly stodgy North American NMS Passat family sedan. It didn’t help that Volkswagen’s first venture into the “Comfort Coupe” executive sedan was smaller inside than a Mk. 7 Jetta! Roadblazing.com sibling ChicagoNow “Drive…He Said” had positive feelings about that Mk. 1 Passat CC even as the rear seat headroom screamed Ouch! Not even the inclusion of a strictly child seat propping rear middle position in 2013, followed by dropping “Passat” from the name, could protect against the incoming torpedo.
AFTER CONSIDERABLE DELAY : over certification of newly implemented European safety standards comes to Yanks as an all new, late in the model year entry 2019 Volkswagen Arteon 2nd go at flagship grand touring four door coupe, though this time as a five-door sportback.
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WHAT: 2019 Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 4Motion (VW Group B8 platform) executive fastback sedan. The new VW Arteon = hatchback version of the 8th generation the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform based Mk. 8 Euro VW Passat. In China Arteon is named…no surprise… “CC“.
NAMING: Arteon = “Artem” the Latin word for design
Standard Power: transverse 2.0 L turbocharged DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 268 hp/ 258 lb-ft @ 1950 rpm + 8-speed automatic torque converter planetary gear transaxle, XDS front axle limited slip;
Drive Modes: 3 [throttle, shift, suspension] Drive Modes = Eco, Normal, Sport (customizable).
Optional Drivetrain: PTU 4Motion all-wheel drive.
WHAT (A) DIFFERENCE(S):
While 4-door coupes were all the rage in 2010, Grafting an elongated fastback rump to a versatile hatchback better aligns with recent premium and luxury brand forays into aspirational grand touring sedans. E.G.: Audi A7, Porsche Panamera, Kia Stinger, Buick Regal.
Volkswagen Arteon deviates from Passat CC Mk.1’s 4-door coupe profile to join the ranks of premium / luxury aspirational grand tourers by adopting their contemporary fastback with rear liftgate form.
√ Horizontal chrome bands bleed into overlapping headlamp tandem DRL’s; Front bumper camouflaged by similar horizontal banding; √ Exaggerated inboard arrows pinch lower front fascia corners; √ Raised front wheel arches marry the clamshell hood sides; √ Muscularly flared beltline creass span to trunk lid; √ Wide lower body spats; √ Door mount wing mirrors.
√ Slender C-pillar made possible by pronounced kink; √ A long sloped liftgate ends in a creased decklid below the spoiler; √ Thinner wrap-around horizontally segmented LED taillamps; √ Upper bumper lip; √ Chrome lower fascia band and dual trapezoidal exhaust outlets; √ Rear lower fascia drawn to center forming registration tag pocket.
WHY: People’s premium car grows from constrictive 4-Door coupe into sprawling sportback.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since late Spring 2019.
WHERE: Volkswagen new car dealers
WHERE MADE: Emden, Germany
HOW STRONG: Planting the larger inlet Golf R Mk 7’s IHI turbocharger on EA888 Gen.3 Valvelift 2.0L TSI I-4 = 22 psi boost, bumps horsepower to +61 over the old CC’s straight-4. That figure is just 12 hp shy of the formerly optional (now dropped) VR-6, with 8 more lb-ft twist than the single head bent 6, at -4600 rpm. VW forwent it’s Borg Warner designed 7-speed DSG in favor of a less snappy gear changing Aisin automatic. All because DSGs impart that stalling feeling as the automated clutch disengages in first. As with many of the type the Haldex IV all-wheel drive system is more about slip mitigation and understeer minimizing than hard off the line launches.
-1 Soundaktor’s faint audio impression of powerplant noise, is wholly inconsistent with the grand tourer mission. Fault a placid to a flaw cabin.
HOW LIMBER: Standard DCC continuously adaptive dampers mellow the front upper strut rear quad-link chassis. Arteon’s Drive Modes surpass the Three Bears offerings with a media screen slider’s choice of 12 degrees of suspension fine tuning. Still the ride differences are subtle, with the firmest being nuances of a comfortable grand tourer’s body discipline.
Roadblazing.com editors hand’s are enamored with a substantial D-shaped, contrast white stitched, heated leather helm. Highway weighting seemed to invite minor correction activity. Imposing as the low tire sidewall all-season rubber are on 19″-inch wheels, the road feel isn’t.
A rarity in this segment which shows serious grand touring intentions are ventilated rear disc rotors. Indeed R-Line pedals come aluminum covered but that won’t excise the dull pedal feedback.
HOW FAR: 23 miles per gallon combined fuel economy; Premium 91 octane gas = 400 highway miles range.
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: vs. outgoing VW Passat CC = +1 Occupant Obliging
- Wheelbase 111.7″ inches = +5.0″; Overall length 191.4″ inches = +2.5″
- Rear seat legroom 40.2″ inches = +1.9″; Rear seat headroom 37.0″ inches = +0.4″
HOW USEFUL: √ A huge hatchback expands to an immense 27 cubic feet under liftgate luggage space; √ 60/40% split folding rear seat backs expand cargo capacity to mid size crossover competitive 55 cubic feet. √ Overhead retracting sunglasses bin; √ Deep lower center stack storage shelf w/ USB x 1; √ 8 bottle & large cupholders; -1 Front door pocket length; -1 Lack of rear seat back hatch area remote release; -1 Glovebox = too small for owner’s manual.
HOW SAFE: rated “Good” in all categories by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS): √ 6 airbags, √ Generous hot formed weight saving steel used in structure; -1 Easy to overrun LED headlamp light broadcast
Driver assist technology: √ Rear camera w/ park gridlines, √ Blind spot + rear cross traffic warning, √ Forward collision warning & avoidance; √ Pedestrian avoidance braking; √ Automatic high beam LED headlamps. AVAILABLE: √ Adaptive cruise control; √ Lane keep assist; √ Side traffic avoidance; +1 the exceptionally parallel space capable Park Pilot Assist.
HOW FRIENDLY: √ Wide girth substantial hip support & cushioned front bucket seats; √ Heated & cooled front seats w/ fore-aft sliding headrests, 8-way power driver’s w/ 2 position memory, passenger’s; √ “R-Line” D-shaped, heated leather tilting, telescoping steering wheel; √ Front passenger’s height adjustable seat; √ 2-Zone automatic climate control; SPECIAL MENTION: √ Driver’s seat massage; √ Personalized multiple drivers preferences.
Cool Gizmo(s): √ 10.25″ selectable, selectable map zooming color LCD Virtual Digital Cockpit instrument cluster; √ Wide overhead console LED night light.
Details Done Right: √ Tight grained soft material upper dashboard; √ Hammered aluminum dash appliques; √ Distinctive rocker action integrated steering wheel horizontal spoke driver assist & redundant media switches; √ Stainless steel covered large pedals and dead pedal; √ 10-color variable LED cabin ambient lighting; √ Felt lined oversized door pockets; √ Durable ballistic cloth at high wear seating points.
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Coarse dark gray finish to cabin panels, housings pillars looks a little too Golf; -1 Center console missing switch blank caps.
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: √ In-dash 8.0″-inch capacitive touch/ gesture LCD infotainment display; HDD GPS Navigation w/ guidance; √ Voice learning hands-free communications; √ SMS text messaging; √ Android Auto/ Apple Car Play / Mirror link wireless device overlays; √ CarNet Apps; √ 12-speaker, 700 Watt Dynaudio streaming & HD radio audiophile audio.
√ Subscription based: Sirius XM & Sirius XM TravelLink (90 days included trial); (3 years included), CarNet Info telematics valet
√ USB x 3, 12V x 1; +1 Deep lower center stack mobile device pocket, Qi inductive charging pad; Simple switching between smart device overlay and native navigation;
+/- SMS connectivity requests permission at each start; Native navigation map cannot be simultaneously displayed on Virtual Digital Cockpit and Media Screen; Digital CD Player inside glovebox;
-1 Media display = fingerprints never seemed so greasy; Busy infotainment screen icons and drop-down sub-menus; TravelLink app locks out Digital Cockpit map mode.
HOW MUCH: $47,205 = 2019 Volkswagen Arteon SEL R-Line 4Motion list price
WHAT’S MISSING: Road to helm transmittal; Authoritative transmission shifts; Worthier engine song; Cargo bay remote rear seat back releases.
ANY COMPETITION: Buick Regal: +1 Redline song, seat bolstering, price; Kia Stinger 2.0T (2020 MY) : +1 Simpler infotainment, value
FINAL WORDS: A detuned transverse engine mounted Audi A7 by any other name.
(Contributing Editor: Tomasz Paluch)