2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SEL R-Line 4Motion – Re-Driven in Racy

2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SEL R-Line 4Motion: updated cues and tech come to VW's halo grand touring executive sportback, here in SEL R-Line trim painted King's Metallic Red

LINEARITY APPRECIATED: The debut of Volkswagen Arteon in 2019 was an undisputed effort to steer a VW Passat CC Four Door coupe successor more directly into the prestige lane.

A GRANDER COMFORT COUPE: Namely, a reworked sportsback configuration penned with a lower, more flared shoulder stance, fitted with a potent turbocharged in-line four gas engine, a traditional automatic transaxle and softer variable electronic damping make Arteon a more mature and useful grand tourer than the VW Passat CC attempted. Fighting alone for survival of a dwindling niche in this market, Volkswagen supplied a mildly updated 2021 VW Arteon SEL R-Line 4Motion for a Roadblazing.com Re-Drive.


2021 Volkswagen Arteon 4Motion Driving Hits:

  • 268 horsepower from detuned VW EA 888 Gen.3 TFSI Mk. 7 Golf R CXJE
  • 258 pound-feet torque
  • On demand viscous clutch differential all-wheel drive
  • 8-speed automatic torque converter planetary transaxle (exclusive to North America)
  • ample surface road & highway overtaking power
  • XDS electronic front limited slip differential standard 
  • Drive modes x 3, include customization of throttle & transmission mapping, suspension damping
  • 28 combined miles per gallon, 570 miles highway range
  • Fully independent suspension w/ DCC variable electronic damping for a taut but isolated Audi type ride
  • Exemplary rigid MQB platform
  • Hand hammered fenders and rear quarter panels
  • Prestige level of cabin sound isolation

2021 Volkswagen Arteon 4Motion Driving Misses:

  • Some mass and body float felt in any less than Sport DCC setting
  • Automatic planetary transmission is slow to kickdown and upshifts too soon
  • Strained engine noise no match for CC’s VR-6 sounds
  • Premium unleaded gasoline recommended


What the 2021 VW Arteon Has Got:

  • Pricing: from $38,190 (incl. destination) for an 8-speed automatic 2021 Volkwagen Arteon SE front-wheel drive.
    • As tested top 2021 Volkswagen Arteon SEL R-Line 4Motion all-wheel drive trim priced at $44,985
  • Sleek, muscular fastback adaptation of executive sedan with utility of a 5-door sportback
2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SEL R-Line 4Motion: “Artem” (Latin for “lines”) include muscular fenders, flared rear quarters and a fastback profile for this executive sportback
  • Attractive straked demi-grille mates with thinner LED headlights reminiscent of an Audi R8
2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SEL R-Line 4Motion: white LED grille light bars connect headlamp DRLs on R-Line
  • Accommodates 4.75 grown adults in much better comfort than the preceding Passat CC
  • Deeply low cargo bay holds 27.2 cubic feet worth of belongings
2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SEL R-Line 4Motion:
  • 60/40% split folding 2nd Row seatbacks w/ center pass-through can swallow a couple of bicycles.
  • Turned metal dash & door accents, tightly pebbled soft plastics, felt lined door pockets and glove-box, minimized premium acting switches while retaining traditional rotary dual flanking rotary infotainment knobs.
  • Comprehensive standard feature set
    • Keyless entry, push button ignition; 3-zone automatic climate control w/ haptics contols;
    • LED headlights & taillights, rain sensing windshield wipers
    • Auto dimming rear view mirror, Power folding side mirrors; Full express power windows x 4
    • Two-tone leatherette 12-way heated power front seats; Leather steering wheel w/ haptic swipe motion controls; Stainless steel pedals
    • 12.3″ TFT variable Digital Cockpit w/ map projection;
      2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SEL R-Line 4Motion: 12.3″ configurable LED Digital Cockpit includes native navigation map
    • new 8.0″ MIB 3 gesture, swipe and touch LCD media display w/ wireless voice control / alert navigation; wireless App-Connect; USB-C x 2; Bluetooth and smart phone messaging
    • +1 Excellent 8-speaker, 320 W streaming audio with HD-radio
    • Android Auto, AppleCar Play and MirrorLink phone projection, Sirius XM satellite radio (90 days trial);
    • Car-Net concierge w/ Amazon Alexa by subscription with Verizon or T-Mobile
  • Excellent safety features & ratings
    • +1 IIHS Top Safety Pick
  • Driver assist tech (standard)
    • Pedestrian & vehicle collision avoidance braking, blind spot & rear cross traffic warning; post collision brake lock
  • 4 year / 50,000 miles bumper to bumper warranty includes 2 years maintenance

What the 2021 VW Arteon Has Not (or Not Preferred):

  • Adaptive cruise control, Lane Keep Assist w Travel Assist, Auto high beam lights, Road-sign display, Fore and Rear park warning included only on SEL and higher trims
  • Power liftgate only on top trim
  • Tilting front center armrest distant from console shift lever
  • No heated steering wheel
  • Plenty of dark grey hard plastic trim wouldn’t cut it in prestige executive car
  • Lack of front occupant knee padding on doors or center console
  • MIB 3 infotainment display remains laggy, glare prone & finger print showcase
  • No USB-A port, 12V port x 1 aft of front center console
  • No subscription TravelLink satellite travel information apps available


Standout Feature(s) on 2021 VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON SEL R-LINE 4MOTION :

  • 30 color customizable variable night cabin accent illumination with upper door panel multi-segment translucent lighting
    2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SEL R-Line 4Motion: cockpit at night
  • Nappa leather seating; 3-position driver’s seat & mirror memory, w driver’s seat comfort exit
  • “R” grille + fender logos, exclusive 19″ two tone alloy wheels, unique Sport steering wheel w/ dorsal mounted transmission paddle shifters.
  • Illuminated white LED light bar links headlight DRLs across grille

Roadblazing.com Says: Flashes of Audi A7, priced downmarket, aims to earn some prestige grand touring respect.

Contributing Editor: S. Frissell


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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.


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.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion:

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.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion:

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.

WHY: The most driving focused of volume mid-size sedans needed forced induction to compete;

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