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2019 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SEL Premium R-Line W/4motion Review by David Colman


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2019 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SEL Premium R-Line

Beauty and serenity meets performance

By David Colman
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL


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2019 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T
SEL Premium R-Line

I may be wrong, but I believe this VW holds the longest descriptive title in the history of automotive journalism. For those of you uninitiated in the arcane ways of VW patois, here goes the translation. Arteon is VW's all new top line sedan for 2019. And unlike most other VW products this one is nearly all-German from start to finish. It was designed and built in Germany, and replaces the CC series of large sedans VW recently discontinued. You can buy the Arteon in three trim levels, SE, SEL and SEL Premium, with successively more equipment and higher price differentiating the choices. Our test subject is the SEL Premium version, which carries the most standard equipment, and lists for a base price of $46,170. 2.0T is the displacement of the turbo motor. R-Line describes VW's race-inspired stylistic take on such features as the flat bottom steering wheel and matte black alloy road wheels. R-Line Design traces its grace and simplicity back to VW's Bauhaus art colony roots. Finally, 4Motion describes the company's unique all-wheel-drive feature, rather unusual for a sedan in this medium price range. If you buy a lesser optioned SE or SEL Arteon, you will pay an extra $1,800 to upgrade to 4Motion.

Ferdinand Piech, who recently passed away at 92, tried to move VW ( his family owned company) into the upper echelon of luxury sedan builders with his pet project, the Phaeton. At a price in the mid $60,000 range, the Phaeton proved to be a winner in looks, but a loser in the showroom due to its high price and lack of a luxury dealership structure. VW succeeded the Phaeton with the CC, a smart looking, sharp driving sedan that became lost in the first great tidal wave of SUV adulation. Now the Arteon has been called upon to save this shrinking sedan segment for VW.

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2019 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T
SEL Premium R-Line

The goodness starts the moment you let your eyes wander over the car's trim lines, understated visual elegance, and virtual lack of chrome trim. Unlike so many rhinestone festooned sedan designs today, the Arteon shows a design restraint that visually sets it apart from anything else on the road. This impression of beauty and serenity is confirmed when you swing open the door and examine the artfully constructed interior, which consists of three shades of black, charcoal and ebony melding together to create an utterly restful environment. The chevron pleating of the leather R-Design seats not only looks distinguished but more importantly feels scrumptious to the touch and inviting to your butt. A thin expanse of aluminum trim across the dash and doors relieves the visual tedium of the triple black interior.

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2019 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T
SEL Premium R-Line

Although it may not look like a performance sedan due to its subdued style and muted black pearl exterior color, the Arteon is quite a runner. It posts startlingly good acceleration times. The 0-60mph run takes 6 seconds flat, and the standing start quarter mile evaporates in just 14.5 seconds, with a trap speed of 97mph. Top speed is governor limited at 127mph. The sophisticated 2.0 liter motor produces 268hp and 258lb.-ft. of torque. This couples to an 8-speed automatic transmission made for VW by Aisin in Japan - one of this car's few non-German components. The transmission includes modest paddles behind the steering wheel for hand manipulation. If you slot the console control stalk into the right hand gate, you can play the Aisin gearbox like a virtuoso, snapping up and down shifts at will. The rpm variance in the lower gears (1 through 5) averages about 1,200rpm, while the split between 6th, 7th and 8th is a barely noticeable 500rpm.

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2019 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T
SEL Premium R-Line

Arteon may not look like a conventional sport sedan, but its performance attributes merit the attention of anyone shopping the market for Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Part of the attraction from a handling point of view is the grip afforded by 4Motion. This system locks the Arteon into the cornering groove with decisive authority. The XDS electronic differential lock meets out just the right infusion of power to each of the four fat Conti ProContact tires (235/40R20). A set of understated flat black alloy rims support these Continental radials. VW has perfected a multi-mode chassis control system to regulate driving feedback. A Driving Mode Selector on the center console offers a variety of feedback choices ranging from Eco to Sport. We tried most of them, and found that the Arteon is quite happy to lope along at freeway pace in Comfort mode, while Sport best suited our intentions when tackling back road apexes.

Take one long look at the sleek exterior and interior of this new top line VW sedan and you will fully understand why the Arteon name incorporates the base root word ART.

2019 VOLSWAGEN ARTEON 2.0T SEL PREMIUM R-LINE w/4MOTION

    ENGINE: 2.0L inline 4, 16 valve, DOHC, turbocharged, direct fuel injection. iron block, aluminum head
    HORSEPOWER: 268hp
    TORQUE: 258lb.-ft.
    FUEL CONSUMPTION: 20MPG City/27MPG Highway
    PRICE AS TESTED: $47,705
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2019 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T
SEL Premium R-Line

HYPES: Easy on the Eyes and the Wallet

GRIPES: Rear Seatbacks Don't Fold

STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10