The horizontal lines across the front that seamlessly incorporates the headlights into the grille, a low, broad bonnet, that super sharp character line joining the front guard, the rear haunches and that fastback roofline cut a sleek, almost muscle car profile. The look is made even tougher with the R-Line body kit made up of beefy air-intakes, the side sills and boot lid spoiler. Those 20-inch optional wheels fill the guards to the brim, and give the car great stance.
It’ll pretty well drive itself on the freeway and in traffic, with safety built in such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist and semi-autonomous parking. You needn’t even touch a single button to change the music … gesture control will take care of that. The boot opens with a wiggle of your foot under the rear bumper, the car will unlock/lock itself without the need to get the keys out and it’s practical too, not just a technological titan.
The active info display is excellent, offering high-resolution road and car data, along with plenty of customisability, including road maps. The steering wheel has a premium feel and all the buttons on it work well – which is just as well, as there are plenty of trip and map functions through which to roam.
The 14-way adjustable power sports seats are pretty trick and add to the premium feel. While the R-Line seats look good, they also offer comfort and support – the driver even gets a massage function, which I really liked.
Some of the other interior convenience features include key personalisation – so the mirrors, seat and driver assistance settings can be mapped to different keys – and a driver’s seat which slides back when you get in and out of the car, improving entry and exit.
You’ll find five cupholders all up in the Arteon and bottle holders in all doors. There’s a deep centre console storage area under the armrest and a smaller pull out bin under the dash on the driver’s side.
Not surprisingly, rear headroom is compromised by the sloping roofline, but those in the back do get heated seats.
Style and value only go so far; a true luxury car needs to drive like one. Sharing the same engine as the Golf R (although down on torque by 30 Nm) certainly gives the Arteon performance, with plenty of punch when you force the accelerator down. A four-cylinder engine is probably not what you’d expect the King of Volkswagens to be packing, but the Arteon 206 TSI R-Line’s 2.0-litre turbo four makes an impressive 206 kW and 350 Nm. That’s enough grunt to shift this 1.6 tonne sedan from 0 – 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds, and that’s quick.
It features an astonishing 43-mode adjustable damping system to change ride quality from super cushy to ultra-sporty and everything in-between.
I’m a little dubious whether setting number 23 is noticeably different to number 24, but the softest setting makes things pretty comfy, while the stiffest setting sharpens it to a sports car.
The new-generation Volkswagen is trying a simpler but more sophisticated strategy, offering a single, high-grade model priced from $65,490 (plus on-road costs), shooting right across the bow of the $64,400 Mercedes C200 and $63,400 BMW 320i.
So, is the Arteon good value? Yes. The Audi A5 Sportback are cousins being built on the same platform and using much of the same technology – but the equivalent Audi 2.0 TFSI quattro costs $81,500.
Judge the Arteon on its merits though, and it’s a very fine luxury car. It has the established players beat for value, can hold its own in terms of style, and the driving experience is more than competent.
Pure White is the only non-optional colour for the Arteon; the other hues include Pyrite Silver, Manganese Grey, Turmeric Yellow, Chilli Red, Atlantic Blue and Deep Black.
2018 Range Rover Velar D240
Price $65,490 plus on-road costs
Engine 4 cyl 2.0-litre turbo petrol
Transmission Seven-speed automatic
Fuel 7.5 L / 100 km
For further info/test ride, call 6650 4200.
Motor mouth rating 09/10