In July comes the new top model from VW. What will dominate? Admiration for the new design? Or the maliciously stated indication that the car is only a noblely packaged Passat?
VW and the luxury that is such a thing. With the name Volkswagen, the brand does not necessarily start as a natural partner for the beautiful and the rich. For many decades she has not worked on such an image, yes, there were no VW models beyond the middle class throughout the 20th century. And when you started later, it did not work.
As a first attempt to convince even Mercedes and BMW drivers, one can evaluate the VW Passat W8. His Achtzylindermotor let 2001 at least the professional world to listen, but for the audience remained the car, what it was: a Passat, if well equipped and 275 HP strong. Within four years only 2359 copies were sold, which can only be described as a failure.
Then came an interesting double stroke in the upper class: In 2001, VW brought the Phaeton, who was really impressed with the S-Class rider, but did not do enough to express it cautiously.
From 2002, on the other hand, the Touareg, like the Phaeton with twelve-cylinder petrol engines and ten-cylinder diesel, quickly developed into one of the world’s most popular large SUVs. “The Phaeton has demonstrated the great vehicle competence of the Volkswagen brand,” says VW spokesman Martin Hube.
Plenty of space for rear-seaters and luggage
The Phaeton lesson is now learned (even if it took 15 years, as long as the car was in the program), and new goals have been issued in Wolfsburg. “We have reworked the positioning and are regarded as the leading volume manufacturer,” says Martina Biene, the head of VW product marketing. The top position in the mass business is not only the total number, but also quality in design and technical development, which is exactly what distinguishes premium brands.
Here, after a too hesitant intermediate step with the Passat CC (later CC was only CC), the 4.86 meter long Arteon comes into play. Although he is like the CC a kind of four-door coupe and has indeed some technical similarities with the Passat, the jump to an independent image could succeed.
The design department has done the trick to provide the car with the classic linearity and solidity of a VW and still make it an eyecatcher. Officially, the Arteon is referred to as the original model of a new brand design, and one can at least expect that in the future, where VW draws, the radiator grilles will be significantly broader.
On the basis of the modular cross-section, which is the platform for everything from the Polo to the Passat, the technicians have mainly worked on the spaciousness of the Arteon. A slanting tail, called fastback, is indeed good and beautiful, but sitting and loading luggage one must still be able. “We do not have to hide behind the BMW and the Mercedes,” says Martina Biene, and that is even low-stacked: a Mercedes CLS and a BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe do not offer nearly as much leg room on the seats.
Practically contra Premium
In the Arteon, whose wheelbase was stretched five centimeters across from the Passat, it feels like the Wolfsburgers have been spying with their colleagues in the Czech Republic – the Skoda Superb is greeted. This is also true of the trunk. Because the rear hatch of the Arteon, like that of the Superb, is open at the top of the roof, it opens wide and releases a trunk of 563 to 1557 liters which is unrivaled in its class.
But there is again the problem: Who puts too much emphasis on practicability, is never perceived as a premium brand. The Mercedes strategist was, in any case, only one thing important when she set up the segment of four-door coupe sedans in 2004: Beauty. The rest came by itself, also the clientele.
While the CLS has not reached the end of the development, the Arteon will now have to serve as the top model of VW. The Phaeton is history, only in China did he have a kind of successor in the form of Phideon. The car there is however based on the long version of the Audi A6 and is therefore already a league deeper than the Phaeton – a sale in Europe is not planned.
If there is ever a VW that is above the Arteon, it will be attributed to the future family of the electrically-powered VW and will be more of a design SUV variant. “In the foreseeable future, the Arteon will be the hero of the brand,” says Martina Biene. “He’s positioned above the Passat family, but not an S-Class fighter.”
Sport should be convincing
In order for the Arteon to find its position more easily, the VW decision makers have designed the car particularly sportily. If the letters CC were still for Comfort Coupe, there is no more talk at the Arteon. 20-inch rims are on offer. In addition to the Elegance version, the sports equipment R-Line is available in the price list, and first of all you can choose among the top engines of the brand: TSI (petrol) with 280 hp, plus a TDI With 240 horse stables.
Both engines are powerful and confident in their work and make the Arteon fast (250 and 245 km / h respectively), as well as a side-down engine hood (like a touring car), crisp seats, an adjustable chassis, double clutch transmission, all-wheel drive. “The Arteon is one of the most masculine cars we’ve ever made,” says Martina Biene, and she’s right. Obviously, masculine hardness must show who wants to score points among the business cars.
At the price, VW has another advantage. The Arteon is more expensive than a passat (about 50,000 euros for the top models), but cheaper than the established representatives of the premium class. Where: Low prices are not premium, right? And four-cylinder engines are not really either. It remains exciting with VW in the luxury league.