ROAD TEST: New Volkswagen Arteon R-line is stepping up

It is a surprisingly sprightly ride with slick gear shift s and minimal body roll.

The Volkswagen CC has been around for close to ten years and its sales were not as impressive as those enjoyed by the Golfs and Polos of South Africa.


Volkswagen only managed to sell 3 900 units in the year 2015.

According to my research, the CC had the lowest scoring figures in its target market segment.

That provoked the Wolfsburg-based folks to announce the CC’s replacement in 2016. Called the Arteon, it sits above the Passat and it is set to target a more premium market segment.

It is available in two engine derivatives, 2.0-litre TDI and TSI, I had the opportunity to drive both and I was impressed.

A week after the launch, I spent some time with the range-topping Arteon R-line with 206 kW of power and 350 Nm of torque and that was a good moment to head out to Gerotek Testing Facility.


According to its specs and body size, the Arteon is set to rival Audi’s A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé.

Like those two, the Arteon retains the practical four-door layout of the saloon upon which it’s based, so along with style comes almost as much practicality.

Based on the MQB platform that underpins most of the new Volkswagen Group cars, the Arteon has a longer wheelbase measured at a good 2 841 mm.

For reference sake, the Audi A5 Sportback’s wheelbase is measured at 2 824 mm and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé sits at 2 810.

It is also 1 871 mm wide and 1 427 mm tall, which resulted in a spacious interior and luggage space.


It wins in the looks department with aggressive styling cues. The front end presents a sports car like design.

There are racy standard LEDs headlights that seamlessly blend in with the ridiculously wide grille.

For a moment, you would think the designer of the Arteon had the A5 and A7 in mind when designing the side profile.

It features sleek sloping coupe roof line framing the four pillarless doors.

The rear end is also similar in design to a sports car and it has LED tail lights with a dynamic indicator function like that found in the current Volkswagen Golf.

Inside you are greeted with the familiar Golf 7.5 interior. However, there is bit of luxury added to it.

Luggage space features a long load bay, sensibly deep and easily accessible boot with a claimed luggage space of 563-litre which rivals what competitors have to offer.

I attached my road test equipment and headed to Gerotek to find out if the new Arteon R-line has the oomph to outdo competitors.


As you can see from the road test data thus collected, it is not the quickest in this segment.

However, the 2.0-litre engine sourced from the Golf R does have remarkable thrust.

It attested itself well; I managed to get a sprint from 0-100 km/h in 5.81 seconds – this being 0.2 seconds slower than the 5.6 seconds claimed by VW.


Top speed was achieved at 257 km/h while the 1/4 mile was done in 14.02 seconds at 162.22 km/h.

The steering feel is light and relatively communicative and this range-topping derivative also features VW’s 4Motion system, which perfected handling and stability.

The Arteon feels more like a sportier Passat rather than an enlarged Golf R. Ride, steering, road-holding and turn-in are all at high levels.


Although most of the time the drive was done in normal mode, I could certainly feel some sportiness.

It is a surprisingly sprightly ride with slick gear shift s and minimal body roll.

As hard as it is to fault the Golf R’s engine, it is perfectly matched with the Arteon and you get enough grunt in all seven gears.

Sadly, the distinctive Golf R’s ‘Vrrrphha’ sound is muted, but it’s still there.


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