The biggest problem with the Volkswagen Arteon is, well, it’s a Volkswagen. Specifically, it’s a Volkswagen that costs $216,400, making it the priciest vee-dub on sale today in Singapore, a car that costs twice as much as the Golf.
And therein lies the biggest hurdle. It’s a VW that costs in excess of 200 big ones that doesn’t have GTI or R in its model name.
Actually, wait. The Arteon does have R in its name, because all Arteons on sale today can only be had in R-Line trim. While in most other cars, this would just mean a snazzy bodykit, the Arteon, thankfully, has the go to back up its show.
The Arteon is the recipient of the drivetrain from the hottest Golf around, the Golf R, though with the mildest of de-tunes (6bhp and 30Nm), ostensibly for political reasons so it doesn’t end up upstaging the Golf R.
At any rate, 280bhp and a century sprint time of 5.6 seconds is hardly any cause for complaint. And neither is an all-wheel-drive system paired with supremely grippy Pirelli P Zero tyres wrapped around matte anthracite 20-inch wheels (you could also downsize them to 19-inchers if you so chose).
While its elegant lines (yes, in spite of its metallic yellow paint), sleek profile and clamshell bonnet might hint at pursuits of a more grand tourer nature, you can drive the Arteon as you would a sports car.
But while you could do so, doesn’t mean you should.
What the Arteon craves is trans-continental blasts (or trans-island, anyway) or more sedate commutes, what with its great aural refinement. Which of course makes a great pair with the Dynaudio sound system.
It’s helpful, then, to think of the Arteon as a Passat (German for Toyota Camry) in a nice suit. This is no bad thing, because we happen to think the Passat is about as close as it comes to mid-sized saloon perfection.
It’s also a good thing that in the Arteon you’ll be resting your bum on fancy Nappa leather. The carbon fibre print, and the R badge on the backrest didn’t exactly sit well (ha) with us, but that’s not too major an issue.
In addition to those nice seats, the Arteon gets interior ambient lighting via LED strips on the doors and footwell, an all-digital instrument cluster and a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system. This is top-drawer stuff, things once exclusively only found on premium cars.
Which is fitting, because Volkswagen Singapore will want premium money for the Arteon.
To be fair, it’s not a scandalous amount of money, though whether it’s money too much for a car with premium looks, equipment and dynamics but crucially, without a premium badge is open to debate.
Engine: 1,984cc, 16-valves, inline-four, turbocharged
Power: 280bhp at 5,100-6,500rpm
Torque: 350Nm at 1,700-5,600rpm; 0-100KM/H 5.6 seconds
Top speed: 250km/hr
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch
Fuel consumption: 7.3L/100km
CO2 emissions: 164g/km
Price: S$216,400 (including COE, excluding options)