One of the world’s most beautiful cars, certainly the prettiest thing in the current Volkswagen brand lot, has been launched in Mzansi. The all-new Volkswagen Arteon – “art-yon” – will be sold here in TDI Elegance, TDI R-Line and TSI R-Line 4Motion guise to a few group of lovers of beautiful things. It becomes the new flagship model alongside the Touareg, of which an all-new model will begin selling here within the next few months.

Volkswagen may be following the fairly recent trend of turning sedans into 4-door coupes, but they have waited long enough to have learnt some valuable lessons from the pioneers. For instance, the Arteon has a wheelbase of some 2.8 metres, making it more spacious for taller people than some bigger fellow German sedans. And while the boot shows a slanted, sporty design to it, it can actually swallow quite a load. Overall the Arteon is 4.8m long, 1.8m wide and 1.4m tall. It’s the longest of the MQB-based cars yet. Don’t let the sport coupe look fool you; this car plays the everyday role magnificently.

Style was of course, top of the requirements’ list at Volkswagen design studios when this car was proposed. That all-new signature front grille with extended chrome blades and those large LED headlights tells the story better than I could. On top of that, LED daytime running lights are also present for added safety and aesthetic look. Looking at the side profile yes we see the coupe stance but first, up front the bonnet opens into the front fenders – which house up to 20-inch alloy wheels, just like racing cars. Quite unique in the group. From there a strong shoulder line extends all the way to the rear taillights, while the door window frames are nowhere to be seen. LED rear taillights are a highlight, and so is the centred ARTEON wording on the boot lid, as well as the protruding spoiler.

Stepping into the car reveals a whole new interior dominated by the new dashboard setup. That itself centres around the new Discover Pro infotainment system with Active Info Display, satellite navigation, radio controls and more. It carries a tablet-like up to 23.3cm touch screen with Gesture Control on some models, which can be specified with the powerful Dynaudio sound system. The steering wheel is multifunctional for extra safety, while Head-up Display is available to those who wish to order it. Seats are covered in Nappa leather and the R-Line model carries Carbon Style seats with an R-Line logo. With ambient lighting in blue, white and orange, occupants will be able to match their evening moods with the car’s interior. Arteon is being sold in different exterior colours, including Chili Red, Atlantic Blue and my favourite, Tumeric Yellow.

The two engine derivatives available in Mzansi are the 2.0-litre TDI and the 2.0-litre TSI. The TDI forms the baseline model range and delivers some 130kW of power and 350Nm of torque. VW paired it with a 6-speed DSG as standard and claims it can return 5.6 litres of diesel per 100km travelled. I drove the smooth-rider and it was well put together, with seamless gear changes and strong pulling power when needed. Getting close to that fuel consumption figure I reckon, is possible during everyday drives.

The TSI R-Line 4Motion is pretty much made from the same stuff as the TDI, except for three important differences. One is the 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine with 206kW of power and 350Nm. Two is the 7-speed DSG. Three, the 4Motion all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Looking at these specs some VW fans will recognise them from the swift Golf R. However, this is not the type of car to go “vrrrrrrr pha”; it delivers its power with less vigour, but with similar amounts of determination. I suppose you could say it’s for people coming out of the Golf R but who want more style, and more space in their lives.

The TDI is quite a smooth talker itself, transferring its power and torque to the front wheels using that 6-speed DSG I talked about earlier. Gear changes are smooth, fuel consumption is commendable and the interior feel is adult sophisticated. If one is not power-crazy and perhaps needs more kilometre for one’s fuel, then the diesel is the one to go for.

Arteon is a highly competent, beautiful, stylish and practical sedan. In another time, say 15 years ago, it would absolutely take over and rule its segment. But times have changed and buyers are going more and more into SUVs, rather than this type of car, hence my earlier statement “…few group of lovers of beautiful things”. For this special group, it will prove to be quite the treat.


Volkswagen Arteon Prices

2.0 TDI 130kW Elegance DSG (R599 900)

2.0 TDI 130 kW R-Line DSG (R649 900)

2.0 TSI 206kW R-Line 4MOTION DSG (R699 900)

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