Is the new Volkswagen Arteon a Porsche Panamera for the people?
Volkswagen is about to reinvent its least successful model, the Arteon, as a kind of people’s Porsche Panamera at half the price. The new Arteon Shooting Brake is previewed here in these sketches for the first time ahead of its reveal on 24th June.
VW calls the Arteon a four-door fastback but since 2017 when the model first took over from the coupe-styled Passat CC, the 4.8m long machine has always boasted five doors to go with its swoopy profile. The new version, as the sketches show, stays with the signature coupe-esque lines, now promising to be even more muscular, and it also stays with five doors – but with the additional Shooting Brake version adding estate-car space and flexibility.
As a package with serious grand touring abilities, it’s not a million miles from the thinking behind Porsche’s five-door fastback Panamera. According to VW design boss Klaus Bischoff the Arteon Shooting Brake creates “a new balance between speed, power and space.”
The old, slightly unloved Arteon.
It will need to create something, for although the Arteon is the most expensive non-SUV in VW’s range, the fastback saloon has failed to set the market alight, just as VW’s earlier attempts to create a premium flagship (remember the Phaeton?) foundered. A market increasingly besotted by SUVs rather than saloons hasn’t helped the Arteon’s cause.
VW’s answer is to have a new two-model range of fastback and new Shooting Brake, both updated inside and out with the group’s latest design cues and technology, and a with a brief to be VW’s gran turismo contender.
One thing the Arteon has always had – a digital dash and lots of driver assist features – promises to get a big shake-up in the new versions; VW says we can expect a “completely new cockpit environment”. Taking a lead from other group products like the new Mk8 Golf, the Arteon will get the latest modular infotainment matrix (MIB3) systems to ensure the best possible connectivity. It will also get Travel Assist, a sort of ultimate cruise control for the autobahn which can take over steering, accelerating and braking functions for you at speeds up to 130mph.
Shooting Brake. Yes please.
Petrol and diesel engines are likely to stay four-cylinder, which is all the Arteon has ever had, but with a 48-volt electrified side to boost power and efficiency. VW says the “future oriented” engine line-up will “feature high levels of efficiency as well as low emissions and powerful torque”. Likely engine is the 2.0-litre mild-hybrid unit that already features in VW Group models that share the Arteon’s MQB architecture. It is not yet known if there will be a plug-in hybrid version of the sort that Škoda has introduced with the new 245PS Octavia vRS iV.
It is possible the sportiest new Arteon Shooting Brake will get R badging, all-wheel-drive and turbo-petrol of the order of 333PS but there is no confirmation of this, or the new model’s prices. The current range spans £31-£41,000, with the top model being the 274PS R-Line TSI 4Motion.
Arteons have always been exceptionally well built and equipped, and if the design sketch is accurate then the new two-model range has a chance of pulling off some junior Panamera appeal, and becoming the successful flagship saloon VW has always dreamed of but never really had.