Time to em­brace your in­ner old age pen­sioner

See that glow on the hori­zon? That’s our Ar­teon. It’s as luxurious and techy as it’s bright, but how does it drive?

CAR (UK) - - Our Cars - By Ben Pul­man

VOLK­SWA­GEN reck­ons it’s ‘an avant­garde gran tur­ismo with svelte fast­back styling’. My col­league Tim Pollard calls it a ‘coupaloon’ (and des­e­crates the English lan­guage in the process). And on our first trip out in the Ar­teon, I told my wife ‘It’s like an Audi A5 Sport­back’ – which drew a blank look from some­one al­ready ex­as­per­ated with my at­tempts to ex­plain the vis­ual dif­fer­ences be­tween a Porsche Boxster and Porsche 911 Turbo Cabri­o­let. The VW Ar­teon is ac­tu­ally a re­place­ment for the old Pas­sat CC – but don’t let that put you off. The cur­rent Pas­sat is re­ally rather good, and the Ar­teon wades into the much-di­min­ished Mon­deo mar­ket with bloody good looks, a wheel­base stretched to al­most three me­tres, and all the in­te­rior qual­ity and elit­ist ap­peal a Ger­man badge of­fers above its com­mon-or-gar­den com­peti­tors.

Prices start at just over £31k for a 1.5-litre with 148bhp, and go up to 40 grand if you want an Ar­teon with four-wheel drive and a de­tuned Golf R en­gine. As much as we do, we’ve set­tled for a 2.0 tur­bocharged petrol (this is a post-Diesel­gate world) putting 187bhp through the front wheels. With another £195 spent on VW’s ESPbased, diff-ape­ing XDS sys­tem, I tell my­self it’s a stealth Golf GTI.

Ex­cept for the colour – that’s not stealthy at all. VW calls it Turmeric Yel­low Metal­lic, a £595 ex­tra which looks great on the Ar­teon’s chis­elled lines – and un­like my old black Fo­cus RS, I’ll never lose it in an un­der­ground car park.

The Fo­cus RS – or more specif­i­cally, its ap­palling ride qual­ity – is also the rea­son we’ve gone for Volk­swa­gen’s £820 Dy­namic Chas­sis Con­trol, aka adap­tive dampers that can cy­cle through Comfort, Nor­mal and Sport modes. It’s fa­mil­iar VW fare, but on the Ar­teon there’s now a Bent­ley-es­que slider con­trol so you can go even softer or even firmer. Cur­rently I’m deep in the OAP end and so com­fort­able.

Ours is in R-Line spec, which means a beefier bodykit and inch-big­ger al­loys (now 19s), while in­side there’s nappa leather. Although the wheel­base is not quite on a par with a Mercedes S-Class, it’s al­most as roomy in re­al­ity. We’ve opted against 20-inch wheels, or spending four fig­ures on a stereo up­grade, or adding any more safety tech, as the Ar­teon al­ready has adap­tive cruise con­trol and lane as­sist. But we have spent £895 for VW’s top­notch 9.2-inch touch­screen, and £935 on a panoramic sun­roof that dis­ap­point­ingly seems no big­ger than any other sun­roof.

We’ll get into the other op­tions over the com­ing months, but for now it’s off to Wales. Had I still been in the Fo­cus RS I’d have been dread­ing the 500-mile round trip but sali­vat­ing at the prospect of a thrash through Snow­do­nia. This way around, I’ll en­joy the en­tire trip. I’m happy with that.

Ar­teon is more planted than the CC it’s re­placed. Op­tional Dy­namic Chas­sis Con­trol gives a silkier ride

9.2-inch touch­screen is an £895 op­tion; stun­ning wilder­ness views come free

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