The facelift Volkswagen Arteon is the four-door coupé's first refresh since it went on sale in 2017. Now, sharper than ever, the four-door has now been joined by a Shooting Brake (read: estate), expanding people's choice in the semi-executive D-segment. More importantly for us, the Arteon eHybrid will gain essentially the same PHEV powertrain as that found in the Passat GTE.
When we tried out the VW Passat GTE in October last year we found an awful lot to like, especially in the powertrain department. Silky smooth transition between electric, hybrid and petrol power, loads of torque and a genuine 30+ miles of EV range made for a compelling package.
The Arteon gains essentially the same eHybrid system which means a VW Group's trusty 1.4 turbo petrol engine combined with an electric motor to send a total of 215bhp and 295lb-ft to the front wheels via a seven-speed DSG gearbox. A 12.7kWh battery (0.3kWh smaller than the Passat) enables the Arteon to travel a quoted 34 miles on electric power. Our assumption is that speed will be capped at 80mph in this mode.
Both the fastback and Shooting Brake will be available with eHybrid power and will almost certainly become popular company car choices.
The Arteon has never struggled in the looks department and the facelift version has carried this on. Up front, there's more than a passing resemblance to the Mk8 Golf thanks to a continuous light strip, chrome bars and air intakes. A wide, low-slung bonnet accentuates the car's coupé-like stance and gives it a lower overall profile. New signature LED headlamps and DRLs complete the front end overhaul.
Down the side, the noticeable flare in the wheel arches remains and (depending on the trim level) can be filled with 18 or 20 inch wheels. It's from the C-pillar back where things differ with the Shooting Brake which, rather than tapering off, continues with an extended high roofline and finishes with a new rear spoiler. It still maintains that sporty vibe that the coupé pulls off so well, just with added practicality.
Where that practicality is concerned, in both bodystyles the Arteon isn't lacking in interior space for people. Maximum rear legroom is a class-leading 1016mm in both models, with the Shooting Brake getting a smidge more headroom. With the rear bench up there is just two litres in it when it comes to boot capacity, the Shooting Brake getting 565 litres vs. the coupé's 563. However, with the seats down the Shooting Brake easily wins out with 1632 litres against the coupé's 1557 litres.
New to the Arteon is 'Travel Assist' integrated within wider IQ.DRIVE systems, which is essentially level 2 autonomy between 0 and 130mph. Centred on adaptive cruise control, Travel Assist reacts to speed limits, roadworks, urban areas, bends, roundabouts and junctions automatically. Lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring adds a layer of safety. The optional rear camera has been enhanced with corner view expanding the field of vision to 170 degrees, and even has a towing function to make trailer hitching easier.
Inside the cabin has received an overhaul with the latest iteration of VW infotainment – including wireless integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a 700 watt Harman Kardon sound system which has been created specifically for Arteon. Tactile controls have been refined and a new multifunctional steering wheel developed, whilst background lighting can be adjusted between 30 colours.
Update 14.01.21: Whilst there has been a bit of a delay from the original planned release of last autumn, the VW Arteon eHybrid is now available to order. The coupé starts at £39,905 in Elegance Trim and goes up to £40,685 in R-Line trim – in line with the £40k estimate we made in June last year. The new Shooting Brake body style is a little more expensive at £40,705 for the Elegance trim level, and £41,485 for the R-Line.
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