The Volkswagen Arteon has a good range of engines is quick and comfortable, but if you want a practical coupe that’s fun to drive the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is a better bet
The Volkswagen Arteon is available with two petrol engines, with 190 or 280hp, or two diesels with 150 or 240hp – all models come with a seven-speed automatic gearbox and the two most powerful models also get four-wheel drive.
The best option is the top-of-the-range 280hp petrol that’s smoother and quieter than the 240hp diesel and also gives the Arteon a serious turn of speed. With it fitted the Arteon can get from 0-62mph in just 5.6 seconds, so you can overtake long queues of traffic without having to spend a dangerous length of time on the wrong side of the road. The price of that performance is fuel economy that’ll probably not better 30mpg, although Volkswagen gives an official figure of 38.7mpg.
Fitting the 280hp petrol engine to the Arteon is a bit like putting a flake in your ice cream – it just feels right
If you do a lot of motorway miles then it’s worth considering the more economical 240hp diesel, which should return 38mpg to the 47.9mpg Volkswagen claims. It’s a little noisier than the petrol and doesn’t feel quite as quick, but it’s still plenty fast enough.
If you want to save a little money, the 190hp petrol is cheaper to buy than the top-of-the-range models and – unlike the 150hp diesel – is fast enough to live up to the Arteon’s sporty looks.
The Volkswagen Arteon is easy to drive even though it’s quite big.
Around town its controls are light and there aren’t any major blind spots to deal with. All models come with a seven-speed automatic gearbox so you don’t have to worry about operating a clutch and its shifts are so smooth you’ll barely feel it changing gear.
It can be a little jerky when you’re parking but you soon get used to pushing the accelerator pedal slightly harder than feels natural to edge forwards and backwards. The car’s front and rear parking sensors are a big help when you’re trying to fit into tight spaces, but if you’re not confident reversing then it’s worth paying £645 for Park Assist, which can steer the car into spaces for you – all you do is operate the accelerator and brake.
Although it’s easy to drive in town, the Arteon feels even more at home on the motorway, where it’s quiet (although not quite as quiet as an Audi A5 Sportback) and comfortable.
All models come with active cruise control, which can brake the car automatically when it detects a slower car in front before returning to its set cruising speed when the way is clear. Unlike in other cars, the Volkswagen’s system can also slow it before bends and pull the car over when it senses you have become unresponsive (due to sleep or something worse) behind the wheel. The Arteon’s headlights are also clever – they can shine around upcoming corners by using data from the sat-nav.
Thanks to this healthy list of standard equipment, the Arteon scored full marks for safety when it wash crash tested by Euro NCAP under its tough 2017 conditions.
Unfortunately, the Arteon isn’t quite so good at being fun to drive as, say, a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. And, although its suspension can be firmed up to cut out lean in corners, the Sport setting also shows up bumps to the point that you’re better off leaving it in more relaxing Comfort.
While it isn’t fun, the VW is a car you can confidently drive quickly, plus top-of-the-range petrol and diesel models come with four-wheel drive, so they have plenty of grip even on wet and slippery roads.