The saloon, or sedan as we Aussies know them, is a dying breed. Gone are the days when they reigned supreme over the streets. Now it’s SUVs and hatchbacks, except Volkswagen threw a spanner in the works, in the form of the 2022 Arteon 206 TSI R-Line.
For those wondering what the Arteon is, think of it as a Volkswagen Passat crossed with a Golf, then enlarged a tad into a five-door, five-seater sedan with a lift back tailgate. Don’t be disheartened that we said Passat either, because this thing is a real looker.
Measuring in at a lengthy 4.86-metres from front to back, there is plenty to admire on the Arteon’s exterior. The intricate details of the front bumper, grille and headlights, and sleek lines are aggressive yet refined, sharp but subtle.
Our tester came in the beautiful Lapiz Blue Metallic, which is one of five colours that won’t burden you with additional costs. Oryx White Pearl is the only optional paint which will set you back an extra $800. 20-inch alloys are also standard on this variant.
One of our favourite things about the Arteon, which quickly caught our attention as we opened the driver’s side door is the actual doors. All four doors are completely pillarless. There’s also a sea of black leather and astounding amounts of space.
The R-emblazoned partially-bucketed seats are plush and comfortable, and the interior trim comes in just one option; Titanium Black. Everything you’ll see in front of you when you take your seat is electronic.
The instrument cluster, the entertainment unit, seat adjustment, you name it, it’s electric or has some kind of electronic adjustment. That is until you get to the steering column. It’s a traditional lever you’ll need to release then re-engaging before you set off.
It’s disappointing, but not the end of the world.
The Arteon 206 TSI R-Line, like it’s entry level sister, the 140 TSI, is powered by a 2.0-litre inline 4 cylinder turbocharged engine; the very same that powers Volkswagen’s Golf R. But all is not so between the 140 and 206 duo.
The 140 TSI makes 140kW and 320Nm of torque, while the 206 TSI has been retuned for a higher output of 206kW and 400Nm of torque, delivered to all four wheels thanks to Volkswagen’s 4Motion technology.
You may think this is not much considering the size of the car, but you’d be wrong, it’s plenty. Yes the Arteon is long, but weighing in at just under 1,700kg (1692kg to be exact), the responsive and punchy 2.0-litre can propel you and the Arteon into next Thursday.
This powerplant is then mated to a 7-speed direct shift gearbox, or DSG for short, a responsive and quick-shifting transmission. Driving the Arteon is a breeze too. It’s quiet, it’s comfortable, it basically ticks all the boxes.
Put it in sport mode and it’s a whole other monster. The suspension and steering tightens up, making the ride firmer, the engine note changes, and while we suspect it may be artificial through the speakers, we don’t mind at all.
Our fuel economy was dismal at 10.2-litres/100km against Volkswagen’s claimed combined economy of 7.7-litres/100km. But you’ll mostly want to keep it in normal or comfort modes as this is where the Arteon’s luxury shines.
The steering is precise and light, yet the engine and gearbox work together to keep the car sharp and responsive. Don’t forget the large brakes which act as land anchors when you really need to come to a stop.
In-car entertainment is brought to you by a crystal clear 9.2-inch touchscreen unit. Aside from multi-phone functionality and the highly coveted wired and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features, there’s also a neat hand gesture setup to swipe left and right.
If high-quality sound and music is what you’re looking for in a multimedia system, a premium 10-speaker Harman/Kardon unit comes standard. If practicality is your main concern, then you’re in the right place looking for the right car as well.
We found the Arteon’s functionality outstanding. There’s two cupholders in the centre console as well as provisions for bottles in the door compartments, a storage compartment under the driver’s armrest, and another two cupholders in the second row.
Due to the lift back specification on the Arteon, the boot space is tremendous, at 563-litres, with that large opening to assist and make it roomier. That can be boosted to 1,557-litres with the second row folded down.
We were able to fit multiple bags plus a infant’s stroller with ease. ISOFIX and traditional car seat tethers on both second row outboard seats made it easy to accommodate our test baby as well.
The second row is so spacious that we were able to fit the child seat and still allow the front passenger seat to be pushed back and reclined. There’s plenty of leg and headroom back there for adult sized passengers too.
Safety was definitely not disregarded in the Arteon either, with a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, and a huge amount of technology hidden within Volkswagen’s IQ.Drive suite. Among them are travel and various front assist systems.
You’ll also find park assist, side assist, lane keep and departure assist, with adaptive lane guidance to name but a few, and there’s IQ.Light matrix headlights with automatic high-beam, as well as a fantastic 360 camera. There’s just too many to list.
The adaptive cruise control is also spectacular, at least until the car gently reminds you that you’ll need to place your hands back on the steering wheel. The system will take care of the accelerating and braking for you though.
Volkswagen offers a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty as well as capped-price servicing. The only optional extra is a panoramic sunroof. The 2022 Volkswagen Arteon 206 TSI R-Line is priced at $68,740 plus on-roads.
Put simply, it’s the definition of a luxury sedan. You can build your own on the Volkswagen Australia website, but we recommend shopping around for a good price.
Our 2022 Volkswagen Arteon 206 TSI R-Line was supplied by Volkswagen Australia. To find out more, contact your local Volkswagen dealer. Pictures courtesy of J_Hui Design / Photography.