Volkswagen Arteon - long-term review - Report No:7 2023 | Top Gear
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Wednesday 29th March
Long-term review

Volkswagen Arteon - long-term review

£40,305/£47,810 as tested
Published: 30 Aug 2019


  • SPEC

    Volkswagen Arteon BiTDI R-Line



  • BHP


  • 0-62


Diesel: the defence

This is one of those cars you have to live with for a while to ‘get’, and it demonstrates why VW still has the edge over its rivals in terms of showroom appeal. It’s a true GT disguised as a coupe that’s as roomy as a limo with an unexpectedly large vat of bootspace, while delivering greater overall fuel economy than many smaller, more apparently eco-friendly cars.

Dynamically, it’s not particularly special. It’s too heavy, and even with its active damping it can feel paradoxically over-firm yet floaty once you’re off the motorway and onto the sort of roads we rhapsodise about but don’t use enough.

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Diesel, of course, is now beyond a dirty word. In fact, it’s fallen off a cliff in the seven months I’ve been running this car. Air quality has replaced CO 2 emissions as a political football, kicked about with scant regard for factual accuracy. Having so spectacularly besmirched its own reputation, driving a VW diesel can feel as socially acceptable as lighting up a Marlboro red on a Ryanair flight, but given that the EU6-compliant 2.0-litre BiTDI unit in our car is good for 236bhp, 369lb ft of torque, regularly exceeds 50mpg overall, and has a range of 680 miles on a full tank, you can see the appeal, no matter what Sadiq Khan says. I suffer from asthma, have two kids, and used to live in central London. The stakes are high, and I’m not an industry apologist. But the debate needs to be brought under control.

The Arteon is as comfy an all-rounder as you’ll find. It gets close to an S-Class as a nullifier of long journeys. Its seats are superb, and while the cabin ambience is a bit stark, VW has nailed the touchscreen and main instrument digital read-out for intuitive ease of use. The systems in the latest BMWs and Mercs have more layers and more scope for personalisation; in the real world, in bad weather or stuck on the motorway, the Arteon is a magnificently able and user-friendly companion.

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