The Volkswagen Arteon has only been for sale in the United States for about a year, the first units arrived at American dealerships in April 2019, but it is already receiving an update for 2021. With a very subtle exterior redesign, the VW Arteon 2021 will really get a pretty attractive facelifted interior, a move the company says aligns it more with its flagship status.
In Europe, the Arteon has been on sale since the 2018 model year, so it is apparently being updated early in its life cycle in the US. USA In addition to mid-cycle styling and technology changes, our European friends will also enjoy the Arteon Shooting Brake, an unusual long-top variant of the hatchback sedan. In addition, European customers will now have the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain with 215 horsepower (160 kilowatts) and an Arteon R variant with 315 hp (235 kW).
Sadly, Americans won’t have the Shooting Brake, Plug-in Hybrid, and Arteon R, leaving us with only the SE, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line. A 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-wheel drive powers each of our versions, routing 268 hp and 258 pound-feet (200 kW and 350 newton meters) through an eight-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels on the SE and SEL , with optional 4Motion all-wheel drive in the SEL and standard in the SEL Premium.
Fortunately, the updated 2021 Arteon five-door is still a beautiful consolation prize. Volkswagen went to great lengths to distinguish the sportier R-Line from the base molding, giving the former a front bumper with enlarged lower grilles contained within a C-shaped frame. Unusual body-colored blades rise From the bottom of the front bumper to go through the exterior grille openings, giving the 2021 Arteon R-Line a slightly more sinister appearance. Also exclusive to the R line relative to other Arteons is a full-width LED strip that extends from the headlight hockey stick-shaped DRLs to the second grille accent bar.
An Arteon with no R-Line styling (which for Americans includes only the base SE trim level) also gets some head-to-head reviews. The grille has been remodeled with a larger shield motif, a move we think reminds one of the Ferrari Portofino very slightly. The redesigned front bumper also features a full-width chrome strip over the front spoiler, giving the SE a more premium look.
Around the rear, the changes are slight. The taillights are more technical and futuristic in appearance thanks to the new LEDs, and the R-Line has a distinctive rear bumper design with integrated four-trapezoidal tailpipes. Finally, the sedan gets Volkswagen’s recently updated minimalist corporate logo throughout the vehicle, and the “ARTEON” dash on the rear hatch has also been revised.
In Europe, Volkswagen’s flagship is the Touareg, and the company looked for that luxury SUV in the redesign of the Arteon’s interior. Upgraded interior materials include embossed faux leather for the dash and door panels, and a redesigned steering wheel with capacitive controls looks charming.
The air conditioning unit is new, too, abandoning the old Arteon’s intuitive rotary dials with touch controls; We will admit that we are concerned about that. European models get VW’s modern MIB3 infotainment system that uses a touch interface, but fortunately, cars on the US market will combine the new system with ergonomic volume and adjustment knobs.
Even the Arteon SE base will be fully equipped. A group of 10.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit gauges comes standard, as do wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four-door keyless entry, and 8.0-inch MIB3 infotainment display. It also has standard safety features like automated emergency braking and blind spot monitoring, as well as sleek 18-inch wheels with a new design.
The Arteon SEL adds standard R-Line styling, a wireless inductive charging pad, traffic signal recognition and assistance to keep lane. Finally, the SEL Premium R-Line will get 20-inch wheels and premium Harman / Kardon audio, a new stereo system developed for VW with 12 speakers, 700 watts of power, and a 16-channel Ethernet amplifier. Both the SEL and SEL Premium also feature striking translucent aluminum trim that combines with interior ambient lighting, bathing the entire cabin in one of 30 different colors.
The Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake is the latest automotive slap in America, taunting the Yankees with another car we can’t have. The style of the five-door hatchback translates well into a long-roof design, thanks in part to the strong rear seatbacks that stand out even more from the wagon roof line than the hatch. The design of the side window openings is combined with a smooth roof spoiler to draw attention to the rear: here “look fast while standing” is applied. Unfortunately, a new body style means a new round of crash and emissions testing in the United States, something VW can’t afford given the low wagon take-up rate here.
A plug-in hybrid variant of the Arteon hatchback will also be offered to our friends across the pond. Using the same powertrain as the Passat GTE alone abroad, it combines a 1.4 hp (115 kW) inline four-cylinder turbocharged with a 13-kilowatt battery that powers a 115 hp (85 kW) electric motor. Total system output on the Arteon plug-in, like the Passat GTE, is 215 hp (160 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm). The GTE can drive approximately 35 miles (56 kilometers) in EV mode before the engine starts, more than enough for most Europeans’ daily commutes – we’d expect something similar from the Arteon plugin.
The other Volkswagen that Americans will be deprived of is the Arteon R. Volkswagen was the only one in the details, except to say that the performance model will feature 315 ponies, as previously mentioned. The Arteon R may be a plug-in hybrid, possibly combining the Golf R’s 292-hp (218 kW) 2.0-liter turbo four with a lightweight small-capacity battery. 4Motion all-wheel drive is guaranteed on the Arteon R.
Here in the USA USA, Arteon’s main business card is his style. Facing rivals like the more powerful Kia Stinger and Nissan Maxima, the Arteon sells primarily for its ability to make viewers look longingly as they pass. With a subtle exterior design that doesn’t spoil any of that appeal, and a modernized, luxurious interior that should also impress people inside the vehicle, the Arteon serves as a flagship worthy of the American market for the VW brand.