For fans of powerful estates, the shooting brake Arteon promises to lift their spirits
The new Arteon comes with a brand new cockpit environment, we are told, which includes the MIB3 infotainment system. The original Arteon large fastback, which we saw at the Geneva show in 2017, was derived from the Sport Coupé Concept GTE from the 2015 Geneva show. The sketches that initially teased the new Arteon before its official launch seemed to indicate a slightly evolved face thanks to an LED light bar running horizontally through the grille.
At the 2017 launch, Klaus Bischoff, then Head of VW Design, told CDN: “The briefing for the Arteon was clear: we wanted to do something which is a huge leap forward in design language and elegance.” “And so to give that car reason, it has to have a strong visual impact and very strong identity; that is why we came up with this standing [upright] grille, that very low bonnet, the integration of the headlights into the grille.”
He referred to the “base layer,” or the car’s fundamental proportions, noting that “to get the proportions right, we have a very intense process.” The very first proportion model was not successful, he says: “We kept the wheel size of the Passat, we kept also the track of the Passat and we just elongated it, and the roof was a little bit lower. And then we said no, it’s not working, we need the wider track, we need larger wheels and we need to push the bonnet down.”
Back in 2017 we were seriously impressed with the translation of the exterior form of the concept through to the production car, something hard-won by the design department. For cost reasons, not all the interior features made it though, nevertheless, the interior firmly communicated elegant simplicity and luxury, positioning this brand apart from other models in the VW line-up.
Senior interior designer [at that time] Peter Mikulak’s sketches showed the theme for the interior architecture of that 2017 Arteon. The dashboard itself was revised from that of the B8-series Passat, albeit with different materials and colours, but the door trims, seats and other elements are new, while adaptations have also been made to suit the Arteon’s different proportions and character. To fit with its higher shoulderline, flatter glasshouse and lower ride height, the centre console “is higher, compared with the previous [B7] Passat and CC, which brings more premium qualities, and also sportiness, because of the angles. And the orientation of the dashboard, the top, it’s slightly driver-oriented; the centre of the peak is behind the steering wheel,” Mikulak told CDN.
The interior of the new Arteon has been re-designed, although the similarities to the above Mikulak sketch are clear. The entire width of the dash is layered in thin strips of chrome that house air vents (which are operated using touch sliders), providing a modern feel. Positioning and size of the screens also look to be the same as the Mikulak sketch.
Elsewhere, VW has used a selection of plastics, leather and soft fabric throughout the interior, culiminating in a busy appearance. On the doors, for example, there are around five different materials used. There also seems to be some colourful stitching on the seats and parts of the centre console to outline the shapes. Ambient lighting plays a key role too, illuminating the trims in the dash panel and doors, with a total of 30 different colours available.
The exterior shape is familiar. Both the grand tourer and shooting brake versions include a continuous light strip running across the front end, as well as new air intakes below the headlamps. These headlamps are also distinct in their signature, splitting up into two ‘L’ shapes with one sitting above the other.
There is a new spoiler on the shooting brake variant to emphasise its length. The grand tourer version also has a small spoiler, and its back window is much larger and longer.
VW believes that both variants are “characterised by an expressive and avant-garde design.” We think that they may have delivered yet another very popular passenger vehicle, and although there is a hybrid version, we wonder if the OEM will stretch to a pure electric soon.